Letters to Laura is the story of one woman’s journey from heartbreak to healing. Told through a series of letters, this unique epistolary offers insight into coming out of the closet, losing your virginity, and learning how to genuinely grieve in the face of loss.
People don’t have to die to leave us and when two women—madly in love—break apart, the leaving is all too real. In this inspiringly raw work, grief shows its true nature: that of a healer. How much pain have you shoved down into the depths of your broken heart? Perhaps the light needed for your darkness lies between the lines of one brave woman’s willingness to be exposed.
Molly: What made you want to start writing?
Wesley: Everyone has a need to be heard. Writing is my way of exploring the vastness of my own voice, completely oblivious to whether I’m the only one in this exploration and at the same time, displaying that voice loudly in the ears of all that will take a listen
Molly: What things have you read that have especially helped your writing?
Wesley: I have always been highly influenced by the works of powerhouses like Edgar Allen Poe (anything by him really), C.S. Lewis (‘Til We Have Faces and The Screwtape Letters), Watership Down by Richard Adams, but I would actually say that I am more inspired and motivated and influenced to write by visual stories. Certain TV shows, a lot of anime, even certain movies and songs inspire me. I get story ideas from lots of media and I find that these story ideas tend to come to me in a similar manner as one might get a script idea. I wouldn’t say I’m a writer first. I would say I’m a storyteller who dabbles in writing.
Molly: What’s the hardest thing about writing for you?
Wesley: Thinking I’m any good. haha I love to write, yet I find myself doing it less than anything else for a good 6 months out of the year. The other 6 months, I send all the excuse-coated insecurities that kept me from writing the first 6 months away and then I write two full length books/novels. I’d like to take credit for some kind of mind-shattering display of discipline, but truth is I’m always evolving.
Molly: What do you wish you knew before you started?
Wesley: How damn long it was going to take LOL!
Molly: Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one, how do you balance them?
Wesley: How do you balance telling your friend about the time you thought you saw a ghost and recounting from memory the instructions on how to build a bottle rocket to your niece? It’s all just different aspects of life. That’s what genres in books are (or in art or music for that matter). They’re just different aspects of chosen lives, both realistic and fantastical.
Molly: Where did your love of reading & writing come from?
Wesley: My love of storytelling has always been something very innate. As for reading, I had to cultivate a love for reading because I struggled with dyslexia. I had to train my brain with different memory techniques; I found that memorization helped me get better and better at reading.
Molly: How long have you been writing?
Wesley: Well I was a songwriter for a while, so I have been writing music since I was a little girl. I worked in Nashville a little. But ultimately I’d had a love of writing stories when I was even younger than that (won some state competitions and such). So, after my love affair with music started to cool down, I returned to writing stories and realized that was at the heart of why I even wrote songs. A lot of my songs were storyteller-like songs. I still write music, but my number one squeeze right now is writing novels.
Molly: What does your “writing cave” look like?
Wesley: I do not have a cave; who has a cave? When did I miss this? Lol
Molly: Do you use music as inspiration? Can you tell us about what type of music inspires you?
Wesley: Yes! I am heavily inspired and influenced by music when it comes to my writing. I create playlists for my characters (what kind of songs would they listen to, what songs define their personality, etc.). I create playlists for the story in general, almost like a soundtrack for a movie. And the genres, much like my own writing, range from K-pop to jazz, to rap, to rock and roll, to indie, to punk…to Josh Groben and Aurora (who get their own categories because they are my favorites), and so on and so on.
Molly: Must have beverage and snack while writing?
Wesley: No snacks, but the beverage depends on what stage the writing is at. From the beginning to about 80% of the book, it’s one of my favorite teas in a fancy teacup that makes me feel pretty and elegant in some strange archaic way. Then, from 80% to completion, that tea gets replaced by a strange mixture of espresso and alcohol. 😉
…She was a terrible girlfriend, an even worse friend, and I would have done anything for her. Why? Why would anyone devote so much to someone so messed up and cruel? Because she was me. I mean, not exactly. I know there were a lot of differences in how we treated people, how we chose to mask our brokenness, but she was essentially just like me. She was looking for someone to save her, rescue her, make all the nightmares disappear inside of a kiss. And it inspired in me a grand desire to be all she dreamed for. Because if I could save her, maybe it would save me as well.
When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, I was alone. My princess, the one I worked so hard to save, had betrayed me. She’d sold me out to the enemy of loneliness and I was bound by the chains of heartache, held in the prison of good intentions. I looked down at myself, busted and bleeding profusely from every wound I’d ever gotten. They were all noticeable now, glaring back at me saying…”this is it, you’ve suffered long enough, we won’t survive this one, not unless a miracle comes”.
I don’t know whether it was the right time, or just the right combination of events, advice from well–meaning friends, and a few bottles of organic beer. But a sudden moment of clarity took me over. If I wanted to get out of this mess, break from these chains and storm my way out of my self–made prison, I’d need a new perspective. No one was coming to save me. There was no knight in shining armor. My princess was long gone and would not offer aid. I took a deep breath, wiped the tears from my eyes, and decided I’d be my own miracle. I looked grief in the eye and said, “I’m ready.” Grief, the surgeon to the lost, cut me wide open, removed all the faulty wiring, and gave me a new chance.
A chance to become my own hero.
Wesley Rivers is a no–nonsense individual with a strong disgust for fruitless endeavors. However if you point out how whimsical she can be, she will simply smile and reply: “but with a purpose.” Wesley never avoids being brash when it’s needed, determined to see herself through her own heart rather than anyone else’s. She nds staring into one’s own darkness to be very therapeutic and so shies away from stories, movies, or entertainment that hinges too heavily on formulas, trope–ing, or “feel good” material.
Wesley is enthralled with Asian pop culture, expressing her adoration for anime, K–pop and historical Asian folklore on a daily basis. Much of her inspiration comes from the various art forms of these cultures. She adores foxes and often times plays with the idea that she is indeed the reincarnation of a Kitsune (Japanese nine-tailed fox Yokai).
Being part of the community herself, Wesley has strong ties to LGBT advocacy and social activism. She will also be the rst to admit that she nds two men engaging in sexual acts to be too stunning for words, never hiding that she hopes to come back in the next life as a gay man “…in a better world of course.”
She is a dedicated minimalist, quoted saying… “The hoarding of things is death to all the experience life can offer.” Wesley Rivers adores the re nement of tea; she believes there to be more culture in a bag of tea leaves than in the entire world. Wesley sees no difference between chil- dren with fur and children without, having ve fur–babies: two cats and three dogs. She believes all life matters and the idea that some matter more is primarily what’s wrong with the world.
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