Laura L. Valenti’s Biography
My first published work was a letter to the editor in Cape Girardeau, Mo., when I was 19. A protest against the war in Viet Nam, I was surprised when it appeared on the front page with my name withheld.
At first, I found that amusing until emotional, even violent responses appeared on the paper’s op-ed page. I was suddenly glad my name had not been published. More importantly, I realized how the power of the written word, even a simple letter from a college student, could move people to action. I’ve been hooked on writing ever since!
Over the years, writing has taken me many places, like three years in the Peace Corps in El Salvador, and a variety of jobs, including 10 years with the Laclede County Sheriff’s Department, the last three years of which I was the Jail Administrator for their 106 bed jail. I spent five years as a feature writer for the local newspaper, and in 1985, I wrote my first book, The Fifteen Most Asked Questions About Adoption. It sold out its first printing in the US & Canada in less than a year and brought me one of the top five National Adoption Activist Awards the next year. It stayed in print for 10 years.
Between raising kids (three of the four adopted, of course) and working, it would be 20 years before I wrote another book. In 2006, a colleague, Dick Dixon and I interviewed 30 southwest Missouri residents, all methamphetamine addicts in sustained recovery. They told us how they got on, how they got off, and how they stay off meth. Ozark Meth: A Journey of Destruction and Deliverance includes Ozark residents, their families and friends who are today actively contributing to their community after beating meth. They offer help to others to do the same and we published an update to it in 2013. Today, I’ve returned to freelance features and have also written four novels in The Heart of the Spring series as well as two others, Between the Star and the Cross.
In the first four, as a nearly 40 year resident of Bennett Spring, I’ve blended one family’s story with area history to bring to life books about living through the challenges of a changing world as well as the romance, beauty and joy of life in a place called Bennett Spring. In
Between the Star and the Cross: The Choice published in January 2011 and afterwards The Election, I’ve written the story of a small town county sheriff and the Salvadoran woman who comes to his town to run the Christian mission there. They say…”write what you know” and this novel is the result.
My husband, Warren retired from the Missouri Conservation Department after 33 years. We have four grown children, two in Missouri and two in Texas, and five grandsons. We have so much to be thankful for! And fortunately, Warren, my children and now even my grandchildren, continue to be great supporters of my writing career!