Laurel Handfield began her writing career about two decades ago, but her passion for the written word was deeply rooted in her youngest years.
Her childhood literary influences were both real and fictional–Judy Blume and the Archie characters Betty and Veronica. However, it was the Riverdale duo who pined for Archie’s heart that figured heavily into Handfield’s earliest literary creations, childhood plays that she and her sister staged at home.
“As a child, I wrote Archie plays,” Handfield shared. “That’s where I got my love of reading and animation….I used to love to read comic books. My sister and I, we used to create little plays back and forth with our dolls.”
Like most children, Handfield also grew up reading Blume’s stories. And, while Handfield enjoys reading pretty much any book she can get her hands on, she admits that her love of children’s fiction has never really wavered.
“I read everything, but my love has always been children’s books,” Handfield said. “ I love the illustrations that coincide with the stories. That’s kind of how I got into it.”
In college, she majored in business marketing. After graduation, she worked in sales, marketing, and advertising, too. However, a trip to the Bahamas led to a shift in focus and a rediscovery of her true passion: writing.
Her vacation to the islands turned into an unexpected romance when she met and fell in love with her partner. A long-distance relationship followed. Eventually, though, Handfield said that she decided to move to the Bahamas permanently. While life in the Bahamas was slower and more relaxed, Handfield also discovered that her marketing career didn’t hold quite as much opportunity in the islands as it did in the United States.
“When I came to the Bahamas, it was a little tougher to find those types of jobs that I was doing back in the states,” she said. “So that’s when I started to revisit writing again and that is when I started to fall in love with actual writing of children’s stories…”
Today, Handfield has a flourishing freelance writing career and is among a team of writers that creates children’s books for Readability Tutor. She still calls the Bahamas home and enjoys the laid-back island life with her three children–a 17-year-old daughter and 11-year-old and 13-year-old sons–and her two dogs.