Thursday, October 24, 2013

Getting to know Ann Lawrence

Chatting with author Ann Lawrence

To get us started can you tell us a little about what you are working on or have coming out?
First, thank you for this opportunity to share with your readers.  Right now, I have a new historical romance, LORD OF SWORDS, on the shelves right now.  It's on sale for the month of October.  It’s doing great  and I’m incredibly excited about it.  I love the medieval period.

I’ll also have my first contemporary (a holiday novella) coming on December 1, 2013 that will introduce a series I’m doing about a small seaside town in Connecticut called Savage Bay...Where all the men need taming and the women are up to the task!

 If someone hasn't read any of your work, what book would you recommend that they start with and why?
Oh boy...not an easy answer as I write both historical and paranormal (and heading into contemporary in December) and two very different kinds of paranormals.  So, for fans of one or the other...
Historical - LORD OF THE KEEP
Fantasy Paranormal - VIRTUAL HEAVEN
Scary Paranormal - DO YOU BELIEVE?

When you begin your stories, do you go with the flow, or go with an outline?
When I first started writing, I just wrote.  Once I was published and suffered through painful editorial revisions, I modified my writing style.  I had to as I had deadlines to face.

Now, I go with the flow when I first get a book idea...I write out of order...I do the really “big” scenes first such as a first kiss, a love scene, what I think will be the big climax, or the first time the characters have sex.  By then, I feel I really know my characters and then I make myself suffer through the plotting process.  After that I’m pretty linear.  I may even throw out the scenes I first wrote, but they’re never wasted as they helped me know my characters.  I never do character interviews etc.  I DO have a “story summary” that I fill out for my critique partners and that I'm happy to share with any of your readers if they email me for a copy at annlawrence@pobox.com.  Put "Story Summary" in the subject line so I can find the request in all the spam.

Is music a factor for you while you are writing? Do certain songs put you in the right frame of mind to write certain stories?
It doesn’t matter what’s playing or going on when I’m writing...I’m so completely in the “zone” everything is tuned out and I’m completely oblivious to it.  You see I may physically be writing in the living room while my husband watches a sporting event, but I’m really in 1143 in a castle...or at a Connecticut seaside village at a New Year’s Eve party :)  My husband said I spent so much time in 1143 during 2013 that I owe him a lot of dinners out in 2014!
What do you feel is the most important thing that a first-time author should know? 
It’s really important to have readers you trust to look at your work.  I have a critique group and I really value their opinions.  We meet once a month.  I’ve stubbornly stuck with something my partners say should go or get modified and then that’s the first thing my editor will strike...so I’ve learned my lesson.  LISTEN!  As Stephen King said...”Kill all your darlings.”

That said, it is your book, but when a few of your critique partners pick up the same stuff, listen to them!  And if you are self-publishing, it’s even more important because what you lose by not going with a traditional style publisher is that “editorial eye.”  And believe me it’s hard to be rational about your own writing.

I also think it is HUGELY important to set a piece aside and leave it alone for a few weeks or more and move on to the next project.

When you look at the story again, you’ll see stuff that you were blind to before.  You’ll be able to cut and revise stuff with the emotion out of the equation.  I did a blog workshop on the hated topic of Revision that’s up on my blog that first time writers might find helpful.  http://annlawrenceblogs.blogspot.com

 Has there been any character that started off as supporting character, but then developed into a more prominent character?
All my sequel characters started out that way!  I can sometimes “feel” them starting to beg for more page space, and I have to start tying them down!  That’s when I give them their own book.

Vad in VIRTUAL DESIRE just insisted on his own book.  Durand’s son (LORD OF THE MIST) needed his as well if for no other reason than I wanted readers to know what Durand was up to!  I really, really wanted to do Ralen’s story from VIRTUAL WARRIOR, but I became ill and that was that.  You can read my story on my website bio and if anyone needs a charity to support I highly recommend the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society.  I’d still love to do at least a short story for Ralen in the future.  I really liked him and got tons of email from readers asking for his story as well.

When and where do you like to write? Are there any favourite places you like to go?
I can’t write at a desk.  I only started writing when I got my first laptop.  I can sit anywhere and write.  I love the deck or my porch in good weather.  As long as it isn’t a desk!  Or a table!  I must admit to having a chair that doesn’t look like a recliner but is...I tip it back and write for hours!

Who has been the biggest influence in your writing?
That’s really hard to say.  I think once you’re a writer, if you read a good book, it influences you--you want to do something at least as good...or better, but I’ll try to pick a few!
--Daphne du Maurier.  I visited all her settings in England and they inspired some of my settings.
--Stephen King for characterization.  He can write one sentence, and I can see the person he’s crafted.
--Nora Roberts...I love how I immediately fall in love with her heroes.
--John Sandford...He’s been able to keep his series characters going for years, and I still want to know what they are doing!  I always recommend when doing writing workshops one book “Winter Prey” by John Sandford as a great example of an author who has made the setting a character.  I try to achieve that in my writing.

 What is the best trick to overcome writer's block?
Just write.  As Nora Roberts once said at a workshop I attended...and I’m paraphrasing...You can edit a bad page, you can’t edit a blank page.

 What is the next book you'll write?
I’m working on three...I like to work on more than one project at a time...I get stopped on one, I switch to another until the muse tells me to go back!

--The second Savage Bay story...Julie Sinclair and Jack Murphy... a second chance at love story.
--The second "Sex Pure Sex" story...this is for a paranormal erotica series I’m doing for Ellora’s Cave...still deciding if I’m writing it under a different name or not...it’s vampires and werewolves maybe coming in February or March.
--The first “The Bow Street Ladies” story... a regency era historical romance series about a trio of sisters who solve crimes while romancing the heroes who are all spy guys.  I have some short stories done for the secondary characters that will come between the longer books.
--And if a medieval historical calls to me...I’ll work on that too!


LORD OF SWORDS
historical romance
Guy de Maci has never lost a battle . . . Will his love for Lady Joia bring his first defeat?


Guy de Maci's son disappears during England's bloody civil war. Guy follows his son’s trail to Stonewold Castle, becoming the bodyguard of Stonewold’s heir. Guy uses the child as a cover to search for his missing son, but guarding the boy hampers rather than helps Guy's efforts. He is soon entangled in not only the boy’s life but also that of the child’s sister, the rebellious and utterly captivating Lady Joia.

Lady Joia, betrothed to a man she despises, tries to enlist Guy in her plots to free herself from marriage.  All of Guy’s warrior skills are useless when it comes to resisting Lady Joia.  But should he? Or should he succumb to the passion shimmering between them and learn the true meaning of love before they are separated forever?

Buy links:






Special offer to all your blog readers:
LORD OF SWORDS
Promo Code TZ46V
at Smashwords (not case sensitive)
for 50% off the sale price of $2.99 - Expires October 31st

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