Interview with Missouri Vaun

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Who or what inspired your latest novel Love at Cooper’s Creek?

Homesickness. I think for those of us who’ve left the Deep South because of the necessities of career there’s a part of us that always longs for home. The initial idea for this book started with a brief bout of homesickness while overseas, but then, as with all character driven stories, it took on a life of its own.

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I think I’ve always written stories. My mom has some hilarious bits of writing from all the way back when I was in second grade. My childhood was spent in rural, sometimes quite remote, areas because my father was a forester. I think I began creating characters and stories for my own entertainment, so I didn’t feel quite so lonely. Not that I had a sad childhood or anything like that, but the easiest way to have friends in a remote place was to create them on paper.

Which of your books was your favorite to write and why?

Wow… that’s a tough question. The last one I finish is always my favorite. But that’s not entirely true… it’s just that the most recent is the newest to be released into the world at large. You feel attached, protective, and basically, you’re still living in that world in your head. The release of a book always, for me, comes with an immediate brief period of sadness… Like leaving friends behind and moving on to a new place, you miss the characters.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

Cole from the first novel, “All Things Rise,” might be my favorite. Possibly because she was the first, possibly because there’s a lot of myself in that character. But it’s hard to choose between the rest. I try to create characters that I would fall in love with or want to be best friends with.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I have a converted shed in my backyard. It’s small, but quiet. My father lined the interior walls with heart pine and we didn’t seal them, so it smells great… literally, like a pine forest. When I’m in that space it’s easy to be transported to another place or time. I also have a great writing studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the back side of my parent’s property. It’s built like an old 1930s era fire tower. But I don’t get to go there as often as my backyard.

What is your writing process?

I describe my writing process as chaos.

I keep one or two notebooks of random thoughts, and about a million scraps of paper in my pocket that I eventually type into a file on my laptop… My novels don’t really take full shape until I’m about thirty percent into the book. Then I go back and rewrite everything before moving forward.

I was in Amsterdam last year and had a pocket full of notes for a story I was developing. I’d forgotten about the notes… along with the cash… and sent my jeans out to be laundered. The laundry staff very kindly returned my soggy cash along with the wet, faded, unreadable remnants of my story notes in a zip lock bag. The moral of that story? Check your pockets… always check your pockets.

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How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I think the best part of working with a publisher for me has been working so closely with one editor. My editor, Cindy Cresap, has taught me so much… It sort of makes me wonder if I even had English composition in college… or if I did, possibly I slept through it.

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

Converting my backyard tool shed into a writing studio.

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What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

The sweetest thing a reader ever said to me was that reading my work, that my characters, made them feel less alone.

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

It’s hard to narrow that down to one book… I could maybe narrow it down to one writer and that would be, James Agee. He literally paints with words. In terms of the first book I discovered that made me fall in love with reading? It was “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis.

How do you take your coffee?

Often. Cream, no sugar.

 

 

 

Interview with Clare Lydon

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I just finished reading Twice in a Lifetime  by Clare Lydon , and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

 Who or what inspired you to start writing?

The first lesbian series I ever read was Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes To Watch Out For. It was so brilliantly written, and I always wanted to emulate her but purely in words – I’m no graphic artist! I then read Georgia Beers’ books and realized there was a whole world of lesbian romance out there – but most of it American. So I thought I’d write lesbian romances set in the UK to balance things up!

Which of your books was your favorite to write?

It’s normally the last one I’ve written, so I’d have to say Twice In A Lifetime. Writing that book also reminds me of the fabulous time I had in Chicago last year where the idea for the book was born, so it still makes me smile. I also have a soft spot for Nothing To Lose, because that was based on a true story and reading some of the accounts of the flooding that occurred and the community spirit that came out of it was humbling. I put my heart and soul into that book and readers seem to love it.

Who is your favorite character from your books and why?

I love Jess from London Calling because she was my original heroine, and it’s been great to see her grow up in the following London books. I’m just finishing book four in the series – The London Of Us – and there will be another following that, too.

Where is your favorite place to write?

