Working midnights at the police department can be busy at times, but often, it is quiet. To pass the time, Laura Walkup started writing short stories in between calls.
A friend read her work and encouraged her to write more.
The stories expanded into novels. In 2008, Walkup left a position with the Bryan (Ohio) Police Department to become a full-time author, releasing her first novel, "Inherited Revenge." She was named a National Novel Writer's Month winner for 2011.
That year, she also published a second novel, "Storms of Azveron." Walkup has been working to complete another 50,000-word novel by the end of November for the 2012 competition.
Her most recent publication is "Site R Ravenrock," a science fiction thriller. It was released Oct. 3.
The author grew up on a small farm near Fremont and graduated from Lakota High School in 1989. From there, she went on to Terra Community College to complete an associate's degree in criminal justice and take a job with the Tiffin Police Department.
"My earliest literary influence would have been Mr. Doty from Lakota High School. His own passion in the literary world opened my eyes to the possibilities of writing my own novels," Walkup said.
She and her husband, Ben Walkup, and their five children now reside in the village of Pioneer, in Williams County. On a family vacation in the western U.S., Walkup noticed some unfamiliar military installations
and asked her husband what they were.
"He explained they were nuclear missile silos. Later on, I needed a similar location for my book 'Site R Ravenrock.' I started researching silos and fallout shelters I found the Ravenrock facility. ... It was designed to house and support Congress in case of a nuclear attack. It was the perfect place for my character to hide from an alien," Walkup said.
The self-published novel was released by Create Space Publishing and is available for sale at Amazon.com An independent publishing company for Amazon, Create Space allows independent authors to spend as much or as little on publishing and promoting their works as they wish.
"My books are printed on demand (POD) as orders are completed through online retailers like Amazon and Tower Books," Walkup said.
More authors are turning to independent publishing. Walkup said the process is not overly complicated, but the writer must be familiar with computer programs. Her advice is to complete the manuscript and do research on various companies to see what they offer.
"I read about them online. I put a list together and compared them. For me, Create Space fit my needs the best. The biggest benefit for was Amazon.com's distribution. My work is available to purchase in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe," Walkup said.
Each company has different directions and formats for manuscript submissions, page layouts and cover art. Walkup said it is important to follow the company's directions.
When she was preparing her first book, it took a couple days to get it formatted the way she wanted it, but her third book was completed in one afternoon.
"Three days later, I was holding the first copy in my hand. It does get easier as you progress," she said.
Walkup is working on another novel, "Dark Wyoming Skies," and "The Unimaginable," a series of short stories.
As e-readers become more popular, sales trends suggest e-reader sales will overtake traditional print books within the next few years. Walkup's works are distributed to iPad, Nook, Sony Reader and others.
After the first of the year, the author plans to schedule some book signings for people who still prefer to own hard copies of their favorite books.