Lauren has graciously volunteered to give away one copy - an eBook or audiobook of her first book, The Place of Voices. If you'd like to be entered, please respond to this post with your email. That's it! The contest will run for one week and will end on April 13!
Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?
Like most writers, I've always loved writing. I love any sort of creative expression. My mother tells me I would dictate poems before I knew how to write and although I have no memory of that, the thought of it amuses me. I initially studied fine arts in school, had a 30-year career in graphic design (where I would often write ad and brochure copy in addition to the design work), but would play around with creative writing in my free time for fun. I've always loved to paint, and when I write I'm pretty much just painting images in the reader's mind with words. So in some way or another, the creative aspects of writing have always been a part of me -- I just started taking it more seriously about six years ago.
How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
I've never been much of a scheduler. I write whenever I'm inspired. Once I get to the editing stage, I'm more disciplined about it. I'm a morning person and I'll get up early and focus on writing when there are few distractions (as in, the rest of the household is asleep). I mull ideas and scribble note throughout the day, but I'm more of an early morning or late night writer. I guess I find the daylight hours too distracting.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
Anywhere and everywhere and with anything available when the creative urge strikes. Inspiration can often hit me at inconvenient times, and I've been known to scribble notes on whatever is handy. I do use a laptop and Scrivener for the bulk of my writing efforts, but there is something free-flowing about putting pen to paper that can't be duplicated. I love writing outdoors whenever possible. I also received the best Mother's Day gift ever one year in the form of a writing cabin. It's my own private hobbit hole in the woods and a luxury I truly appreciate.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
I dearly love writing the first draft - the uninhibited creative flow of ideas. At that point, anything is possible and I find that exciting. My least favorite part would be editing (but I'm not aware of a single writer that does enjoy that process … it's grueling).
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How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
I initially began writing when I became frustrated over finding appropriate books for my then-middle school aged son to read. I'd always enjoyed writing and decided to play around with creating books that would edify … both entertain and educate. My readers will absorb a lot of history through my series -- and hopefully experience unique and mysterious locations as if they were there. I spend months researching before I begin writing. Once I start dreaming about the region the book takes place in and the details of the scene come to life in my mind, I know I'm ready to start writing. My first book, The Place of Voices (set in the ancient Mayan city now known as Tikal), took about a year to complete and several months of critique groups. My second book, The Veil of Smoke (set in ancient Pompeii), took several months of intense research and only a few months to complete. The third book, The Tower of Refuge, covers a lot of territory … the Via Egnatia in ancient Macedonia, Greece and Turkey and has taken about a year to complete. I also have a short story prequel to the series, A Spark in the Wind.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
The graphic designer in me enjoys making memes for my books. I'll post them on Facebook and Twitter to create awareness for sales, new releases, etc. I advertise with various book-promotion sites (Ereader News Today is a fav) and hope to use BookBub when the third book in my series comes out. I'm a member of a few writing groups and we cross-promote and do group promotions with giveaways (Kindles and our books to the winner). I send a newsletter to reader subscribers to keep them updated on sales and new releases. I also do giveaways on goodreads and interact with fantasy readers as much as possible.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
I am in the final draft of book three of the TimeDrifter Series. It will go to my editor this summer and release near the end of 2016.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I always have way more ideas spinning in my head than I'll ever have time for. I'm in the process of finishing the third book in a series (fourth if you count the short story "prequel"). The story of my two main characters will pretty much be complete, but there is so much more I could do with the series if I choose to. There are a few side characters that are really begging to have books of their own. I may go that route, but also have a few other ideas I'm mulling that I may dive into first. I may have to poll my readers to decide which to focus on next. For now, I need to edit and release book three in the series. The next time I'm able to sit down and begin a new draft, we'll see where the muse leads me. Could be anywhere!
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What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
I'm not sure why someone who didn't believe they had talent would want to publish a book, but anyone can if they put their mind to it. If you're truly passionate about writing, skills can be developed along the way. Finish a manuscript (that in itself is quite a confidence-boosting accomplishment) and put it through a critique group. Based on the feedback you receive, you'll know what to do next. If you need additional training, there are many ways to get it: college courses, writer's workshops and conferences. With enough persistence and proper editing and proofreading, it can be done. Just don't be tempted to rush the process. Take the time to create a quality book you'll be proud to put your name on. Through critique groups you'll also find out where your greatest skills lie and find encouragement in the process.
A question for me from Lauren:
In the digital age, with thousands of books being produced daily, is it possible to stand out in any significant way?
Good question. I think so, but I believe really 'standing out' has more to do with the readers who love reading your books already, in favor of those seeing them for the first time. I read somewhere that it takes at least seven views of your book at different times, to get the title inside a potential reader's head. They usually won't buy it until they've seen the cover plenty of times. That means an author has to get it out there where people will see it; he/she has to market like crazy.
Book Trailer: http://laurenlynch.com/writing/trailers.html
The Place of Voices: www.amazon.com/dp/B00LCN212O
The Veil of Smoke: www.amazon.com/dp/B00ROB8Y88