Books and fantasy as a genre shaped Laurel Levand's life from a young age. Her mother was an avid ElfQuest fan, and supplied the house with stacks of Serendipity books. She would turn on movies like Dark Crystal and Labyrinth for Laurel to watch, and, like many young girls, Laurel loved unicorns and winged horses. And she wanted to read so badly that even decades later she can remember her disappointment at not being able to read a book after her first day of school. Once Laurel learned how to read, she read every fantasy book she could get her hands on.
There was only so long, though, before it only took her a few minutes to read through the Serendipity books she borrowed from the school library. With her favorite fantasy books no longer entertaining her for very long, and with no replacement she could find, she turned to other, easy books. Her reading level was tested, and she was subsequently scolded for reading books below her comprehension level.
Having grown up on fantasy, she found most of the books at her reading level excruciatingly boring. She wasn't interested in submarines, she wanted to read about magic and fairies. She was unaware of the larger world of young adult and adult fantasy novels.
Until she picked up the Harry Potter books at age eleven. It was the first fantasy she'd found that was complex, and took longer for her to read than a few hours. She devoured them, the first four books, as quickly as she could get her hands on them, and the world of books longer than Serendipity picture books opened up.
It was around this time that her fifth grade teacher decided to send her to a young writer's conference at a nearby college. Laurel had been telling stories for years. When she was young, she would tell the backstories of her Barbie dolls before playing with them with her cousins. But she'd never attempted to write anything she wasn't assigned in school before. Writing was something she did when she was told to, no more, no less. It was less boring than attempting to read books about submarines, although she felt no particular affinity for it.
But after reading Harry Potter, and attending the young writer's conference, she was determined to write books. Writing wasn't just something one did when given an assignment. Writing could make magic.
Laurel published her first novella at the age of nineteen, after discovering the ability to publish ebooks on Amazon. Her next novella followed shortly after, but then her writing took a back seat for a few years while she worked and recovered from an abusive relationship. She's now happily married, and able to focus on her writing.