This is horribly late, but I have a good excuse: I've been in the middle of a time-consuming international move. Now that it's (more or less) behind me, I can start catching up on all the things I've been neglecting -- like this blog, and my most recent release.
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the supremely-talented Beth Kery
regarding Diva In Denial, and I thought I'd share that interview here. It's more in-depth and more revealing than my usual interviews, so you've been warned. :-)Congratulations, Lacey, on your Ellora's Cave release, DIVA IN DENIAL. And now, (drum roll please) it's time for your interview!
1. Any particular inspiration for this story about a 'suburban relationship goddess,' an expert on relationships who doesn't want anything to do personally with one, and a solitary, hunky hero who has a penchant for not wearing any clothes around the heroine's cabin? Any real life individual's appearance and/or personality inspirations for Ava and Devlin?
I wish I had a fun inspiration story to share with you, but the truth is, the story developed rather dynamically all on its own. I started with a title (DIVA -- the "in denial" part came later) and a theme (Older Woman / Younger Man). And then I started to brainstorm. I knew early on that Ava wrote advice columns. Think "Dear Abby" with a sexy twist. And I knew that she had no first-hand experience with any of the issues on which she was giving advice. So I figured that would make for an interesting conflict. Think... Sex and the City. What if Carrie had no dating or sexual experiences? What if she'd been a housewife for 20 years? How would she write her Sex and the City column?
And just as a fun aside, I modeled Ava after Valerie Bertinelli, while gorgeous Devlin is none other than Jake Gyllenhaal.2. I'm taking a guess that this yummy hero has a er...animalistic nature. *grin* What do you like about doing were-stories?
Well, those of you who've read my work know I like my men to be rough, strong, Alpha-types. Nothing says Alpha like a... umm... "real" Alpha. :-) And this is just my preference, but I think of all shifters as Alphas, whether or not they lead their pack. In my were stories, any of the men could be The Alpha, and that's half the fun in writing shifter books. There's a lot of testosterone between the pages. *g* 3. You've been writing now for many years. When you look back on your career as an author, what's the one piece of advice you would give a younger Lacey? (Make sure you answer as though it really was a younger you, not another writer.)
Honestly? I would tell a younger Lacey not to publish her first 5 books. Seriously. I'd want her to bury them in a drawer somewhere, to learn from them, and to get to the point where she'd be proud to hold up her debut novel instead of cringing when someone said she read it.
I think there's a lot of value in learning the craft. My first published pieces shouldn't have been published. Oh, I'm extremely grateful to my publishers, but I wish they'd said, "Thanks -- this shows promise. Keep working at it and come back in a year or two." 4. What part of the writing craft do you feel you have a 'handle' on, meaning, what is one of your best strengths? What is an area you feel you need work on?
I'm excellent at pouring emotion onto the page. That comes easiest for me. If my characters are angry, sad, desperate, lonely, hurt, horny... I can show it. And (hopefully) I can make the reader feel it, too.
I need work on dialogue. It's by far the toughest element of story-telling for me. Not the dynamics of dialogue or the stuff I can learn from books, though. I'm pretty confident that I can write dialogue that sounds true to life. What I have a lot of trouble with is "hearing" the voices of my characters. When I stall while I'm writing, it's almost always with a quotation mark open. I spend more time thinking about what a character would say next, or how he/she would reply to something, than I do pondering anything else. I wish I could just hear it in my head and write it on the page, but it almost never happens that way. I have to write, edit, and then rewrite my lines of dialogue again and again. It drives me nuts. 5. Do you ever see yourself writing something other than erotic romance? If so, what?
Absolutely. Epic fantasy. It's my first literary love. I'd like nothing more than to dedicate a few years to writing a thousand-page epic fantasy tome. Unfortunately, the market for fantasy being what it is, chances are I could spend the rest of my life writing fantasy manuscript after fantasy manuscript and never have it see the light of day. So I compromise. I combine my top literary loves (fantasy and romance), toss in tons of steamy sex, and get the best of all worlds. :-) 6. What was one of the 'low points' of your writing career? One of the pinnacles?
An editor recently told me I submitted something that was just begging to be rejected. That was, by far, the lowest point in my writing career. I began to doubt everything about writing: whether I'm any good at it, whether I should be wasting my time, etc. It sent me into a tailspin of confusion and a deep funk. It took me months to break out of it. The worst part? She was right. I had, in fact, submitted something that wasn't my best work. I was stressed, on a deadline, dealing with all kinds of personal issues... and somehow I was under the impression that anything I send in would be well received. Well, wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm now more careful about what I submit. If I know a piece hasn't had enough time to sit, or hasn't been through my critique partners and proofers, it doesn't go in to my editor -- even if that means I have to get the deadline pushed back because of real life interferences. It wasn't an easy lesson to learn, but it's been a valuable one.
The pinnacle? Winning the EPPIE award for Best Erotic Paranormal Romance. The beautiful glass award sits on my writing desk as a wonderful reminder that someone saw value in my work. It's a powerful motivator when the words won't come or when a review is less than stellar. 7. There are many writers on our Triple Exposure group, many of which have just become triumphant in their publishing dreams. (YEAH!!) What advice would you give new and established authors in regard to promotion of their books? What works and what doesn't?
First of all, let me echo your "YEAH!!" Congrats, guys! You all ROCK!
Promotion is tough -- no matter if it's your first book, or your fifty-first. Here's some of what's worked for me:
- Cultivate a newsletter list. Yes, some folks are only there for contest prizes, but most are there because they're genuinely interested in your work. That list of names is the most direct way to reach fans when you have a new release. My newsletter has fallen by the wayside since I moved to Austin, but I'm looking forward to sending it out again. More than anything else, having that newsletter list has helped my sales tremendously.
- Chat on Yahoo groups... to a point. In my opinion, there's nothing more annoying than an author who's out there ALL THE TIME. You know the authors I mean: the ones who send out 40 posts a day on every loop they're on, whether or not they have anything to say. It looks like a feeble effort to get their signature lines seen by as many people as possible, and it's a cheap trick readers will see right through. Instead, I think it's a lot more valuable to become a frequent poster in a few groups, and save the rest for when you actually have something interesting to say.
- Invest in a TRS (The Romance Studio) membership. It's $2.50 a month, and it provides wonderful opportunities for exposure. Oh, and join in the TRS Book-A-Day giveaway as frequently as you can. For the cost of an ebook, you'll grow your newsletter list much faster than you would otherwise.
- Create bookmarks, business cards or postcards, and insert them in everything you send out -- from the electricity bill to the magazine subscription form. A human being opens those envelopes. Catch their attention -- you never know when you'll find a new reader. Oh, and always carry bookmarks with you. If the conversation turns to books, which it often does, don't miss an opportunity to introduce a reader to your work.
There are a ton of promotional tips out there, but these are the ones that have worked best for me.
Again, my thanks to Beth Kery
for the wonderful interview.
Labels: Beth Kery, Diva In Denial, Ellora's Cave, erotica, interview, new release, paranormal, werewolf