October 2017 Writer // Janelle Morrison Laura Martin, a former Carmel Middle School teacher and current Zionsville resident, will speak at the Writers at the Pavilion and the 13th Annual Guilded Leaf Book & Author Luncheon October 18-19 at the Ritz Charles in Carmel. The events are presented by the Guild of the Carmel Clay Public Library (CCPL) and the CCPL’s Young Professionals Committee. The events are the primary fundraising events that support the programs offered by the library. The annual Writers at the Pavilion will be held October 18, the evening before the luncheon, and offers an opportunity for attendees to network and engage in conversation with the authors and other attendees in a more casual environment. The authors will also be available for book signings at the evening event and at the luncheon the following day. The Guilded Leaf Book & Author Luncheon is a popular and engaging event that features six nationally-known bestselling authors who share their stories about life, writing and books. Martin was invited to join her colleagues and speak about her successful “Edge of Extinction” series. In this series, dinosaurs were cloned and replaced humans at the top of the food chain, forcing humans to go underground in order to survive. Martin’s characters must venture to the Earth’s surface where harrowing adventures await them as they encounter a world reclaimed by dinosaurs. Martin grew up in the Chicago area and graduated from Butler University with double majors in English and Creative Writing. “Two for the price of one,” she said. “I was a student teacher at Clay Middle School in Carmel, and after college, I was offered a job teaching seventh grade Language Arts at Clay. Carmel is a hard district to get into as a teacher, and I was really blessed with where I landed. I loved teaching at Clay. It was my happy place.” She explained that she loves teaching middle school ages because she could tell instantaneously if she was connecting with the students through their expressions and body language. “If you are making a connection with the students, you know it right away,” Martin emphasized. “One of my dreams was to get a book published,” she shared. “The whole time that I was teaching, I was trying to get a book published, and I actually put a deadline on myself. I gave myself until the age of 30 to achieve this goal. I knew that I had to actually take steps to do this and just stop fooling around with the idea of it. I wrote a book and spent a year and a half shopping around, trying to get it published. I didn’t know what I was doing. I think that everyone needs to write one book and then shove it under their bed or let their mom read it and be done with it. It is quite a process. During the time that I was trying to get published, I had a lot of interest, but no one was biting.” Martin shared her favorite piece of advice that she was given during that period of her life: “While you’re trying to get published and you’re getting all of these rejections, start something new, so you have something exciting coming down the pipeline.” “While I was getting rejections from book ‘A,’ I began working on book ‘B’ and got the idea for this book while I was on fall break at Clay,” Martin recalled. “My mom called and suggested that we go to New York City for break for a fun mother/daughter trip. I’m kind of a nerd, so I drug her to the Natural History Museum. While we were there, I saw this case with little dinosaur figurines in it. I began to imagine what if we, humans, were to figure out how to bring back the dinosaurs, and if we did, would we have these creatures as pets like dogs in our backyards? I returned to my teaching after break and forgot about the idea for a while.” One day, Martin was looking through the photos on her phone and found the images of the dinosaur figurines. She promptly began writing her book. Martin feels it is important to have dreams and goals, and she emphasizes this with her students at the beginning of every school year. “On the first day of class, my kids would write their dreams and goals for themselves on a cloud,” she said. “I posted these clouds in the front of the classroom, so they were literally in front of the students throughout the entire year. I shared with my students that it was my dream to get a book published and what steps I was taking to accomplish my goal. I would tell them that even if it takes me 30 years to get published, it will have been 30 years well spent rather than looking back on those years, wishing I would’ve tried.” Martin went on maternity leave with the first of her two children, and at that point, she said she had an “internal conversation with God.” “I had been trying to do this for six years, and now I had a new baby, so I began to think that it was time to put the idea on the shelf and focus on the new mom thing for a little bit,” Martin said. “That’s when I got a call from an agent who had a copy of my manuscript for over a year. She happens to be John Green’s agent, and I felt like I was applying to Harvard University, even though I didn’t have the grades when I reached out to her. I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere, and then she called and said she loved my book and wanted to get it published.” At that point, Martin decided to take a break from teaching, so she could focus on publishing her book and being a new mom. “I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to teaching,” she admitted. “I knew that I couldn’t be the kind of teacher, mother and author that I wanted to be and that something had to give. I had been handed the dream that I’ve had for most of my life and knew that I had to put as much time and effort into that as I could. I think that I will go back to teaching one day because I loved it, but right now, it’s really fun to have this opportunity and also the ability to stay at home with my children.” Martin emphasized she is honored to have been invited and is looking forward to speaking at the upcoming luncheon in Carmel. She enjoys speaking engagements, especially with middle school students. “I get to talk about my book, get everyone excited about reading it and not have to grade anyone’s essays,” she said. For more information on Laura Martin’s books and for updates on her upcoming new release, visit lauramartinbooks.com.