Today I have the great pleasure of sitting down with L. K. Below, whose short story His Familiar Touch I recently reviewed in the Paramourtal anthology. Let's get down to business!
Clara: Why do you choose to write about witches?
Lindsay: Haven't I answered that question for you enough? LOL. ("Why Witches" guest post can be found here). Witches thrill me because of the possibilities. There are so many different things they can do (see the future, make magical potions, etc.). So that's why I write about them. I broke them into specialties for me to be able to make the most out of them. It's fun!
Clara: How long did it take to do the research for His Familiar Touch?
Lindsay: Not long. Mostly because witches is such a universal theme. I had only to decide what specialty the witch had, and I was good to go. What took longer was researching cougars -- because I wanted Rikkita's werecougar behavior to be similar to that of actual cougars.
Clara: What is the best (and worst) part of the writing process?
Lindsay: The best? Writing itself. The compliments I get from friends, readers, etc. The worst? I don't think I've really decided on that part yet. It might be promotion (because that takes away from my writing time). It might be editing (although I enjoy editing to the direction of an actual editor and not for myself). But it's just a very rewarding experience, for me at least.
Clara: How long does it typically take you to finish a story?
Lindsay: Actually, I write extremely quickly. When I set my mind to it (like for National Novel Writing Month), I can and do write a 50,000-word novel in a month (sometimes even in a week). But that's first draft only (and even then, only if I'm not distracted by something shiny...like the internet). It takes a bit longer to edit and polish it up.
Clara: Do you have any favorites out of the characters you've written?
Lindsay: Yes. But I don't suppose you want to hear about my young adult works. I suppose for romance, my favorite isn't a character so much as a pair together. I love Rob and Hannah. They're great. You see them as side characters in The Princess and the Frog (coming soon) and then they've got their own story coming up, too!
Clara: Which writers inspired/influenced your work?
Lindsay: Putting me on the spot, now are you? I don't know (honest answer). There are certain authors that inspire me for certain works. For instance, I'm trying (key word=trying) to write a humorous fantasy in the style of Terry Pratchett. Or I'd love to try a historical in a similar style to Julia Quinn. But for my completed pieces, I have no idea. I can tell you authors that I love (Christine Warren, Lori Foster, Julia Quinn, Sally MacKenzie, Kresley Cole, Lynsay Sands) but I can't tell you whether or not they've influenced my published works. It's unconscious.
Clara: Was there ever a point in your career where you said, "Yeah, I can do this!"?
Lindsay: When you're in writing, you have to say that to yourself everyday. Granted, some days it's easier -- you get an acceptance that day, or take a peek at a galley or cover art. But being a writer trying to break into the publishing industry, you have to say that to yourself at least once a day. And you have to convince yourself that you mean it, too.
Clara: Was there ever a point in your career where you almost gave up writing?
Lindsay: There have been dips, lows in my mood. After all, it's hard to tell myself that I'm the best after I get a rejection on the same manuscript for the umpteenth time. But it's all about perseverance. That is the key to being published and continuing to be published.
Clara: How do you come up with your stories?
Lindsay: Many ways. I get a lot of my ideas from dreams or just as I drift off to sleep. I also get a lot of ideas in the shower. This annoys me, because there's never any paper in the shower, and if there was, it would be wet. I have to keep repeating the idea to myself over and over as I hop out, hunt down some paper, and scribble it down. But I already have more ideas than I'll ever write. I place them in a binder, which I call the Big Book Of Story Ideas. Actually, now I have two binders. Not including the scribbles in a word document I have. Sadly, I'll never write them all. But I try to flow with the ones that catch me up.
Clara: What do you do to overcome writer's block?
Lindsay: I set that book aside for a bit. I have so many works going on all at once, I just open another one, read through what I've got (fix it if it needs fixing) and continue on from there. Eventually, I'll get back to that first one. And when I do, I'll no longer be stuck.
Another method that helps me is to vary the length of the pieces I'm writing. If I've just finished a novel, I switch to a short story or novella. And vice versa if I've written a lot of short things lately. Or I switch genres. Nothing better to clear the mind than to write something completely different, like young adult, fantasy, or even poetry.
Clara: You cross genres. From paranormal, to contemporary, historical—even straight fantasy and young adult! Has anyone ever told you to focus on one, and create a "brand"? Or do you think your fans are broader because of it?
Lindsay: Almost everyone I meet seems to think I should have a brand. But I'm one stubborn pumpkin. I could never focus on only one. I write the story idea that grips me, and anyone who is interested in that story idea will read it. Those who aren't, won't. I'm not that worried about it. After all, I'm versatile in my reading and writing, and I'm sure there are others out there like me. I don't write all these genres to please everyone, after all. I write them to please myself. That's what writing is about.
Clara: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Lindsay: Don't give up. It's simple enough advice, but there are still times when I think, "What the heck am I doing?" But I keep going, and eventually my confidence in my work returns. If you want to make it in the publishing industry, you have to never (ever) give up.
Visit Lindsay (L. K. Below) on her blog, lbelow.blogspot.com, where you'll find the itinerary for her His Familiar Touch Book Tour. Comment there -- or here -- by 11:59PM EST on November 15th to be entered to win a signed copy of the Paramourtal anthology!