Laura Parker Castoro (1948–)
Bestselling author Laura Parker Castoro has published more than forty novels across multiple genres with major publishing houses such as HarperCollins, Dell Books, Simon and Schuster, Berkley, Avon, Warner, MIRA, Kensington, Pocketbooks, and St. Martin’s Press. Under the name Laura Parker, she writes historical and contemporary romance, westerns, and sagas. She writes contemporary African American and women’s fiction as Laura Castoro. Under pen name D. D. Ayres, she created the bestselling romantic suspense series K-9 Rescue.
Laura Parker was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 18, 1948, to Dr. David E. Parker and Mary Dell Parker Johnson. She has three brothers: David E. Parker Jr., Michael J. Parker, and Kenneth L. Johnson III. The family moved to Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) when she was six weeks old, and she grew up there, graduating from Southeast Junior-Senior High School in 1966 as valedictorian. She married Christopher Castoro in 1968. As an adult, she lived in Washington DC, Connecticut, and New Jersey before returning to Arkansas and Texas.
In 1979, Castoro was taking time off from studying microbiology at what is now Texas A&M University in Kingsville to raise her three children when she sold her first book, a historical romance, Silks and Sabers. She had been in her final year and an honor student in the science department but never finished her degree. Silks and Sabers was both a financial and critical success when it was published in 1980, selling more than 100,000 copies and making the national and paperback bestseller lists for Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, and Borders; many outlets listed it in their Top 25 romance novels that year.
Castoro has won multiple national writing awards. She was twice named a Texas Literary Lion by the Southwestern Booksellers Association. In 2002, she won Good Housekeeping magazine’s Professional Writers Short Story Competition. The contest was by invitation only, and she was surprised to have been chosen, as her expertise was novel writing. Her winning story was based upon a tale her mother related about growing up during the Depression, during which the family had little but their love. Good Housekeeping published her grandmother’s coconut cake recipe in their 2004 favorite recipes cookbook. In 2005, Castoro was inducted into the Arkansas Writers’ Hall of Fame.
In 2012, her novel Icing on the Cake was chosen for “If All Arkansas Read the Same Book,” a reading program sponsored by the Arkansas State Library’s Center for the Book. While doing research for this book, Castoro spent the evening with a bread-baking crew and vowed, “I’ll never complain about the price of a loaf of artisan bread again.” In 2013, she was named a Legend of Romance and awarded the prestigious Romance Pioneer Award by Romantic Times magazine.
Castoro served as president of Novelists, Inc., an international published authors’ organization, and served on the board of the Communication Arts Institute, which oversees the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, a working writers’ residence program in Eureka Springs (Carroll County). As a highly sought-after speaker and writing workshop leader, she is known for nurturing new writers and guiding those in advanced stages of learning to the higher skill levels needed to improve their craft.
Castoro and her husband live in Fort Worth.
For additional information:
Allen, Erika. “A Couple Who See Race Clearly.” New York Times, August 23, 2013. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/23/booming/starting-out-us-against-the-world-but-still-together.html (accessed November 23, 2021).
D. D. Ayres. https://www.ddayres.com/ (accessed November 23, 2021).
Ellen E. Withers
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