Meet Laura L. Smith, author of the Status Updates Series (It’s Complicated , It’s Addicting , and It’s Over), and the False Reflections Series (Skinny, Hot, and Angry).
Laura L. Smith believes in God and true love. She believes if she bangs hard enough on the back of her wardrobe, she’ll get to Narnia someday. She believes eating chocolate is good for you. She believes part of her soul lives in France, part at the beach and the other part in Oxford, Ohio, because when she goes to those places she feels at home. Laura, her husband, and their four children live in Oxford, Ohio, home of Miami University.
Publicity intern Naomi Downing recently caught up with BHP author Laura L. Smith to talk about her inspiration for writing the life-changing novel Skinny and the crushing patterns for beauty that the world holds out to girls.
What first inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve longed to be a writer as long as I can remember. I was always immersed in a book as a kid, and wrote story upon story. English was my favorite class. But who becomes a writer? At least that’s what I thought. It wasn’t until I was married and pregnant that I decided to actually write. I’d majored in marketing in college, had a successful business career, and my husband and I were on a walk. He asked, “If you could be anything when you grow up, what would you be?” Up until that point, I’d never shared with anyone that I wanted to be a writer, but in that instant I told him. And being an amazing man, he answered, “then write.” And I haven’t stopped since. Is there one thing you really want readers to come away with after reading Skinny?
I hope readers realize that they aren’t supposed to fit into the stifling patterns the world dictates, that because they are created in the image of Christ they are beautiful, exactly how they were made by their Creator. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
I had a dear friend in high school, another dear friend in college, and a dear friend as an adult who all struggled with eating disorders. Watching them fight their battles, and feeling unqualified and ill- equipped to help them was painful. Writing Skinny was my way to share with them how amazing I think they all are, but it required truly diving into some of the raw memories of their struggles. What did you learn While writing about eating disorders?
What a lonely thing having an eating disorder is. Most people who suffer from disordered eating are struggling to find control in their lives. They feel the way they measure their food intake and calories burned is something they can control in perhaps a chaotic, or stressful life, but because they are seeking control, they typically do not want anyone else to help, won’t let anyone else into their struggles. Is there a character you related to most in Skinny?
I build a little bit of myself into all of my characters. Although in many ways I’m different than the main character, Melissa, there are several ways she is like me. I was on the dance team at my high school, so I used those experiences to build some scenes for Melissa’s life. I love the Beatles, chocolate-chip pancakes and fondue and made them some of Melissa’s favorites too. I also tend to be the quieter one in a group. Do you have any more thoughts you’d like to share on this subject?
Eating disorders are real. Over 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States suffer from eating disorders. 81% of ten year olds are afraid of being fat. The health consequences to eating disorders are multiple, dangerous, and can even be deadly. If you or anyone you care about shows signs of an eating disorder seek help. Two great places to start are www.neda.org the National Eating Disorder Association and www.findingbalance.com a Christian resource, website and community to help develop positive body image.