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Author Interviews

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Lucy Smoke

If you could escape into one of the worlds you’ve created in your books, what character would you become and why?

It really depends. Haha. Unfortunately, the majority of my characters have some sort of internal damage and I don’t know if I’d want that. But I’d love their strength and fortitude. I think, though, I’d personally like to go in as just myself and see how I would adapt to a new world–contemporary or fantasy.

What is your work schedule like when you are writing?

I’m a night owl, so my work schedule generally starts late afternoon and moves into the early morning. I usually do my research, outlining, and admin duties in the afternoons, and anywhere between 7 pm-1 am I’ll find myself writing. I’m addicted to writing, so I generally write every day if I can help it.

Do you have a favorite character that you have written? If so, who? And what makes them so special?

I love all of my characters, but with that said, I do love some more than others. In my fantasy works, Barbie is my favorite (from the Barbie: The Vampire Hunter series). In my contemporary works, Avalon is my favorite (from Sick Boys). These two have a lot in common. They’re both brash and aggressive. They don’t back down from challenges, yet at the same time, they have flaws and wounds from their childhoods. They’re special to me because of those flaws of theirs. 

Characters who are perfect and always good don’t interest me because I can’t see them being real people, but these two, Barbie and Avalon, aren’t always likable, but just because they aren’t likable doesn’t mean they aren’t loveable. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Pretty much anything and everything. I draw inspiration from real life, from my own past and childhood, as well as stories I hear on the internet, on the radio, from friends and colleagues. I want to make my characters as human as possible with their wants and desires and dreams. They may be fictional to readers, but in my mind, there’s so much beneath the surface of their characterization and bringing them to life on the page. 

If you could ask one successful author three questions about their writing, writing process, or books, what would they be?

Well, first, I feel like “success” is in the eye of the beholder so that makes it hard for me to determine who I would ask and what I would ask because those questions would change depending on the author in question and their expertise. Generally, though, I might ask about the mental fortitude it takes to be an author and what they do to cope or harness the varying levels of their craft and how they are perceived by readers. 

I can only be who I am and they can only be who they are, but other authors will understand that working in the publishing industry isn’t easy. If it was, everyone would be a “successful” author. We do it because we love it and I enjoy hearing people just talk about what makes them happy. So I’d ask what about this industry they love and why they keep writing. 

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

Currently, I’m working on the next book in the Sick Boys series. It’s become my most popular series to date under both my fantasy pen name (Lucinda Dark) and my contemporary pen name (Lucy Smoke). The original trilogy has been completed, but I have follow-up stories in standalone format for the side characters that everyone fell in love with. The expected release date is October 2021 (so next month!). 

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Emily Sullivan

What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?

In general, I think any time I’ve really good at something, I don’t exactly keep it a secret, but I suppose not many people know I’m very good at Trivial Pursuit. My husband refuses to play with me!

If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

Oh boy, this is a tough one. Well, I think Persuasion is a perfect second chance romance, so let’s go with that!

Is there a character you’ve written that feels closest to your own personality?

I’m sure there is a little bit of me in each of my main characters. I share Lottie’s interest in travel, for example. But part of what I love about writing is creating people different from myself.

Which do you create first, your plot or your characters? 

In the case of A Rogue to Remember the characters definitely came first. I then combined a couple of ideas I had been mulling over to form the plot.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Don’t give up! Some day you will have a BOOK in Barnes & Noble. A ROMANCE book.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date?

I am drafting book three in my League of Scoundrels series while waiting for copy edits on the second book, The Rebel and The Rake, which comes out on December 28th!

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Lauren Billings

An Interview with Lauren Billings

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for a book?

Probably New York sex clubs or how often people die in the Utah slot canyons.

Which of your characters do you relate to the most and why (any book)?

Bennett & Chloe, because of their ambition. Harlow for her fierce love for her friends.

If you had to write yourself as a villain, what kind of villain would you be? What would you be named?

I would be the villain in a mediocre man’s story about how a highly qualified, emotionally intelligent woman got the job he half-assed his way to the interview for, haha.

What is the first book that made you cry?

Oh, good question. For sure Where the Red Fern Grows, and I’m so glad they don’t include that in our district’s curriculum because I wouldn’t be emotionally prepared to help my kids work their way through that heartbreak. As an adult, I cried the hardest after finishing Forbidden, by Tabitha Suzuma.

What is your favorite part, and your least favorite part, of the publishing journey?

Hands down, my favorite part is working with my best friend every day, and getting to collaborate with a team of people who are so good at their jobs it’s awe-inspiring. I really am so lucky to be able to do this job, with these people. And least favorite part would be the hurry-up-and-wait aspect to the industry. There is a lot of that built into the publishing process.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date?

