FAQs

Laura K. Cowan, novelistA Brief Interview

Q: You write contemporary fantasy, magical realism, and spiritually oriented literary fiction, which is a bit of a mouthful. What does that mean? Who will enjoy your stories?

A:  The short answer is that my stories are about the connections between the natural and spiritual worlds, the healing power of love and about dreams, in every conceivable way. My books are written from the perspective of someone who believes many things are possible in the world. Mystical, supernatural, and spiritual elements of life are all around us, and I like to bring the things we think are impossible into my stories in a literal way to give people the opportunity to experience the world in a new and wonderful way. The people who will love my stories are dreamers and spiritual seekers. If you are interested in exploring the world through the lens of hope and curiosity about the possibilities of the world, you will love my books, some of which are spiritual, some of which are psychological or purely imaginative. That doesn’t mean it’s all fluff and angels, though. :) Many of my stories address very intense topics.

Q: You explore a lot of speculative intellectual ideas in your books, and you seem to hold some very strong opinions about the supernatural and spirituality. Are your books a way to bring others to your way of thinking?

A: My aim is never to tell people what to think. It is to invite people to engage with their own experience of life, to consider things in a light they may never have before. I believe that we grow and come to life only when new possibilities are suggested to us about the way the universe works, but that doesn’t mean art can get away with sliding into dogma or propaganda. And I have my own vision of the world, but I’ve been through enough to have discovered that I don’t know it all either. I trust my readers and respect them enough to find their own way from where I take them to wherever they’re going, if that’s even why they come to my stories. I’m also known for intensely emotional plots, lyrical prose and an evocative sense of place, so many people enjoy my books just for the depth of heart, the landscapes and the language.

Q: But no one seems to agree on anything anymore. Climate change, religion, politics. How can you trust your readers to take whatever they will from your stories when everyone is working with a different set of facts and different experiences?

A: I used to worry about this, but if you take your faith away from the ideas you believe are truth and put it instead in a God who is big enough to take care of helping people find him and the truths about the world if he exists, that changes the equation pretty radically. My job is not to be a savior for anyone. It is to love people and to invite them to engage with their own lives, with intellectual honesty and openness to the things we can’t possibly say we know for sure. I think we all would benefit from holding some of our beliefs a little more loosely to leave room for God to change them if he wants to, and ultimately I don’t want to be known as someone who was right about everything. I want to be known as someone who loved people on their journey to healing and who added to the world’s treasury of beautiful and imaginative stories that helped people really live.

Q: Some of your work has religious content, but other works are pure fantasy and dreamscapes. Does your work aim to be spiritual?

A: It’s not purposeful. That’s just the angle from which I come at life. Some of my work explores speculative ideas about how the universe is knit together, and those books tend to lean in the spiritual direction because of my own life experiences. But other stories are cross-genre fantasy parties that just celebrate life in all of its complexity and joy and beauty. The common threads in my work are the healing power of love, a mystical worldview, and a fascination with the supernatural and with dreams, which I think are essential in helping one fully understand a person. My first book The Little Seer deals with a young girl trying to navigate her way through prophetic nightmares while angels and demons fight over her destiny, but my first short story collection The Thin Places: Supernatural Tales of the Unseen is a compilation of all kinds of stories about portals between worlds and has a more fairytale mythic quality to it. And my second novel Music of Sacred Lakes is a metaphysical story about a young man in crisis helped by the spirit of the girl he accidentally killed, who comes to him as the personification of the spirit of Lake Michigan (meta ghosts, my favorite :) ). My rule is this: no boring stories. And I believe there is enough about life that is so fascinating that it is nearly unbelievable to keep me busy for a very long time. I hope you love to read my stories as much as I love to write them!

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