Inspiring teachers to inspire their students at the Oregon Reading Association’s (ORA) Winter Institute!
The Winter Institute included workshops and author talks.
The Winter Institute included workshops and author talks.
Coming Soon! The Recalcitrant Project
NEWS! Between now and April 1, 2016 The Recalcitrant Project is available for beta readers. If you are interested, let me know. Happy reading!!!
I am thrilled to announce that in the spring of 2016 you can expect a new novel. I am venturing into the world of dystopia! Please join me on my latest adventure. If you like The Hunger Games… give this a try!
Re·cal·ci·trant, adjective: having an obstinately uncooperative attitude toward authority or discipline. Recalcitrant, noun: a person with an obstinately uncooperative attitude.
They’re not sure who I am. They think I’m an outlier – someone who lies outside the norm. So why haven’t they killed me yet? Perhaps they hope to reprogram me because they need me to put the finishing touches on their deadly game. They are desperate to know what is in my head and how I can outsmart computers but I will never tell.
My name is Elise Andrak and I live in the new North. I come from a sparkling city that everyone believes is perfect, but I know otherwise. I know things I should not know. I’ve seen things I was never meant to see or understand. I’m seventeen years old and I’m wanted… dead or alive by my own government. This is my story – believe it and be assured that it’s true. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by their lies anymore. Save yourself before it’s too late. Only you can free yourself from this, but you have to have the courage to try. I hope I have the courage to escape The Recalcitrant Project.
Elise and her classmates are up for their final trial before graduation except that something goes horribly wrong. As they enter their trial, Elise comes to realize she’s seen it all before, but how? In a dream? In a message? In a computer game? Yes, the computer game she’d been beta testing. The question remains… why her? And what does it all mean?
Our history books tell us that after the third world war everything changed. Our government, in an effort to protect those of us who remained, took away nearly all of our personal rights and freedoms. A universal way of living was established for the populace, supposedly for our safety. At the time the citizens agreed it was for the best, but as always, there were a few who were unafraid to speak out. Dissenters were made an example of and many simply disappeared. During that time a legend was born and even though the government tried to kill the idea, it lives on: It says that one will come who will break the system and save us from our crushing government. Personally, I don’t care about all that. My life is normal, but then I’ve never known any different. I know it is best to just go on, do your job and not cause any trouble. The latest news confirms this.
“As a result of the civil unrest that has broken out among our citizenry, new laws are being enforced. Those who do not conform to the lot they are given and choose to defy our great nation shall be reconditioned, so on this day, February 26, 2066, we the government, will begin a new system of eradication of those citizens we find to be obstinately uncooperative in their attitude toward authority and discipline.”
…And so begins the Recalcitrant Project.
Destiny – Owen’s Final Adventure.
We come to the end of a series and… as readers and writers, many of us are filled with joy and sadness. We have fallen in love with these characters and it is difficult to let them go. We want to know what happens next. These characters have become our friends. We have to know if they are happy and well. We miss the way they have made us laugh and cry – the way they have touched our hearts. Perhaps more than anyone I will miss Owen, Lucie, Marlo, and the others. Owen was my first protagonist and like a first boyfriend he will always have a special place in my heart.
OTHER BOOKS IN THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES:
Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, Book One) ebook is FREE. Download a copy at Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, B&N.
Listen to the FREE podcast of Book 1 by L. R. W. Lee on Podiobooks.
Book one is also available in paperback.
Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning (Andy Smithson, Book Two) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook first…Savings of $16!
Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor (Andy Smithson, Book Three) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace (Andy Smithson, Book Four) is available in Kindle and Paperback.
Power of the Heir’s Passion (Andy Smithson, Prequel Novella) ebook is FREE. Pick up a copy at Amazon, Google, B&N, Smashwords. It’s also available in paperback.
