Diane here. I don’t think we Riskies have hosted an Inspirational author before, but I’m delighted to introduce my friend, Laurel Hawkes (aka frequent Risky commenter “Judy”). I met Laurel through a mutual friend. Actually both Laurel and her friend were readers who became friends of mine. As such I’ve been very lucky to watch as Laurel has gained her courage, developed her writing skills, and reached this great moment–her debut.
A Promise of Possibilities is an Inspirational Historical set in the Regency period. 
A Promise of Possibilities was released by Desert Breeze Publishing, an ebook publisher, so there aren’t the usual reviews. Here’s what one Amazon reviewer said of Laurel’s book (and you’ll see why I selected this one 😉 ):

I love Regency romances and in particular Diane Gaston, Anne Gracie, the earlier Lisa Kleypas …and this debut novel by Laurel Hawkes is amazing in its depth of characterization, its complexity (by that I mean its gritty realism — the ugliness, and beauty, of real life as opposed to the shallow plots found in so many romances), and in the heart-wrenching situation of its heroine and hero. I’d rather not give the plot away, that would be spoiling it– read the blurb!

Laurel will be giving away one ebook copy of A Promise of Possibilities to one lucky commenter. 
Now, without further ado, meet my friend, Laurel Hawkes.
Thanks, Diane, for asking me to be a guest at Riskies. I never in my wildest dreams believed I’d enjoy such an honor. 
Welcome, Laurel! Tell us about A Promise of Possibilities
In England, 1816, spinster Elizabeth Thorn has been more slave than servant as her father’s housekeeper. The courageous war stories shared by author Paul Silver inspire her to correspond with him. But after years of heartfelt letters, he stops replying… 
Jonathan Silverton blames himself for the brutal death of his best friend. When he moves to the countryside and unexpectedly meets his correspondent, he chooses not to reveal his secrets. But he cannot deny his desire to marry her, while hoping she’ll never discover the truth. Shattered trust and faith may tear them apart…until they each learn a vital lesson.
Yes, I know, it’s the blurb, but I worked hard on it, had some help from some amazing writers, and I’m proud of it. LOL!
What gave you the idea to write this book?
Funnily enough, my friend Constance Wagner enjoyed my Lord of the Rings fan fiction and thought I should try a historical romance. My first response was a no, because I didn’t believe I could. I thought about her request for a half hour and emailed her again telling her I’d give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen?
A Promise of Possibilities is your debut book. Tell us about your journey to publication, especially how writing fan fiction (like another mega-best-selling author) led you to this moment.
I actually started with writing short essays, telling the story of the Lord of the Rings “Through Frodo’s Eyes.” I wanted to explore Frodo’s journey from a personal perspective. A dear friend wrote her own romance for Frodo, wishing he’d had an HEA. I offered to edit, and the next thing I knew I was writing my own bits. I told her she’d have to write the romantic parts and the dialogue because I couldn’t. It became a running joke once I discovered how much I enjoy writing both. I started writing contemporary romances, with no real plan for publishing, and then I was asked to write APoP with an eye toward publishing. I kept taking the next step.
A Promise of Possibilities is an Inspirational Historical Romance. Tell us how an Inspirational Historical differs from an Historical.
The characters’ faith plays a significant role in the story. Both the heroine and the hero explore how God fits into their lives and their relationship.
Your bio says that someone told you that you would never succeed as a writer. How did that affect you and how did you overcome it? 
I believed them and put writing on the shelf. Years later, in 2002, I was profoundly affected by the LOTR movies. I felt very much like Frodo’s story was my own in many ways. I started making significant changes in my life. The first was realizing how cut off from my feelings I’d been. Because of my love for LOTR, I became involved in the community and discovered a lot of amazing people. We shared ideas, silliness, and our writing. Some of them are truly gifted writers, with no desire to move beyond the fandom writing. I had a few ideas floating around in my head, and risked sharing them. They were incredibly supportive. The next thing I knew, I was writing all hours of the day and night. There are people in my life with whom I don’t share my writing. I’ve been blessed with a lot of people who have been wonderfully supportive. I joined my local RWA chapter, Desert Rose, in 2007, still not truly believing I’d ever publish, simply taking the next logical step and the next step.
Your bio says you lived in Thailand and England. How was it you lived in those very different countries?
I was a missionary in Thailand, an amazing experience. When I returned home I attended travel agency school. We had a field trip planned to Mexico. I landed in the hospital, unable to travel. The cost to Europe wasn’t much more. I stayed the summer with family friends, taking a bus tour to Scotland and hopping across the channel to Holland and then France.
What is next for you?
A Promise of Possibilities is the first of three books in the Endless Possibilities Series following the Thorn siblings. Matthew’s story, Hidden Possibilities, releases in March 2013, and James’s Unexpected Possibilities releases in October 2013. I also have a contemporary series, The Silver Locket Sisterhood, with the first book, Luck in Love, coming out in November 2012.
When I find an author I love, I’ll read anything they write, no matter the genre. Obviously, I’m writing in two different genres and toying with a time travel idea. What about you, do you read only one genre or do you delve into other genres as well?
Thanks again for inviting me to Riskies.
Thank you for being our guest! And, Readers, don’t forget. Comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of A Promise of Possibilities