The famous historical romance novelist Laura Lee Guhrke didn't always know she was going to be a prolific writer. She initially tried her hand at advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing books is her true passion.
And following that passion has brought her numerous accolades. From her initial foray into writing historical romance novels, Laura has been honored with critical acclaim for her novels and her writing style.
Her books have routinely been bestsellers on the USA Today and even the New York Times lists. Her latest book, Secret Desires of a Gentleman, debuted at #30 on the New York Times Bestseller's List.
Laura has also been honored by the Romance Writers of America with their most prestigious award of romance fiction, the Rita Award. Of note, she has also been a Rita finalist four times.
Laura has been quite busy at her work, having written fifteen historical romances and is currently hard at work on her sixteenth. To see many of the books written by laura, just click Books by Laura Lee Guhrke. To see Laura's official website, please click
When not hard at work, Laura can be found hanging out with her wonderful Golden Retriever Barney. She initially had a beautiful Golden Sam who unfortunately passed away. Now Barney has been her constant loyal companion, curling up under her desk as she dreams up her amazing novels. See what Laura had to say about her most ardent fans, her Goldens...
1) Laura, thanks a lot for taking the time for this interview today. I know you had a beloved Golden named Sam who unfortunately passed away a few years ago. Now you have another Golden, Barney. How did you and Sam get together? How about you and Barney?
Sam was from an ad in the paper, not something I normally do. But I had just lost my previous dog, a German Shepherd, to cancer. I was in terrible grief, and I wanted a new puppy right away, but I also knew I wanted a Golden. There were none at the animal shelter, and the local breeders had no puppies available for months, so when a friend showed me the ad in the paper, I said, “Well, it doesn’t hurt to look.” Sam was the last puppy left, and the minute I saw him, he came running to me. I think he picked me that day, not the other way around! But I felt like he was meant to be mine. And he was a wonderful dog. But then, aren’t all Goldens?
Barney was from an Oregon breeder. I lost Sam when he was 9, and again, the local breeders in my area didn’t have any puppies coming up that weren’t already taken. One of them recommended a breeder in Oregon, and that’s how Barney came to me. Like Sam, he’s a great dog. He’s also got that really gorgeous golden coat. He’s a beautiful dog. Mouthy, though! Whenever I come home from somewhere, he starts talking to me the minute I walk in, and it always makes me laugh. I feel like he’s saying, “Well, it’s about time you came home. You wouldn’t believe the day I had…” I just nod and listen and try not to laugh, but he’s so funny, I can’t help it.
2) As an extremely successful author of historical romance novels, you might be lucky enough not to have to spend most of every day at a typical office. Is this true? If so, does this allow you to spend more time with Barney? Does he hang out with you while you are dreaming up ideas for your next book?
I spend every day in my office, which is upstairs. Barney usually curls up under my desk, unless my boyfriend, Aaron, is home. Barney loves Aaron, and follows him everywhere, so if Aaron is home, Barney curls up under his desk instead of mine. I have to admit, I’m a little jealous. I mean, he is MY dog, after all.
3) How would you define your relationship with Barney? Is he your best friend, child, equal? Or is he the boss...?
I’d say he’s the baby in our house. He’s a little spoiled, but not too much. He has rules, and a schedule, just like a kid. And he knows he has to obey Aaron and me. He also knows Aaron is alpha dog in our house. Me, he’s always trying to get around, so I have to be on my toes. For example, if Aaron gives him a command, he practically stumbles over his own feet to do it. Me, not so much. I have to work with him more because he sasses me a little, pushing the boundaries, and trying to see if I’ll let him get away with something. He never does that to Aaron!
4) I heard that you have lived in Eagle, a small town outside of Boise--actually I also lived in Boise for a few years when I was a kid--what a small world! Did your love for Goldens figure in any way into your decision to live in a smaller town rather than in a big city?
No, I’ve lived in Idaho, in a small town, most of my life. Goldens do fit very well into the lifestyle here. We have lots of lakes and Goldens love water. We also have miles of bike paths and trails to take them for walks. And the businesses here are very dog-friendly. So it all works out.
5) How has Barney blended into your lifestyle? What are some of his (and your) favorite things to do together?
I have always believed that a dog doesn’t rule your life. The dog comes into your pack and has to be part of the pack. We take Barney camping with us all the time. Of course, all our friends have dogs, so it’s just a natural thing to take ours too. Besides, I hate boarding a dog. Hate it. So, Barney comes with us. He loves the beach up at the lake. He and our friends Newfoundland go jumping in the water to fetch sticks. Goldens love water, but I think Newfies love it more. Laverne, their Newfoundland, is amazing in the water. No wonder the Canadians use them for water rescue. But Barney’s pretty good at competing with her, I think. We also take walks with him. And there’s lots of play, of course. He loves rolling around on the grass on his back. He has so much fun doing it that it’s fun just to watch him.
6) If you could adopt one characteristic of your Goldens, which would it be and why?
Happiness. Goldens are always happy. If Barney is depressed, I know he’s sick and I call the vet. I wish I could be happy all the time.
Is there anything else your would like to share about your Goldens?
I think Goldens are the greatest dogs in the world. They are so much a part of your life, that once you’ve had one, you never want any other kind of dog. I can’t imagine life without a Golden. Now, if only someone could invent a dog food that stops them from shedding everywhere…
Laura, I really want to thank you again for taking the time to answer some questions about your Goldens. As someone who also has lost a precious Golden recently, I can empathize with what you must have gone through when Sam passed away. I'm happy that Barney is part of your life now.