Download the professionally recorded audiobook at Amazon
It’s only $1.99 if you download the eBook for $.99 first…Savings of $1!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
L. R. W. Lee credits her love of fantasy with her introduction to C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia. Later on, she enjoyed the complex world of Middle Earth brought to life by J. R. R. Tolkien in Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. The multiple dimensions of the worlds mixed with a layer of meaning, captivated her and made her desire to invent Young Adult Fantasy and Epic Fantasy worlds others could get lost in, but also take meaning away from. More recently, L. R. W. Lee has found inspiration from J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series as well as Brandon Mull and his best selling Fablehaven, Beyonders and Five Kingdoms series.
L. R. W. Lee writes to teach her readers principles that can transform their lives – overcoming frustration, impatience, fear and more. She also shows why responsibility, diligence and dignity are the keys to true success in life. She lives in scenic Austin, TX with her husband. Their daughter is a Computer Engineer for Microsoft and their son serves in the Air Force.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon | Email
L.R.W. LEE INTERVIEW
1. How did you come up with your main character, Andy Smithson? Did he just pop into your imagination or did you specifically develop him?
Andy is patterned after my son. After our first child who was what I would call compliant and seemed to need little to no correction, our son arrived on the scene. As with most 2nd children, he was polar opposite and provided much fodder for an engaging main character.
2. How did your experience with building a business help with your writing?
It has been invaluable for I understand that writing is only 50% of the writer’s success equation. Unlike Field of Dreams, with so many good books available today, just launching it, even on a well trafficked platform like Amazon, does not get recognition. Because of my corporate background, from day one I began working to build a platform – Twitter and Facebook primarily and now also Book Nerd Paradise. As well, I understand the importance of the author community, for no author can succeed these days without the support of fellow authors. My background has also helped in understanding the need to optimize my books to rank well on the variety of sites they are listed on. There’s much more, but those are the biggest helps I would say.
3. Was there any particular book or author whom you feel had the most influence on your work?
I have to say JK Rowling. The imagination she revealed, the strength of her characters, the world building, the depth of plot over multiple books…she definitely shaped how I think about writing.
4. What do you love the most about writing for young people?
Young people are moldable. My passion for writing is to share with readers principles that from my experience can help them live more peaceful lives. A few of these principles include overcoming fear, frustration and impatience as well as understanding that true success in life is not from riches, fame or power, but rather responsibility, diligence and dignity. If they can finish any of my books closer to understanding these principles, I feel very fulfilled.
5. Which part of the creative process is your favorite? Least favorite?
Designing the story arc is my favorite part of the creative process for you can take a story anywhere your imagination can go. My least favorite part is editing/revising. Even though I know the narrative gets much stronger as a result, it’s still my least favorite part.
6. How long does it usually take you to write one of your stories from when you get the idea to when it’s finished?
Usually about 6 months.
7. I know that most authors love all their characters but which of your many “children” is your favorite (besides Andy) and why?
I have to say Mermin, the kindly old wizard who speaks with a lisp. I love him most after Andy because he’s so warm, humble and approachable. He’s fallible and he knows it, which is why he doesn’t apologize for his mistakes, rather he is comfortable in his own skin.
8. Do you ever plan to branch out into other genres besides middle grade/young adult fantasy?
Funny you should ask. Yes, I’m actually noodling with a story arc of a YA Sci Fi story.
9. How do you feel your writing has evolved since your first novel?
I can see how much I’ve changed and improved in showing rather than telling my readers what’s happening. I want them to engage and to show – providing sight, sounds, touch, smell, and taste cues is a big part of that. I was particularly thrilled when my editor came back a full week sooner than expected with this current book because I had improved so much between book three and four. My pocketbook also appreciated that J
THE DEPTH OF THE ANDY SMITHSON SERIES
If you’re an adult looking for a clean series you can sink your teeth into, Andy Smithson is definitely it! In it I develop four layers simultaneously: 1) Andy Smithson in Lakehills, TX 2) Andy in Oomaldee 3) the Afterlife 4) a meaning layer. A few examples to demonstrate the depth…
Symbolism is used extensively (a couple examples):
• The fog of the curse symbolizes blindness and oppression.
• The magic key unlocks doors, brings stone statues to life, as well as revives. Put another way, it symbolizes bringing forth, opening up, and revealing (aka taking responsibility).
