What's in Store

Meet the Authors, Writers Doing Right, Book Reviews and More!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Laurie Stevens is a novelist, screenwriter, and playwright. She has written for television, for film, and her stage play, "Follow Your Dreams" ran for eight weeks in Los Angeles. Laurie's novel "The Dark Before Dawn" is the first in a psycho-thriller/detective series and was awarded the Kirkus Star of merit and was named to Kirkus Review's "Best of 2011". Psychology and forensics abound in her books. In her words: "My husband and I once snuck into the L.A. morgue to do research on the book and one of my favorite pastimes is to pick the brains of therapists." 

Laurie lives in the hills near Los Angeles with her husband and two children.

I'm so pleased to have Laurie Stevens here today. Her new book, The Dark Before Dawn, is about something we can all relate to--fear. And how to overcome that fear. And how to take back our lives. So here's Laurie to tell you in her own words what led her to delve into those dark places we'd rather not face: 

A friend of mine is a single divorced mother of one. She lost her house in a foreclosure and is dependent solely on her ex-husband for support.  Everyone is telling her to get a job, as her child is now a teenager and in school all day with extra-curricular activities.  But my friend won’t even look for a job.  She makes excuses.  I think she’s terrified.

Someone else I know suffers from chronic pain.  She has gotten used to having people rally around her. People will go the extra mile for her.  She also has a twisted relationship with her mother. I made the mistake once by suggesting that her pain and the twisted relationship might be connected. She was highly insulted and told me I had no idea what she went through on a daily basis.

Do we have absolutely zero control in our lives?  The thing is, bad things do happen over our lives. Some bad things can be averted, others fly out of left field and knock us down. But it’s what we do with that bad thing that makes us either a weak excuse-maker or a stronger pro-active person.

What would happen if the two people in the above scenarios dug deep into their psyches to see why they have trouble functioning? Why do they feel safe in a undesirable place? 

“No experience is a cause of success or failure. We do not suffer from the shock of our experiences… but we make out of them just what suits our purposes.” Psychologist Alfred Adler, a peer of Freud, believes we set patterns when we are young to cope with challenging childhood events. Unfortunately, we begin to believe these patterns are who we are and they become deeply imbedded in our behavior.  So, we’ll stay in a coffin of our own design because that’s what we know, that’s where we think we belong.  We’ll continue to date the wrong kind of people. We’ll make decisions that hurt us or wound others.  We won’t be happy. But if we are willing to tread where we don’t feel comfortable, veils are lifted from our eyes and we have that “Aha!” moment.  It’s scary, this quest for self-improvement, but if we want to be happier, it’s what we have to do.

I wrote The Dark Before Dawn with all the above in mind.  The main character, Gabriel, is a detective suffering from the suppressed memory of a childhood trauma.  He has a choice. He can remain as he is, suffering from inexplicable rage, headaches and nightmares.  He can continue to lose in life – his aggressive behavior gets him fired from the force for police brutality and he has trouble with women.  Or he can change.  He chooses to delve into his own darkness to find the origin of his troubles.  He does this through the help of a psychiatrist and through the murder case to which he is assigned. (The killer seems to know more about Gabriel’s past than he does). The main thrust of the book is Gabriel’s psychological investigation.

It’s something we should all undertake to varying degrees (not everyone, thank goodness, has gone through what this detective has gone through).  How do we help ourselves? We face our fear with open arms.  If my friend attempts to interview for jobs, it will help. If she puts herself out there, even if her knees are knocking in fright, she will be happily surprised with the results – even if the result, at first, is simply a good prospect.  

It’s being proactive that is liberating. And being proactive gives us a modicum of control in our lives.  Gabriel wants very badly to feel less like a victim. The more he faces his fear, the less of a victim he is.  

My thanks to Jackie for the opportunity to play life-coach and guest blog at the same time!

Thank you, Laurie! You can connect with Laurie to find out more about her and her books on her website, through Facebook, and through Twitter  @lauriestevens1.

And don't forget to check out her book, which is available on Kindle, Nook, and in paperback from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.   


  1. What an interesting and scary premise, but sometimes we do have to take stock of our lives in order to move on. Your character has set a challenge for himself and the teaser that you left us with, that the killer seems to know a little bit too much about the detective, is most intriguing. I hope your book does well.

  2. This blog is so interesting. I see so many of my friends and family members held back by fear--I mean, they are in total denial. It's sad, really, because their way lies misery, whereas the work to change is hard, sure, but allows you to experience real joy. Do the work, free yourself of past wounds--that way lies happiness!

    Laurie, I've read The Dark Beyond Dawn and it's just outstanding! Looking forward to the second book in the series.

  3. As writers, we get to work past all that on the page! (Hopefully.)