We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Ford and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what habits do you feel helped you succeed?
I think that we all have certain personality traits that bring about actions that are habitual in our lives and it is important to be aware of what makes us feel alive and infused with excitement and optimism in life. What makes us tick? For me, I have always been a very curious person and this curiosity leads me to push myself. I like to ask myself how a certain idea, project or hobby makes me feel or would make me feel. For example, when I learned to ride a motorbike, this hobby made me feel free and gave me a great adrenaline rush. It was also interesting and rather than it being deemed a male pastime I viewed it as something that fulfilled me as a person. I like to try and take the societal or gender-driven conditioning away from my decision making and simplify it by asking myself if this choice is something that I feel I can apply myself to fully and will bring me enjoyment. The end goal I believe could even be a sense of peace. Creating my non-profit The Pollinator Protection Fund of Laguna Beach has brought to me a sense of peace in the knowledge that through my non -profit I am directly creating pollinator gardens with habitat for endangered Western Monarch butterflies. I knew when making the decision to create this non-profit that my habitual ‘How will this make me feel when it comes to fruition?’ question, led me to a happy place. It was worth the hours at my desk filing paperwork and the PowerPoint presentations and liaising at the local municipal level to create something that many people enjoy and that is good for the environment and is good especially for the imperiled pollinators. In the process I have learned a great deal and partnered with a nationwide charity ‘The Monarch Joint Venture.’
Another habit that I have found to be incredibly important in my life is grit. When something doesn’t work out, it makes a difference for people to have the determination to diversify, or to continue through the tough times. I’ve faced a lot of very intense setbacks and challenges and I’ve found that having the ability to pick myself up, dust myself off and continue is everything. Hope is important as is knowing when to call it a day. Sometimes changing a path or an idea that I may have had about how something is going to work out has been incredibly important in bringing brighter horizons and opportunities to me. Surrendering my ego and realizing that something may not be the right path for me, despite putting in huge amounts of work and effort can lead you to the truth and bare bones of who you are and what simply makes you happy. This is what led me to write my first novel and a number of short stories that have been published internationally and also translated into other languages.
My first novel Sounds Like Love has received glowing positive praise from established literary reviews and all I can say is that it was written from the heart. I didn’t set out thinking about reviews or what anyone thought about what I had written or my idea – in fact – I didn’t care about all that. What mattered to me was writing something that touched my heart and in doing so would hopefully touch the hearts of others because it came from a genuine and real place and not a false or analytical one.
Habitually tapping into my genuine feelings and giving things a go has led me to the things that I was always interested in as a child and therefore the truth of who I am. Tapping into the truth of who we are and what we love is at the crux of where the magic can be found in each of us.
I try not to listen to conditioned ideas about relationships, stereotypes and the expectations and fears that we are bombarded with via social media, films, TV and magazines – and instead I look for the truth and beauty in people and the world around us.
This kind of truth and beauty is also very evident in animals and the kinds of relationships we can have with them, whether they are our pets or other people’s pets or animals in the wild. I have found that when speaking to readers about my novel ‘Sounds Like Love’ a unifying factor for all people of all backgrounds is the love they hold for their pets – past and present. I have been lucky enough to hear some beautiful and personal stories about people’s pets and how they have shaped their lives, saved them and supported them from different situations and trials in life. People have expressed to me how their pets have been the kind of loyal friends that we all need as we navigate this unpredictable journey of life.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My novel Sounds Like Love is an uplifting story about strength in the face of adversity. This is important in everyone’s life and certainly it has also been a theme for me in my own life. It wasn’t easy to reach the point where I have written two novels and have also created a non-profit organization. It has been a long journey with all kinds of twists and turns along the way. At 18 I wanted to get an education and was lucky that I was able to apply for a grant for a scholarship to attend university. I chose Law because I was interested in human situations and how the law can protect people from injustices. I also wanted to move from the UK to the USA and I felt that with this kind of degree there would be more scope to do this. I didn’t have a plan as such and I had never studied law before.
I took a course in how to ride a motorbike in the UK and rode to my university every day on a small motorbike – which was very economical. It wasn’t nice in winter (understatement) – I had a rain suit that I would wear to protect me as the rain pelted me on my journey. I think some people might have thought I was a ‘rebel’ in my leather motorcycle clothing – but I was just really practical. It wasn’t a ‘statement’ – taking the train into university was too expensive!
I graduated at 21 with a JD Honors in Law right as a big recession hit. I knew other people who continued studying while the economy hit rock bottom and jobs were scarce. I took different jobs and was able to work in Los Angeles for a few months. I really wanted to move to the USA and see the world.
Later, I took a screenwriting course at the London Film Academy and wrote the script for Sounds Like Love which has just been published as a novel. I have recently finished a second novel which is due for publication in late 2022.
I travelled extensively in my 20s and moved to the USA at 27 with my husband. It was the hardest thing to leave everyone and everything I know and love and jump into a completely unknown situation without a home or any friends or family. We had a car with our suitcases in it and started off our new life with a road trip from Vancouver Island down to Los Angeles.
I’m now a citizen of the USA and run my non-profit ‘The Pollinator Protection Fund of Laguna Beach’ in Southern California. My non-profit is focused on creating Western Monarch Butterfly habitat and gardens for all pollinators.
I’ve been through many bizarre and painful situations, but I maintain the belief that all things are possible and taking risks is often important. My advice to anyone following their heart and their dreams is not to worry about what other people think. Don’t feel that you need to reveal your ideas and plans – just work away at them until fruition – just keep going!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love the outdoors and nature so I am going to take you on a tour with this vibe. I’d start by taking my guests hiking to Eagle Rock in Topanga via the beautiful and scenic Musch Trail. We’d see all kinds of wonderful views, terrain and wildflowers. After the beautiful hike we would stop for lunch at the Canyon Bistro in Topanga Canyon. For sunset we’d head up the coast to Malibu driving along the Pacific Coast Highway to Zuma Beach. Here we would look out for humpback whales feeding if it was the winter months. We’d have a hot toddy at The Sunset Restaurant on the beach overlooking the ocean.
Another day we’d take a stroll at Will Roger’s Park and take in views across LA from Inspiration Point Trail. We could go on a trail ride from the park too. After visiting Will Roger’s – we’d carry on up to Pacific Palisades for something to eat in the village at Cafe Vida. We would then continue up the coast to the PCH where we would drive up to Malibu Peer and grab a coffee at Malibu Farms. We’d head from there to Malibu Cross Creek for a browse in the Malibu Shaman at their great books and dinner at nearby Ollo restaurant.
Before it gets dark we could take the amazing Malibu Canyon Road from Malibu to Calabasas and watch a movie at the cinema there. (Cinema address: 4767 Commons way Calabasas)
Other places to visit include:
Mama Shelter rooftop bar in Hollywood for people watching and great cocktails, Yamashiro restaurant for amazing views and tasty sushi, True Food in Santa Monica for your foodie health kick. The Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd for all the best upcoming comics – I used to perform there! Check out Brian Monarch’s show.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My husband Michael has been my constant support and an amazing friend and confidante. I’ve never met anyone like him! His sense of pragmatism, patience, optimism and kindness is inspiring to me. We’re always learning together.