• Methuselah is not only a weapon and helper, but also represents justice as it divides good and evil. Consistent with life, justice requires diligence to uphold.
Names are also important in this series (a few examples):
• Andy means brave or courageous.
• Alden means helper.
• Hannah means favor or grace.
• Imogenia means blameless.
Alchemy used throughout the series (a few examples):
• Alchemy played a significant role in the development of modern science. Alchemists sought to transform base metals into the gold or silver and/or develop an elixir of life which would confer youth and longevity and even immortality.
• In the series, the first instance of alchemy begins with the gold weavers, Max, Oscar, and Henry, spinning straw into gold to manufacture the wealth of the kingdom.
• The four elementals: air, earth, fire, and water are then seen on Methuselah’s hilt.
The titles of the books manifest yet another layer of meaning and reveal Imogenia’s evolution.
• Beginning with Blast of the Dragon’s Fury, Imogenia is furious at what has happened to her and she fuels her emotional hurt.
• In Venom of the Serpent’s Cunning, Imogenia turns venomous (or spiteful) and cunning in seeking ways to continually punish her brother.
• Disgrace of the Unicorn’s Honor has Imogenia act in a manner disgraceful to the honor of royalty.
• In Resurrection of the Phoenix’s Grace we see Imogenia’s grace reborn as she begins to reflect.
• In Vision of the Griffin’s Heart, Imogenia realizes she is gripped by hatred and distrust she has harbored for so long. Unlike griffins who choose to trust others, Imogenia cannot yet make that leap when it comes to her brother.
If you’re local… Please join me at The Red Mitten Christmas Bazaar in Canby Oregon! The bazaar runs from Dec. 2nd until the 13th.
Wednesday preview from 5 – 8 pm (a small donation goes to local charities)
Thursdays from 10am to 6pm
Fridays from 10am to 6pm
Saturdays from 9am to 7pm
Sundays from noon until 5pm
Author signings – local artisans, artists and craftspeople – amazing desserts and soup at lunch time!
Learn more here – https://www.facebook.com/The-Red-Mitten-Christmas-Bazaar-440789499299653/?fref=ts
Warner Grange Hall – 10100 S. New Era Rd. (Just north of Canby – 1/4 mile off of 99E.)
See you there!
If I could, Lauren, I’d like to tell you about my new story Two Hearts Surrendered, which is featured in the Magical Weddings Anthology – due to be released on June 16.
The first thing that popped into my head when I was asked if I’d like to contribute a story was this: why not try writing something a little different from what I’m accustomed to? Military stories are very popular these days. But with some of the terrible things happening in the world today, what I wanted was to get into the head of my character, who was returning home as a wounded warrior. Luke Bryant had struggles to begin with – he was abused as a child. It’s my heroine’s ability to believe in their love and to stand by his side, even though my hero is effectively attempting to shut Kelly Callahan out of his life – that eventually leads them to an enchanting happily-ever-after.
Here’s our blurb for the anthology:
From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages.
Our headliner is Leigh Michaels, a national bestselling author who’s written over 100 novels. Leigh’s story is a lovely historical romance – Her Wedding Wager – about a heroine whose future is dependent on a bet. Aileen Harkwood has been coordinating this project, and her contribution is The Last Wedding At Drayhome – an enchanting story about a witch and warlock – and a love too long denied. Eve Devon’s captivating love story, The Dress, spans time – through a dress weaved with magic, while USA Today bestselling author Raine English has written Second Chance Bride, a charming story about a bride who just might’ve chosen the wrong groom – as communicated by a telepathic rescue dog!
The other highly talented, USA Today, best-selling, and award-winning authors featuring stories are: Lynda Haviland, Jody A. Kessler, Jane Lark, Bess McBride, L.L. Muir, Jennifer Gilby Roberts, Jan Romes, Heather Thurmeier, Elsa Winckler, and Sarah Wynde.
I can’t tell you how I excited I am to be part of this group!
Having gotten to know you, I’d say you’ve earned your spot! Congratulations, Tamara!!!
