Ms. Collins strongly believes that romances need not necessarily be fantasy stories, and with her books, she aims to prove that realistic portrayals of history can be exciting, too. Her specialty lies in examining the lives of actual historical women and crafting their experiences into stories that are not only entertaining, but also the more amazing because they are based on fact.
Rose in the Shadows introduced us to Kate Warne, a Pinkerton agent, and the first female detective in the United States. Whispered Words told the fictionalized story of Nellie Bly's attempts to break into newspaper reporting. The Firebrand examined the career of Lucy Stone, who fought for women's rights and against slavery. Patchwork Angel, her most recent title, is based on the wartime experiences of Mary Ann Bickerdyke, who was a battlefield nurse during the Civil War.
Ms. Collins has two daughters who are both avid readers and have influenced her choice of subject matter. For ten years, she has served as an occasional volunteer at a "living history" site, a working farm that provides visitors with a glimpse of Midwestern farm life in the 1890's which offers invaluable hand-on experience for an author of historical fiction. "No amount of imagination," she says," can prepare you for the experience of cooking a meal on a wood stove in July wearing a long-sleeved housedress and ankle-length petticoats."
Ms. Collins is a member of the Chicago-North Chapter of Romance Writers of America and RWA published Authors Network. She has been a speaker at writers' conferences, libraries, and in school classrooms. She has published articles on the writing process, and she has been featured in articles that have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Daily Herald and many other publications. If you would like to write to Laurel Collins please send mail to P.O. Box 88082, Carol Stream, IL 60188-0082.