Laguna Beach author’s first novel is a labor of ‘Love’
Laura Ford loves cats so much that the two at her Laguna Beach home sometimes act more human than feline.
Ford and her husband Michael Russell have a pair of Siamese cats. They are potty trained.
“That kind of freaks people out when they visit,” Ford said with a laugh. “You go to the bathroom, and there might be a cat on the toilet.”
Ford loves animals and their relationship to humans. There is a cat on the cover of her first novel, “Sounds Like Love,” which is available in paperback and hardcover, as well as ebook editions, at major retailers including Amazon.
Ford is holding a tea party and book signing on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Tea House on Los Rios in San Juan Capistrano. Those interested are asked to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The young adult novel tells the tale of a young web designer, Wendy, who wants to find love and travel the world. Her life changes when she finds an amazing cat at her grandmother’s house.
“It’s about strength in the face of adversity, and just reaching out to people to say, ‘You’re not alone in your struggles,’” Ford said. “We’re all going through struggles, but you’re stronger than you know you are.”
Ford said the cat in the book is based on one she rescued while vacationing in Greece.
Writing the novel was a natural progression for Ford, 34, who has been writing short stories since she was a child growing up in the United Kingdom, in Essex.
Ford, who immigrated to America nearly seven years ago, grew up with parents who were both artists and went to the Royal College of Art.
“Our house always had amazing artwork on the walls,” she said. “It was a very expressive environment. We were all encouraged to paint and draw and write.”
Meanwhile, she forged her own path, earning a law degree from Anglia Ruskin University in England.
Ford said although her first novel is not autobiographical, there are aspects she’s borrowed from her own life. She said the ideas for the story came rapidly, adding that she considers it funny but also moving.
One main goal she has with the novel is to show the power within everyone, she said.
“In movies, they often think it’s showing women to be strong if they’re holding a bazooka, kick somebody in the head or do something violent,” she said. “But you know what, my mom’s an incredibly strong woman, and she doesn’t have to be violent to be incredibly strong … It’s the unassuming people that I’m interested in, and people’s personal strength and resilience and how special that is. People carry around their strength inside of them, and you don’t see that in everyday life.”
In addition to her writing endeavors, Ford is the founder of the nonprofit Pollinator Protector Fund of Laguna Beach, and started work last week on a Monarch Butterfly habitat at Heisler Park after it was approved by the City Council. She said she’s been working with Robin Jones, a local master gardener.
Russell said that he is proud of his wife, but he added with a smile that he doesn’t really get in the way of her artistic process.
“It’s a constant stream [of ideas], and it’s always interesting and fun,” he said. “It’s fun for me to see it develop, but I mostly listen and read something when it’s ready. I don’t probe, because she flows really well on her own.”
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