Right now, Magical Weddings is available for pre-order at only 99c. It’s already reached bestseller status at Amazon – at #3 for Hot New Releases, and #14 for anthologies!
Magical Weddings is available at:
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magical-weddings-leigh-michaels/1122015285?ean=2940151303484
Google Play: http://bit.ly/1F7a8rY
Besides the fact that I’ve loved old movies my entire life, with the suspense and romance, this one has it all. There’s a twisted plot; the couple fall in love and Coleman can’t remember his past. Coleman’s in an accident and develops amnesia again – this time remembering his former life and returning to it. But eventually – of course! – the couple find love with each other again.
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do?
That’s a no-brainer – gardening. But I’ve been so busy, my yard is looking like a jungle these days!
What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?
I think romance suspense will always be my favorite to write. Even my new adult romances involve a mystery – the stories just seem too simple otherwise. I’ve always loved reading romance and suspense too. But what’s funny is, I have to be in a certain mood to read a different genre. When I was young, I loved light and funny. But these days, it kind of bores me, and I need to read something deeper and more intense.
When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other?
I use both! I write up my outline in a college ruled notebook, and add to it – by detailing my chapters with one or two lines as I move along through the story. It’s the only way I can stay on track, cause I tend to wander off into different directions, as I consider what’s next ( and with whom ) in the next novel of each series. I prefer writing with the computer, of course. But I always carry a small notebook – ideas seem to pop up in my mind at the strangest times.
Compared to when you first started writing, have you noticed any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now?
No doubt about it, I’m a much better writer! I’ve become more articulate with practice. My sentence structure used to twist up quite a bit and I had to do a lot of heavy-duty proofing. But now the right words and new ideas for the next novel are spinning through my mind even when I’m not actually writing.
What draws you to this genre?
I was never as enthused with contemporary romance as I was with historical when I began reading it. I finally figured out that, to me, it just wasn’t as romantic! So, I guess, I decided that I wanted to write contemporary romance because I wanted to make my stories more romantic than the authors I was reading – and more like what I would want to read myself!
Are you a plotter / planner or do you prefer to dive right in?
I do a little of both – I begin with a simple outline and plot. Usually I have the story in my mind already, and begin by writing my epilogue, and setting a scene from the past. Many times conflictions in the past are what greatly affect my characters’ future, as well as challenging their ability to make a commitment and fall in love! Rather than expose too much information about my characters at the beginning, I like to reveal bits and pieces moving forward. And I do like to trick the reader a little – my favorite characters to develop are those who appear to be unlikable on the outside, but actually have redeeming qualities on the inside. Maybe because they were abused or molested . . . usually there’s a reason for their attitude or behavior? I guess because I search for the best in people, I want my reader to be able to find it as well.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
On the surface, my writing appears simplistic – but I write a complicated story! I put a lot of depth into my characters’ backgrounds, and my heroes and heroines, in particular, never have it easy. Through the story, there are challenges aplenty to overcome before they can finally reach their happily-ever-after. I’ll never write a story without an HEA! I want my reader to finish my story feeling positive (and maybe even with a smile on their face.)
Why do you write?
I’m one of those crazy people who just decided to write. I’ve been an avid reader my entire life. But even back when I was a teenager, once I finished reading a book, I remember thinking about how I would change the story to make it better! And, most particularly, the mysteries—I seemed to always be able to pick out the villain.
And I’m a full-time caregiver to a severely autistic and mentally impaired son who has Type I Diabetes. Once he graduated from school and I discovered his vocational programming wasn’t going through because of Illinois’ budget cuts, I was somewhat overwhelmed when I realized my life would probably never be my own again. (There’s a twenty year waiting period for placement into an institution equipped to handle his type of problems.) And now there’s the potential for an even worse problem – our new governor is trying to cut out programs and funding for my son and others like him! At the back of my mind, I’ve been hoping to become a successful writer so that I’d have another source of income to fall back on since I can’t work away from home now.
Plus writing occupies my mind. It keeps me from considering the what if’s. No matter how difficult my circumstances are, there is always someone out there who has it much worse. And here I am, now, beginning to experience moderate success as a writer.
