Patrick Wolande, Senior Staff Writer

Laura L. Smith, a Miami University alumna who graduated in 1991, is getting ready to release her third published book, “Hot,” May 15.

Smith said she always wanted to be a writer but never gave the idea any serious thought throughout college. As a marketing major, Smith never expected to be a writer because as she said, “You could be a business major, go and be successful, make a lot of money, that’s how society measures success.”

It wasn’t until one day, while on maternity leave from her job as a shopping mall developer, that her husband asked, “What did you always want to be when you grew up?” Smith responded with, “I always wanted to be a writer, but who can actually be one of those?” Her husband simply responded with, “Why not?”

Smith then signed up for a creative writing night course at Georgia State University.

“From the writing exercise I did there, I expanded on it and actually my first book published, “Cantaloupe Trees,” is a result of a writing exercise from that class,” Smith said.

Since “Cantaloupe Trees,” Smith released a book called “Skinny,” the first in a series. Her new novel, “Hot,” will be the second book in that series, and “Angry,” due to be released in September, will be the third.

“The series revolves around a group of high school friends, five girls and throughout the series, each of them experiences a different issue,” Smith said. “‘Hot’ deals with sexuality; the whole should she or shouldn’t she, and all of the implications that go either way with that.”

First-year Amy Kendall said, “My sister read ‘Skinny’ and said she really like it.”

Rebekah Guzman, Smith’s editor at NavPress, talked about what attracted her to Smith’s writing. “I was first drawn to Laura’s writing because it depicts true-to-life characters and relevant, hard-hitting topics, including eating disorders, sexuality, anger and more,” Guzman said.

Guzman said establishing a fan base is important to the business side of Smith’s writing.

“Successful writers will establish a platform, build a list of fans, find speaking engagements and take advantage of media opportunities, all of which author Laura Smith has taken a proactive role in doing,” Guzman said.

Smith said writing books with the same characters is somewhat easier.

“Because I already have established personalities … so as I write the different books, I already know their quirks, what their favorite foods are, (etc.).”

But, Smith said there are still difficulties in writing books in a series.

“But some of it is difficult for consistency purposes … I sometimes have to go back through all my notes from three years ago,” Smith said.

When asked if she would be coming by Miami for her book tour, Smith said, “I hope so, I don’t have anything booked right now. But I have talked to a couple of different people from different organizations and I would love to have something come to fruition.”

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