It always used to be my office, but about nine months ago, our neighbor decided to excavate their basement and it meant our house was shaking every day for about six weeks. It made me feel sick, so I started writing in a coffee shop down the road from me – and now I can’t write anywhere else! The good thing is the coffee shop is a 25-minute walk along the river, so it gets my steps up, too. It’s a win-win!

What is your writing process?

I wrote my first three books – London Calling, This London Love and The Long Weekend – by the seat of my pants. I had no idea what the story was, I just wrote. However, since All I Want For Christmas, I have become a plotter. I work out the theme of the book, I work out story and character arcs, and then I plot scene by scene, so that when I sit down to write, I know exactly what I am going to do. This has super-charged my writing speed! Once I have the story done, it goes through a story editor and a copy editor, as well as early readers to check everything works and makes sense.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I learned a lot doing it the first time, and my second book took half the time it took to write book one. For my third book, I wrote it in five months, and now my process from day one to publishing is around four months. This year, I’d like to speed that up a little more!

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

Scrivener is an invaluable writing software and only costs about £40. It’s definitely the best money I ever spent. I also love buying nice pens. I don’t write stories with them, but I love looking at them while I type – they’re inspiring!

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

I heard from one reader that my books helped a suicidal teen realizes she wasn’t alone and after reading it, her mum read it too and it brought the family together. She’s now got a girlfriend and has gone to her first pride. That brought a tear to my eye. I also recently had a mail from a man whose daughter came out, and he wanted to read some lesbian fiction to know lesbians could have happy endings too – and he’s now a fan of mine. I also love hearing from readers just telling me that my books have cheered them up or touched their week – it’s why I write!

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

I loved Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – what a first book that was. But while I admire Jeanette Winterson’s writing, it’s authors like Judy Blume and JoJo Moyes I want to emulate. I loved Judy Blume’s recent In The Unlikely Event, and JoJo Moyes’ The Last Letter To My Lover was spell-binding. And if you haven’t read And Playing The Role Of Myself by KE Lane, it’s one of the best lesfic novels ever written.

How do you take your coffee?

Nuclear strength, splash of milk.

Interview with JamieLynn Boothe author of Nightmares and Dreams

I just finished reading Nightmares and Dreams by JamieLynn Boothe , and I have had the opportunity to interview the author about it!

Who or what inspired you to start writing?

I started writing poetry many years ago, as a early teenager and fell in love with writing. I have always been a lover of reading and as long as I can remember I wanted to be an author. It came natural to me, but have to say that my sensitive heart and compassion is what truly inspired me.

 

What made you want to write Nightmares and Dreams?

In 2012, when I originally wrote it, there was a lot of news concerning the LGBT community. Mostly, degrading Transgender people and Gay Marriage. There was violence against them and it sickened me. I wanted to write a story about someone who was not only part of the LGBT community, but strong and could overcome a horrendous event in her life.

 

Who is your favorite character from your story and why?

That’s a tough one. Obviously, I love Christy since she is the main character and with everything she went through and survived, but I also love Tracy. Another strong woman who had to rise up in the middle of a real nightmare. I am very proud of these two ladies.

 

Where is your favorite place to write?

At the moment, I don’t have a favorite place. When I lived in Colorado there was an incredible bookstore/coffee shop that I loved. I would love to find something similar. Or, at least a comfortable coffee shop.

 

What is your writing process?

This is going to seem unordinary, but I don’t actually have a particular process. I have tried outlines, but struggle with them for some reason. So, I simply write. When I have an idea I start from there and allow the characters to take over. I allow my muse to work. So far, I feel I have been very blessed with my work. I am most comfortable working this way.

 

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I have learned a lot since that time and met a lot of great authors who have taught and helped me along the way. My style and writing itself has greatly improved since then.

 

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

So far, hiring a Personal Assistant. I hope to have a publicist at some point as well.

 

What is something memorable you have heard from your readers/fans?

That they love my work, naturally. Also, that Nightmares and Dreams should be made into a movie. The best thing I have heard though is how one of my novels has touched their lives in a positive way and how it helped them.

 

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

The Angels Walking Series by Karen Kingsbury

 

The most important question how do you take your coffee?

If it’s hot, I like it light and sweet, but if it’s iced coffee I like a caramel swirl, light and sweet 😊