What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why?
Music has always been a big inspiration in my life. I sang in a choir from the time I was nine as a first soprano, was a madrigal in high school( we won a first in our state) and even sang through my freshman year in college. And I have a little secret – my Tales of the Dragonfly stories?- they were ALL created with the inspiration of particular songs (Foreigner, Journey, Maroon 5, Jefferson Starship + MORE!)
What else do you have in the pipeline?
I’m inventing my next Kissed by Fate Story – That Unexpected Kiss – while I’ve been working on my next installment of Romantic Suspense – Tales of the Dragonfly Book III: Emergence. This is the story of Lucy Callahan, the eighteen-year old girl who was kidnapped and assaulted in Book I: In Tandem. The members of the human trafficking ring who were responsible for capturing her have remained at-large. It’s nearly a year later, and Lucy’s still having troubles recovering from her ordeal when she realizes she’s being stalked by the man who raped her. Her inner strength shines through when she assists the FBI and confronts her rapist – while falling in love with the former FBI agent who’s acting as her bodyguard. Lucy lives and works in Gabe Giordano’s home, as his seven-year old daughter’s nanny, while attending the college where Gabe is a professor.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Twitter @Tammysdragonfly https://twitter.com/Tammysdragonfly Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tamara-Ferguson/579374595502809
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/tamara-ferguson/94/a05/946
A big warm welcome to the one and only… Laurie Bell!
“I’m a writer, blogger and all round creative nut.
I muse and ramble and write whatever I feel like… Visit my blog www.solothefirst.wordpress.com, head on over to Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell or visit me on Twitter @LaurienotLori
I love a good prompt, love an interactive audience and love to write serials, novels and anything in between. I’m a huge movie/television buff and I think Joss Whedon is a genius!”
What is your favorite place to eat? Why?
Anywhere that is out and someone has cooked for me! I am an awful cook. It is my aim in life to not have to cook for myself!
I’m still waiting. Therefore my favorite place to eat out is a little restaurant about ten minutes from my house. A little Italian place that I love. They have the most amazing deserts!! Ahem and meals, the main meals are terrific too. Did I mention the deserts?
What is your favorite junk food vice?
Aha, chocolate and coffee. Honestly, I am not picky, any type of chocolate I will eat it. But I do prefer Australian Cadbury (I make the distinction because I have lived overseas and there IS a difference.) And I have a real weakness for Easter eggs. Yeah my fridge is usually full of eggs a good month before Easter and at least a month afterwards!
What does a typical day look like for you? On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with?
Typical day? Work unfortunately but one must pay the bills. At every opportunity I can be found writing in a little notepad or parked in front of the TV catching up on all the shows I missed during the week. It’s all research of course! In fact the best advice I ever read was an interview with Joss Whedon who actually said that. Everything you watch, read, do, experience can be considered research. (I’m paraphrasing of course.) As for a weekend? Well typically either out with the boyfriend or in front of the TV. If I’m not catching up with friends and their babies, I am out at a café by myself. If I am out by myself I can usually be found with a notebook writing away on my next story.
Favorite book or film? Why?
Well, these are two very different questions.
Favorite Movie is tricky – because there are so many, though at the moment it would be The Avengers – Joss Whedon. Seriously, my writing hero, you might have guessed that huh?
Book? Well, I guess my favorite would be Cyclops by Clive Cussler. I think I have read it several times. It just stays with me. Great tension in the action scenes… even more in the waiting for the action scenes. Dirk Pitt Bathtub – is all I’m saying.
What’s on your reading list right now?
Soooo much, I’m not sure I’ll get to it all. Book four of the Secret Watcher series! Haha but also several new books by friends who are authors (or soon will be) some amazing work coming out…. Keep an eye on Helen Valentina, and Linh Nguyen-Ng.
Oooo and I recently read a book called Boy Band by Jacqueline E. Smith… Very fun – I’m looking forward to book two.
What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?
If I can get lost in it. I think that’s probably the most important thing and if I can hear the character’s voices in my head. If I can continue the dialogue in my head after I’ve finished a book then I know it’s a great book!
