I met Laura last year because we’re in the same local writer’s group. When the invitation to read her book in advance came out, I jumped on the opportunity. Worth the Wait took me back to the drama that goes along with high school–the dating, mean girls, trust issues, and best friends. Good and bad. Life.
I hope you enjoy learning more about Laura and her first book.
Nickname: I don’t have one….sad.
Personal Philosophy: Love Jesus.
Fave Scripture: Phil 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. No matter where God has me, I want to be content with His will.
Fave Quote: If you’d get your mind right, everything else would fall into place. (My dad’s advice to me)
In high school I was a… normal girl who played sports and made good grades
Laura Jackson in high school
Do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?
I think I’m a Christian author of Christian fiction. The first (Christian author) is a Christian who’s writing for a mainstream audience and doesn’t write spiritual elements in the book, which is cool. An author of Christian fiction is writing books with Christians in mind and usually includes spiritual truths in the book. That’s the difference to me, but since I’m a Christian who writes with Christian teens (particularly girls) in mind, I’m mixing the two.
I think both are needed.
Worth the Wait deals with typical high school dating issues—the pressure to have sex before marriage, mean girls, cheating boyfriends. How many of these did you experience firsthand?
I went to a small, private school where the girls in my class actually got along (all 6 of us). I was secure in my beliefs, so I didn’t fall for peer pressure in high school. In fact, I didn’t deal with most of those pressures until college. Sadly, I have had a cheating boyfriend, and like Ellie, I took him back for a while. So, I understand that struggle even though Ellie sometimes annoyed me like I’m sure I annoyed my friends/family.
Tell us about the setting of Worth the Wait—is this a real school in Houston, or one you invented? Did you go to a public or private high school?
Actually, we just changed the name of the school from the ARC that you read, Lisa! There was a school by that name, so we changed it to Waltham Christian Academy. It’s based off of the private school I attended and my imagination.
I enjoyed your book, but the ending wasn’t as complete as I hoped. Do you plan to write more about these characters in a future book?
Yes! I want to say more about the ending but don’t want to give it away. I had written an epilogue that tied everything together with the ending I thought agents, publishers, and readers would want. However, my publisher wanted a more realistic ending. And I liked it.
It’s not healthy to jump from one serious relationship to another. When I go back and read my old diaries, I cringe. I was a bit boy crazy. I’d write how much I loved one guy, and the next week, I was head over heels in love with some other guy. It wasn’t healthy, and I wished I had focused on myself and what God had planned for me instead of boys. So, I am happy with the way it ended, but I’ll revisit Ellie for sure.
Can you tell us something about Worth the Wait that you know but isn’t in the book? Something about a character or the setting?
I’m writing Lindsey’s story now. She’s such a hateful person, and at first, she was just a prop character, someone to cause problems for Ellie, the main character.
Then, I wondered what made her so mean. It’s been fun to figure her out, and I’m starting to like her.
And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?
God’s plan is always worth the wait.
Where to find Laura:
And now and excerpt from Worth the Wait
Pulling into the Martins’ driveway, Ellie repeated, “We’re just friends. He doesn’t expect more.” Before she could even ring the doorbell, Josh opened the door.
“Are you ready?” His eyes sparkled, and his grin matched hers.
“You’re smiling like you did that time you asked me and Cara if we wanted to try the cookies you made and then recorded our reactions as we took a bite and realized their main ingredient was salt.”
“I’ve grown up, Lansing. I can’t believe you don’t trust me.” He cast her a hurt puppy look as she pushed past him into the house, greeting his parents, who were remodeling their office.
“It was last year, Josh.” Ellie called back as she gave his mom a bear hug.
Holding Ellie tight, his mom whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry you’re hurting, and you’re welcome here any time, no matter which one of my babies you’re here to see.”
As she pulled back from the hug, she whispered back, “You know I feel at home here.”
“Y’all plotting against me? I promise I don’t have any cookies. I just have something to show you. Let’s go.” Josh motioned for her to hurry up.
“He’s been getting ready for this all morning, so I guess we’ll have to catch up later. Will you stay for dinner tonight? Mark and Cara will be here, and we’re going to have a family night.”
“Sounds per—” Ellie almost said perfect, but she was going to break the cycle of expecting and craving perfection. “Sounds fun.” Giving the Martins a wave, she headed out to the garage with Josh.
“This is amazing, Josh.” A temporary art studio filled the garage. Music pumped, old sheets covered the floor, and a small bookcase full of different paints stood between two easels that held blank canvases. “Are you going to paint two at once? I didn’t know you were that talented.”
He handed her a brush. “No, you’re going to paint one.”
“I’m not sure I have the talent for an actual canvas. Maybe I should start with a sheet of paper.”
“No, because I know what you’ll do. You’ll get all your emotions out on the paper and then paint a pretty little flower or smiley face on the canvas, thinking that’s what you should display. I want you to put your emotion on that canvas. All of it.” He handed her one of his old Texans’ t-shirts. She took off his sweatshirt and slipped on the t-shirt. His scent clung to every fiber of the soft cotton. Maybe his shirt will transfer some talent.
“So, what do I paint?” Maybe some waves like the ones on Nantucket. Those would be easy.
“Whatever you’re feeling. You’ve been through a lot. Your mom’s health. Golden boy. Me telling you how I felt.”
“That would be the flower part of the drawing,” Ellie joked. What if she put her anger and hurt there for anyone to see?
“You can draw that next. For now, just get your feelings out with the paint. I’m going to try something new—just picking colors and moving the brush. I always have a picture in my mind when I draw or paint, so I’m going to just go with the flow, not thinking about it too much.” He faced his own canvas and examined the paint for a minute before picking up his brush to mix a few colors together.
He was giving her privacy, but she couldn’t pick a color. Instead she watched as he moved the brush to create bold stokes covering the entire canvas. Every time she started to dip her brush in the paint, she checked to see if he was watching her. But he was absorbed in his own work and oblivious to hers. She began to paint happy yellow swirls. At least it’s not a smiling sun. She started experimenting with mixing colors and even dabbing blobs to give a little texture to the painting.
She looked over to Josh, who was focused on his painting. Occasionally, he would stand back and analyze his work, but he didn’t say a word or glance her way. She finally let the floodgates open, and out rushed a frenzy of paint. Over her carefully painted swirls and globs of “texture,” she began to just splatter the paint. Colors slid down the canvas, leaving streaks of mixed color before hitting the floor where they met her tears. When she finished an hour later, there was a mess of color: swirls mixed with lines, light contrasting dark. A confused mess that mirrored her own feelings.
She stepped back.
“It’s beautiful.” Josh’s words broke her concentration.
Excerpt used by permission.
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And now, dear friends, tell us: have you ever had a girlfriend/boyfriend cheat on you? Or were you ever the cheater?