The Soulmate Equation is out on May 18th, and it’s our first hardcover release. We are so proud of this book! It’s the story of single-mom Jess, who is skeptical about a new dating service that matches people based on their DNA, but does it on a whim and finds that she matches with the company’s founder, in their highest level of compatibility ever. It has mild enemies-to-lovers, fake dating, a cast of characters I adore! And we also just finished drafting our 2022 novel, which is Romancing the Stone-meets-The Hangover and I honestly don’t know if we’ve ever had so much FUN writing a book before. Writing these two books has been the best writing experience of my life.

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Christina Hobbs

An Interview with Author Christina Hobbs

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for a book?

I LOOOOVE doing research for books. It’s like I need to feel competent in whatever the character knows (within reason) to write about their daily thoughts. After Dirty Rowdy Thing I know a lot about the Canadian fishing industry, and with Roomies I learned a ton about the US immigration process.

What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Probably a good computer? But also we have an outside PR rep (Kristin Dwyer @ Leo PR) and she is worth her weight in gold.

If a film were made of The Honey Don’t List, who would you cast in the leading roles?

We are the absolute worst at this. I don’t have an idea for Carrie or James, but Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard would be hilarious as Melly and Rusty. 

If you could spend time with a character from one of your books who would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Fizzy is the best friend in The Soulmate Equation and she’s a total scene-stealer. She’s also a romance novelist and I think we’d be instant besties. 

If you could ask one other successful author three questions about their writing, writing process, or books, what would they be?

  • What is the single best piece of promo they’ve done? It’s hard to know where to reach readers and what moves the dial.
  • I assume they’ve had a long career, so the best piece of advice for that longevity.
  • The best advice they were ever given.

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

We have The Soulmate Equation out on May 18th. We just finished a first draft of a Romancing the Stone meets The Hangover type of book for 2022, and are currently brainstorming our next one! 

Author Interviews Featured Authors

An Interview with Katie MacAlister

Author Katie MacAlister

What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for a book?

It’s nothing I actually researched for a book, but it’s something that I did and later used in a young adult book. When I was a young thing going to the University of Washington, I worked for the Burke Museum on campus (kind of a natural history/local history museum) in the bird department. My job was to clean the bird skeletons that the zoology department brought in, and once the bones were picked clean by the dermestid beetles (that ate the flesh), I’d clean the carcass, dry them, and then label each bone with a number. It was a fascinating job, although I really did not like the mammal people with all their dead mammals. Birds I could handle…not so much with the mammals. Especially the day one of the giraffes died of natural causes at the local zoo, and they donated her body to the department…

How do you create chemistry between characters in your books?

I try to pair up people who have an instant dual attraction/aggravation because I believe a bit of irritation adds spice to an otherwise too happy relationship. So I just make sure there are things that will make the characters mesh, and other things that will cause a bit of chaos.

Which do you create first, your plot or your characters? 

Usually, I have a plot idea, or at least a setting and basic story idea, and then work out what sort of characters would be in the most conflict in that situation. There are a few times when I’m writing in series about existing secondary characters, where I build a setting around them that will do the same thing–drive them bonkers. 

Out of the protagonists you’ve written about so far, which one do you feel you relate to the most?

That’s asking a lot from someone who has written more than sixty books! There are elements of me in most of the heroines, everything from my clumsiness, to facial blindness, plus-size nature, and fine appreciation of a sexy vampire. So really, I relate to all of them in one way or another.

What are some trends you’re seeing in romance that you’re excited about? 

I’m seeing more media embrace romances, things like mobile games and mainstream streaming platforms, which opens the romance genre up to whole new audiences who don’t realize they are consuming the happily ever after of a romance. Since I love paranormals, I’m delighted to see that they continue to be strong despite most traditional publishers pooh-poohing them. And finally, I love that more people are mixing genres, and breaking out of the normal “rules” to genres. That’s not to say I’m going to be writing a secret baby alien vampire dinosaur book, but hey, at least now if I wanted to, I know I could probably find an audience for it. 

What’s next for you? Are you working on a new project? If so, can you give us a teaser and/or an expected release date? 

Last year during the quarantine, I decided to write a serialized book for my dragon series, with chapters released each month for my newsletter readers. This was an odd interim book, one that fell between two existing books (the end of one series and start of another), and which readers had been wanting for years.

At the end of the year, I gathered up all the material, more than doubled it with content that evidently I’d left out, and tossed it over to my (now former) Penguin editor. This book–Dragonblight–should be out April 20.

Right now I’m working on another Dark Ones book…except it isn’t, really. It’s kind of a vampire book. Mostly. Somewhat. 🙂

I’m hoping to have it done in the next month or so, with a release this summer.