Who is your favorite author?
I have a few – a lot of friends of course. I would change the question slightly and say my favourite writer is Joss Whedon (I’m sure I’ve mentioned that) Ha ha. I have a whole room of bookshelves at home. And you can find every style of book within. I guess the authors I am most sure of buying when I see a new release would be Clive Cussler and Janet Evanovich.
What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?
Creative, fun, nuts, professional, weird, Introvert, Extrovert. (You would think those last two can’t go together but I think they do. I am a very loud, chatty person in public and can make people laugh but I also love my alone time and can sit at home in front of my tv for days on end too.)
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first? Why?
Scifi/Fantasy. But I can and will spend hours walking around a bookstore. I cover every area from young adult to kids, picture books to new releases, adult to romance. I spend two hours a day on the train. It gives me a lot of reading time. If I’m not writing on the train I am reading. I love books.
Did you get to quit your day job and become an author or do you still have a day job and writing is something you do for fun? If you still have a day job, what is it?
Still working. Am yet to publish though I do have two books at the editor right now. Keep an EYE out for White Fire and Blood Fever by ME.
I work as a PA (personal assistant) to an IT manager in an insurance company. Funnily enough I also volunteer at my local theatre, and often work as assistant to the director… I seem to assist a lot!
What do you do when you are not writing?
Reading, reading and more reading, a lot of TV and movies too… As Joss Whedon says, everything is research! And I’m very lazy, so yeah, TV mostly! haha, oooh and eating out, I’ve mentioned that before right?
Are you a plotter / planner or do you prefer to dive right in?
Ooooh, both actually. I roughly jot out chapters on sticky notes and then going off two or three points just start writing.
What am I working on?
Well I have two books I am working on at the moment. Two different series of Science Fiction/Action. Very Female James Bond meets Star Wars with a very Guardians of the Galaxy feel. One is a YA the other is a little darker and older.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
Mate, He is an android canine and the partner to my heroine. He is just my favourite character! I love his “Voice” and his loyalty.
Why I Like Reviews!
A funny thing happened on the way to the bookstore… Just kidding. I truly love reviews, the good, the bad and the ugly. It doesn’t matter. I bet you‘re asking yourself, “What is wrong with you?” I will tell you this; I did get my feelings hurt in the early days when I got a one or two star review. To me, five stars was like getting an A on a project, so therefore a one star was an F. An F, really? I spent months on that book, it has my blood, sweat and tears in it and you gave me an F? Why??? But I get it now, it’s part of life. Not everyone will like you and not everyone will like your work. So what can you do? Learn from it, my friend! Quit focusing on that low rating and look at your average. Read your reviews and see if they are telling you something. What messages can you use to improve your writing?
A five star rating still feels like a Christmas present or that feeling you get when you first pass through the gates at Disneyland, but all reviews have value. Some have way more than others. Still, at the end of the day, remember it is all a numbers game and listen to the averages not the extremes. What do most people want from you? Make an effort to be that writer but no matter what you do… ALWAYS be true to yourself.
Happy writing and may the muses always hold you in their favor!
Want to see some of the reviews I’ve given and gotten?
Please visit me at: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5808133.Lauren_Lynne
Author Interview of Lisa Montanino
Welcome Lisa and thank you so very much for being here! You know me, fun stuff first! What is your favorite place to eat? Why? I don’t even know where to begin… between my staples on West and East coasts, that’s a tough one. I’ll mention a few from my favourite cities: London – Oxo Tower for the views alone, food’s okay and The Ledbury for extraordinary food. New York/Brooklyn – Il Mulino, Morimoto, The River Café quintessential Brooklyn, and I love Noodle Pudding in Brooklyn Heights, great Italian family run eatery. In Los Angeles – Little Dom’s for chill Italian and Ruen Pair, hands down the best Thai food in LA, despite it being in a strip mall.
