Q&A With Laura Munson

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Q&A With Laura Munson 

Today’s Q&A is with New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Laura Munson. Laura is the author of the novel Willa’s Grove & the memoir This Is Not The Story You Think It Is. Laura is also a public speaker and writing teacher who leads her acclaimed Haven Writing Programs in Montana. Laura has had essays published in famous publications like the The New York Times and O. Magazine, & has been on TV and major, global media outlets multiple times! 

Q: Laura would you like to talk about both of your books Willa’s Grove & This Is Not The Story You Think It Is? Where did you get the idea for Willa’s Grove? What made you want to write your memoir This IS Not The Story You Think It Is?

A: This Is Not The Story You Think It Is (memoir):

Writing is my practice, my prayer, my meditation, my way of life, and sometimes my way to life. So, to that end, I wrote my way through a hard time in my life to help me process, yet knowing that my commitment to emotional non-suffering could help people in book form. So I wrote the book I needed on my bedside table. It was published in nine countries and, indeed, helped a lot of people. 

Willa’s Grove (novel):

After leading over a decade of my Haven Writing Programs in Montana, I wanted to capture what happens to intimate groups of seekers who come together for a deliberate need. At Haven, it’s to learn how to write in the way only you can. In Willa’s Grove, it’s to face major crossroads moments in the safety of a trusted community, in story, in the wilderness, and answer the question we all face at one time or another: So Now What?

Q: If you are currently writing your next book, can you reveal any details and is it fiction or nonfiction?

A: I always have a handful of projects in the works. Right now I have two non-fiction books about self-expression and writing coming out in 2025 and 2026, and am putting the final touches on a novel that is very dear to me, which I hope will come out sooner than later. Very few have read it. I’ve been keeping it close.

Q: What’s it like having your essays published in The New York Times & other publications, and what’s the submission process like for those of us curious about submitting a piece?

A: Having a large and influential platform like The New York Times publish your work, means that a lot of people are going to read it, and that’s good news for any author who loves her work and wants to share it widely. There are pieces that I post online and on my blog, but I save the ones I love best for the larger outlets. Those are usually hard nuts to crack, require extra courage in the submission department, and it’s always an exceptionally nice thing to get a ‘yes.’

Q: You are a public speaker as well as a writing teacher, retreat leader, editor, and author. Do you ever get nervous speaking in front of people? 

A: I find that the more I know the value of what I’m speaking about or teaching, the less I feel nervous in my presentations and programs. I’m just a vessel. It’s not about me, and it can’t be. It’s about delivering the message and the teaching in the very best way that I can.

Q: What made you want to start your own retreat for aspiring authors? What’s it like teaching aspiring authors the craft of creating their stories?

A: Out on the speaking circuit I hear the same refusals over and over again: I don’t have a voice, I’m stuck, I’m not creative, I don’t have letters after my name, who do I think I am? That’s why I started leading my Haven Writing Programs. They meet each writer where they need to be met, at all levels of craft and writing dreams. It’s a surprise chapter of my life, and outside of my parenting and my own writing, it’s the most important work of my life. I’ve seen my Haven Writing Programs change over 1,000 people’s writing, and their lives.

Q: Looking at your website, I saw that you were on GMA & The Early Show On CBS, and many other big media globally. What was it like being on those shows and meeting the media people?

A: Luckily, I am an extrovert, which is uncommon for most writers. The writing life is very solitary, especially living in a small town in Montana, so when I’m engaged in discussing the things I care about most, and with great journalists, it’s an honor. I usually forget that I’m on the show, and just enjoy the conversation, even if I’m being asked difficult questions. I consider it a welcome challenge, especially if it can help get my messages out there and my books into people’s hands and hearts.