All About Laurel

I’m a naturalist and a writer.

Nature is a part of my writing because nature is a part of my life. I grew up the kid of a National Park Service Naturalist, living in parks, traveling to parks and camping in parks. Outdoor interests spilled into my schoolwork topics (I picked Black Rat Snakes for my biology essay because I cared for them in the nature center display) and into my 4-H activities (I wrote my public speaking talk about trees and spent demonstration day making maple syrup).

By the time I got to college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I earned my B.S. in Environmental Interpretation, a mouthful for a degree on how to communicate nature to people. I worked at a variety of National Parks and nature centers, getting really good at identifying snakes over the phone and convincing the callers not to kill them, until I landed a full-time position in Virginia, where I live with my family.

I still love wildlife and the outdoors. My hobbies include hiking, camping and gardening with native plants. I’ve installed a schoolyard butterfly garden and shared an organic garden plot with skinks, frogs, a black rat snake and more field mice and voles than the snake could catch. Recently, we constructed a backyard pond because seven frogs moved in during construction of a patio and we couldn’t turn them away. Read about my backyard habitat adventures through the eyes of four squirrels at The Squirrel Nutwork.

Of course reading has always been my main hobby, and fantasy novels top my list of favorites. Mainly I read young adult, but also paranormal romance, urban fantasy, historical romance, and cozy mysteries. Visit me on GoodReads to see what I like.

Like most writers, I’ve always journaled and made up stories in my head. For years this creativity was channeled into my naturalist work—programs, exhibits and brochures. While homeschooling my son, I decided to write a novel. In four months, I completed my first and joined Romance Writers of America, opening a whole new world for me. While pursing publication, I hone my craft alongside chapter-mates at Maryland Romance Writers and Washington Romance Writers, through workshops, critique groups, conferences and encouraging each other to write, write, write!

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