What does a typical day look like for you? On a typical weekend, what can we find you doing? Who are you with? Usually starts with a home cooked breakfast and gobs of coffee. Then migrate to bike riding (depending on weather) to the beach and chilling out with my boyfriend/family… outdoors is a must. Having friends over for dinner or meeting them out. If inclement weather, usually home entertaining… playing cards or catching a movie or friends music show. The occasional sports game for my nephews. At some point in between I’m writing and catching up on my favorite shows like House Of Cards, Luther, etc. since I rarely have time during the week working. I’m not the typical chick who likes to shop at the mall all day… can’t stomach it! Though I do love to food shop.
Besides writing and reading, what is your most favorite thing to do? Pretty much any activity outdoors, especially cycling to the beach. Spending quality time with my loved ones laughing and cooking.
Who are your favorite authors? John Irving, Chuck Klosterman, Nick Hornby, Hunter S. Thompson, Agatha Christie… and so many others I can’t think of at the moment.
What 7 words would you use to describe yourself?
(Extremely) congenial (pride myself on getting along with everybody)
Reliable/stable/independent (for some reason I count this as one…)
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head to first? Why? Usually the psychology section… I guess because I’m fascinated with the human psyche and what makes us tick.
I also love it when my guest authors share about their approach to the writing craft. What are your tips and tricks for other independent authors to get the word out about their books? Promote yourself on Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media platform out there because they usually have other marketing options that are affordable and effective. Also, join a writers group if you’re not in one already… wonderful outlet for new readers and fellow creative folks that you can spread the word to. Promoting fellow authors on your social platforms.
What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write? I love chick and male fiction literature e.g. Chuck Klosterman – Killing Yourself to Live kind of books… humour, heartbreak, and hysterics all wrapped together. And as I mentioned before, I’m drawn to psychology and self-help books… love learning about that topic.
What is the most frustrating thing you have had to deal with as a writer? Most exciting? Editing by far takes the cake; it’s gruelling and takes way too long. Most exciting would be the how the audience reviews the finished product, how my readers like and interpret my work. I don’t find anything exciting per say about writing but the freedom is glorious.
When you sit down to write, do you do it the old-fashioned way with pen and paper or do you use a computer? Do you prefer one way or the other? I use both actually. Usually it’s on my laptop but when I’m out and about and get an idea I write it down in my journal. Aside from writing professionally, I feel everyone should keep a journal of their thoughts; it promotes wellness among many other positive things.
Compared to when you first started writing, have you noticed any big changes in your writing style or how you write compared from then to now? It’s just easier as the years go by… flows out more naturally. Nothing really has changed on my style of writing… self-deprecating narrative at your service!
For our writer friends: What advice do you have for authors looking to find and connect with a wider base of fans? What has worked well for me are my writing groups in NY and London… as well as my social networks. Word of mouth from family and friends, and traveling… I sold a few books just by other passengers noticing me writing on my laptop and learning I’m an author. And of course, promote fellow authors and work on your online outlets… I love doing it and it’s been very helpful ten-fold.
What advice would you give to a younger you? How has reading influenced you? Li Li, you should have started yesterday! Why did you put off writing for a while when you could have been on your third book by now. Reading has influenced me in being comfortable with what I like and don’t like. There was a time when you would hear about the “must read” from best sellers lists… interestingly some failed to deliver, especially the writer’s prose. Now because I’m immersed in the independent writer’s world, there are so many amazing books to choose from off the beaten path, like yours for example.
Aw, thanks! Flattery will get you everywhere. Now tell us; are you a plotter / planner or do you prefer to dive right in? Usually a planner but spontaneity is also a dear friend, especially in the last few years.
Do you have a strategy for finding reviewers? If only half the readers of my book put their reviews on Amazon.com for me! I receive thoughtful emails with their feedback but having them cut and paste that into a review is like pulling teeth… I don’t know why? The ones that have been kind enough to review me, I’m in debt to. I recently joined a review swap with other writers where we read each other’s work and review… that definitely helps and I recommend it. Lauren, do you have any advice on how to get more reviews? I could use all the help I can get.
Why yes, I have a bit of advice. I’ll share it at the end. For now, how do you think you’ve evolved creatively? For me, life has been the greatest teacher and each day as I get older… each experience shapes me in one way or another which in turn helps me expand creatively with ideas and such.
Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason? John F. Coffey and Patricia Coffey, a second set of parents to me, who unfortunately are no longer with us. They shaped my life so much in the 20 years I had the fortune of knowing them. John was a Columbia County judge and partner of a law firm and when I tell you he treated a doorman the same as any judge he ever dealt with, that left a very positive impression on me. I abhor arrogance and a nasty demeanor! I don’t care how smart or rich you are, there is no excuse to treat anyone less than any way you would like to be treated. People with noses in the air not only aren’t respected, they’re pathetically pitiful. John and Pat felt the same and worked hard for their education and job status… and like my parents, their work ethic was unmatched. I pride myself following in their footsteps, especially in being a sincerely kind humanitarian like they were. They also inspired my charitable and philanthropic endeavors as well.
What do you listen to when you write? Do you find one type of music over another that inspires you to write? Why? Pandora is amazing… and Europe needs to have it! Some of my favorite stations are Genesis, David Bowie, Massive Attack, Pharell, The Beatles, Bebel Gilberto, Madonna, 2 Cellos, Nirvana, The Police, The Pretenders, My Morning Jacket, Duran Duran, Spoon, The Who, Fiona Apple, and countless others… though by the list I just gave, classic rock wins! I also play albums from my collections too.
Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it? My novel is a must read for anyone who wants to laugh, think, and be moved by a compelling story about a woman who is conflicted and needs to find her way back to stable ground. Life and the people in my world were the inspiring forces.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why? Shane Salinger, because he’s the most audaciously confident soul that lives life on his terms no matter what, completely true to his convictions. And he’s really… really funny!
What else do you have in the pipeline? Writing my second and third novels… one is the sequel to Feedback, my current novel for sale and a fictitious memoir of little vignettes from a fun disgruntled at times character. And promoting authors like yourself on my blog. I want to take this time in thanking you again for being lovely and interviewing me. It means so much to share my thoughts with you and our amazing fans – another source of inspiration! I can’t wait to read your next one.
Thanks Lisa! You made my day!!!
Buy my book here: http://www.amazon.com/Feedback-Lisa-Montanino/dp/0615972500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426207729&sr=8-1&keywords=lisa+montanino
Follow my blog here: http://lisamontanino.wordpress.com
Follow me on twitter here: https://twitter.com/LDMontanino
Friend me on facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/lilmountain
1. Ask. AND I mean everyone. Be kind, and do say please and thank you.
2. The more you have the more you get so don’t give up. This is an oddity, but I think people are less afraid to leave a review when they see that you have some.
3. Encourage people to leave them everywhere that they are a member.
4. Become a member of Goodreads if you aren’t already. Join some groups and offer your book for their read for review programs. I did it for my first two books and I can really see the difference in the quantity of reviews.
5. Don’t take it all too seriously. Some people will like you and some won’t. It’s okay. Focus on your average and take into consideration what folks say. What did they love, what did they not love. Just remember to stay true to you. If you try to make everyone happy you will make no one happy.
6. Become a reviewer yourself. Be careful here. In the early days, I traded reviews. I ended up being bombarded and did not have time for my writing but we all have to start somewhere. Some books I read were truly amazing; others not so much. If I felt that anyone deserved less than three stars then I emailed them privately with my thoughts and declined leaving a public review. I want to be honest when I review and it pains me to hurt people’s feelings. Go with your gut on this one.
7. Use that social media. Recently I posted on both Twitter and Facebook that I offer free PDFs for anyone interested in trading for a review. That brought in a few new folks. All they had to give me was their email. I do not email them promo stuff after I send their PDF. If I get a decent review and they request the next book, they may have it.
8. Those are the things I’ve done that have worked pretty well. I do not consider myself an expert. I have published four books and I see some money roll in every month. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve seen regarding marketing is worry less about that part and write more books. The more books you have the more credible you look and the more you sell. Guess what? More books also means more reviews.
NOW, GO GET ‘EM and best of LUCK!!!