Last week I shared my review of the devotional Finding God in Anime and this week I get to interview Laura A. Grace, author and one of the devotional’s organizers!
In addition to being a talented writer, Laura is a stay-at-home-mom and avid YouTuber in North Carolina. A fun fact about Laura is that she doesn’t like chocolate. When asked what she enjoys doing in her free time, Laura said, “Hmm I feel it sort of depends on my mood, I think? I would probably say the biggest thing after reading would be playing video games. I’ve really been into playing Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity because I deeply enjoy playing as the character Prince Sidon due to him being my favorite character from the Zelda Universe.”
Read the full interview below!
Q) What are your top three favorite manga and why?
A) Oh man! What a hard question! I think my all-time favorite would be Haikyu!! mainly because I’m always thinking about these characters (especially Hinata). I finally read through the manga for the first time this past December and it was better than I ever imagined! I would say my second favorite would be A Sign of Affection because it’s the only manga I read as soon as it arrives and then read it again later that day (but at a slower pace). I also adore the story! For my third choice, I think I’m going to say Spy x Family (even though I almost wan to say Play It Cool, Guys) because I really love the characters and just how wonderful the family is. It has a lot of good shenanigans that never fail to make me laugh and deeply looking forward to the anime premiering this April!
Q) What are your top three favorite anime and why?
A) This is even a harder question! LOL! I don’t watch nearly as much as anime as I read because in the past I would binge watch an anime every few months. Now the only thing my husband and I watch together is anime! LOL! I still haven’t seen a lot of anime (because I love rewatching my favorites), but for number one, hands down it would be Haikyu!! I know that’s my number one manga, but I am genuinely obsessed with these characters! LOL! For number two, I think it would be safe to say Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. It’s the second anime I’ve only watched as the episodes have streamed each week and is the first anime I decided to start and watch by myself. (I almost 9 times out of 10 only watch anime with my husband. It’s very rare for me to watch it by myself.) I never imagined I would love this anime as much as I do or how impactful the characters would be! For my third…I am unsure of what anime to say! LOL! I feel there are quite a few coming to mind, but I think I’m going to say One Piece? It has led to my husband finding his all-time favorite anime and what got him into reading manga. I also love the characters and definitely wish I could be part of the Straw Hats crew!
Q) Describe yourself in three words.
A) Kind. Excited. Passionate.
Q) What song would be your life’s theme song?
A) Faith by Jordan Feliz
Q) Who is someone (real or fictional) that inspires you?
A) Even though I might sound like a broken record, I’m going to say Shoyou Hinata from Haikyu!! I talk about him often on social media and in just in my personal life and have told people that he is my real life senpai despite the fact that I’m older then him. LOL! It’s hard for me to describe just how inspiring he is, but I deeply relate to his excitement and encouraging others. I am also very moved by his dedication in how he continues to keep growing despite what others may say about him or his physical “limitations.”
Q) Can you tell us about Dear Author, Finding God in Anime, and any other works you have currently available?
A) Sure! Dear Author came from a time where I felt I had to pull back from supporting the indie author community due to having my third child. While I knew and wanted to focus on my family, I felt inklings of fear that I would not be back to support those authors the same way I had before my child’s birth. I wanted to give them something to show that I would still be thinking of them even if I was not nearly as active in the author community. Dear Author was a direct result of that desire. I have been so thankful that these letters have encouraged many indie authors and writers that there are eager readers wanting to devour their stories!
Finding God in Anime was inspired by conversations I had with my friend and now co-partner, Moriah Jane, of how great it would be to have a devotional that centered around anime. While it had been some time since we had both expressed in wanting something like this, last January I asked her rather out of the blue if she would be interested in us organizing a devotional like the one we personally wanted to read. She said yes and has equally been an inspiring and encouraging adventure as Dear Author has!
While my poetry collection isn’t available to download on a book retailer site, Team Lines was the first time I experienced writing something that was fun. Each poem is inspired by my favorite team in the manga and anime Haikyu!! and had such a blast finding creative ways in trying to write a mix of poetry and fan fiction for the first time.
The only other project I have (though not published yet) is my manga Gathering Faith. I don’t have much out on this story right now, but I’m hoping that my illustrator will be finishing the illustrations early this year! This manga was extremely unexpected and was something I had never planned to write, but has been such an encouragement to me personally. My main character, Maho, has reminded me to have faith even when I don’t know the next steps.
Q) Can you tell readers about your current writing projects?
I unfortunately don’t have any fictional writing projects as I decided to “shelve” my fictional projects for now, but one of my writing goals this year is to write another fanfic-inspired poetry collection! I deeply loved writing Team Lines and want to write a collection that centers around another school in Haikyu!! called Nekoma. I’ve written one poem already and hoping to write 11 more throughout this year!
The only other writing projects I currently have is to finish editing my pieces for the next Finding God in Anime devotional and to start typing up reviews of clean manga I’ve read for the Clean Fiction Magazine. I’m really looking forward to both of those!
Q) Can you tell us how your faith intersects with your writing?
Since I first started writing about ten years ago, I have been a firm believer in conveying there is hope for the real world. I realize that for many (and even for myself at times) that fiction is an escape from hardships in real life, but I know there isn’t just hope in those fictional worlds where heroes and heroines save the day. There is hope for our lives too because if I could say the biggest way Jesus has changed my life, is that He has made me hopeful. That is one of the biggest ways and influences I see how my faith intersects with my writing. Even if it’s a happy-go-luck story or one where my heart is bleeding on the page, hope is always the foundation for my stories.
Q) What advice would you offer aspiring authors?
A) My number one advice use to be to have fun writing. That was something that was recommended to me by numerous authors, but while I still think that writing advice is very important, I think the advice I would give to aspiring authors is don’t be afraid to give yourself grace with your writing, publishing, and marketing journey.
I don’t know for every writer, but I struggle a lot with expectations and self-pressures. I never grew up thinking or wanting to be a writer and feel more often than not, that I’m not quite measuring up to what I feel I’m supposed to be doing as an author. It can feel very overwhelming and I think that is why I felt I needed to step back from my fictional writing this year. It was a hard decisions because I knew readers would be disappointed, but showing grace to myself by not beating myself up because I’m struggling is something a writer will always need in their journey when things didn’t go quite as planned.
Q) Can you tell us about Cheery Tangerine?
Ah, I would love to! Cheery Tangerine Creations has been a new dream of mine in creating anime-inspired enamel pins and keychains. During the release of Team Lines, I connected with a pin maker and absolutely adored her art! I got my first set of pins from her and as I followed her pin-making journey, I met other pinmakers that I equally adored their art and inspired me to make my own pins too. Their pins have been a deep place of happiness for me and can say I’m hooked on buying new pins and making them! LOL! I currently have a new keychain idea in the works and hoping to get my next two pins manufactured later this month!
Be sure to follow Laura on social media:
- Website: https://www.lauraagrace.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauraagraceauthor/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/LauraAGraceUQ
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lauraagraceauthor
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/laura_a_grace
You can also get your own copies of Dear Author and Finding God in Anime through Amazon here and here! Remember, you can always request copies at your local library as well!