Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The 131 Preview Review Presents Award Winning Author L.J. Charles

The 131 Preview Interview Presents

L.J. Charles

I have worked with energy, both as a yoga instructor and as a body worker for many years. When I left that profession, I was driven to write about energy and the paranormal. Many of the situations my heroines experience are created from my own encounters with energy, its power and possibilities.
As to the "writing," well, that started when I was eight and penned my first book on pink construction paper with a purple crayon. It was a romance that involved a princess, and although I remember very few details about the plot, I do remember that it was illustrated and there was music and dancing involved.
At about the same time I created my first story, I discovered Nancy Drew and my love for reading was born. It has only grown over the years, and I am rarely without a huge to-be-read stack, and a book within easy reach.
Now days I write award winning women's fiction and young adult novels. All of my stories combine romance, mystery, and paranormal elements. The paranormal, because it's a huge part of my life, the adventure and romance because I haven't ever outgrown my early reading adventures with Nancy, Ned, Bess and George.
I live in the frozen north with my husband, whose TBR stack is taller than mine, and two felines who have been known to add entire pages to a manuscript without telling me. 

 Firstly thank you for taking the time to sit down with me.  

L.J. It's my pleasure. I love talking about Everly and her adventures. 

You've said that your experiences as an Energy Worker helped inspire you in your works, could you share an instance specific to The Everly Grey Adventures. 

L.J. I've been blessed with the ability to sense colors around people when I'm doing energy work, and Everly has had this experience with her healing work. Of course, I've been able to embellish her experiences!  

Of the whole body of work that is The Everly Grey Adventures what was your favorite situation to write for Everly? Why?  

L.J. A Touch of Betrayal has been the most challenging of Everly's adventures for so many reasons, and it was also my favorite. I loved writing every part of this book because she finally becomes the woman I've always know her to be. My favorite scene was when, emotionally battered, she still faced down a gang with a new-found inner strength that amazed me.     

She really is a spit-fire. I was truly impressed with the way that you were able to write A Touch of Betrayal to read as a stand alone, as a part of a series you have managed to recap Everly’s past just enough that you can find yourself immersed in the characters and drawn in to this latest installment. How much preparation did that take or was it just a Happy Accident? 

L.J. Definitely not a happy accident. It took a great deal of planning. I'm a pantser. Plotting doesn't work for me, but in Betrayal I had to draw mind maps so I could visualize how the previous books fit into this story. I'd always intended for readers to be able to start the Everly stories with this book because it fits a slightly different audience from the previous stories.  

How long until we see the next installment of The Everly Grey Adventures?  

L.J. I'm currently finishing the third book in my Gemini Women Trilogy. One of the characters from that series makes a guest appearance in A Touch of Betrayal, and their paths will cross again. For that reason, I need to complete the trilogy before I write A Touch of Revenge. It's difficult because Everly keeps popping into my head. She's very excited about the first chapter in Revenge… 

Speaking of The Gemini Women Series, which follows in your words "the lives of Three women... each born under the Gemini sign...each connected to a "twin". The Gemini is an astrological sign which is often used with malicious or otherwise dubious intent, Why do you think there is a draw to this twin sign. What for you was the draw to the Gemini sign?  

L.J. This question made me smile. Nothing malicious drew me to the Gemini series. Nia's story, The Knowing, came to me on May 23rd when I looked out the window to discover a snowstorm. It was so wrong that I had to write about it. The ideas for The Calling and The Healing came pouring in while I was writing The Knowing. Each book had a twin theme, so I gave the heroines Gemini birthdays.  

I noticed that you are a stickler for The Aloha State, Setting both the Gemini and Everly Grey books in Hawaii, from reading your profile one does not get an answer to where you are from, do you live in Hawaii, because your descriptions are utterly pretty.  

L.J. I live in North Dakota, which I think explains my fascination with Hawaii. I have two very good friends who live in the Aloha state, and they welcome me into their homes for extended periods of time to do research for the books. I love Hawaii. It's my home away from home.  

That must be wonderful. I've been to your website and I see you are currently working on the Third Book in the Gemini Trilogy, The Healing Book 3 - Chloe's story, tell us a bit about that. 

L.J. Chloe's story is more sensual than the books I usually write. She's a very physical person with deep emotional connections to the people in her life. And yet, she must keep her distance because she cannot allow her emotions/issues to interfere with the healing work she does. Chloe is one of the most difficult characters I've written. I'm not entirely sure why yet, but I think it will be an interesting ride getting her onto the page. 

You are also the author of The Lifethread Trilogy, another paranormal series but this one you call decidedly YA, what do you consider the distinction? I mean what makes YA, YA?  

L.J. Voice. The teens in my YA series are just fun. They carry a huge responsibility and at the same time remain kids. I love all three of them. The third book in that trilogy is on the back burner because the main character has taken me deeply into fantasy, and I haven't found my footing yet.  

What do you think of the censorship of books, do you think there is anything wrong with talks of rating them as if they were films? Pointing out Sexual Content, foul language, and more. Do you think that it’s talks like this that keep some authors from going into traditional publishing.  

L.J. I don't know that I'd call rating books censorship. I think it's helpful for readers to know if a book has extreme violence or explicit sexual content. Honestly, I think what keeps authors from going into traditional publishing is the pure joy of indie publishing. From the moment I published my first book, I haven't given a thought to traditional publishing. I'm having way too much fun. And I'm much too impatient to wait for eighteen months or longer to see my books in print.  

What was it that made you go the Indy Route?  

L.J. Like most writers I pitched to a lot of agents and editors. There came a time when I had editors telling me how much they loved my work, but they couldn't buy it because the stories didn't fit into their product lines. One day I was talking with an editor at a conference, and she shared that it "killed" her not be able to publish my book. It gave me the confidence to publish on my own.   

What in your opinion was/is the biggest mistake new authors make when trying to get their work out en mass? 

L.J. Rushing the process. Writing takes, well, as long as it takes, and the "rush" of finishing a book is truly one of the most potent emotions there is. But it's only one third of the process. After my books are written they go through a chapter-by-chapter edit with my critique group. I rewrite, send the manuscripts to my critique partners, and then I edit again. After the first two major edits, I send a fairly polished story to my beta readers. They tend to catch any inconsistencies in the series story lines. And finally I send the manuscript to my editor. She does three passes on every book—a content edit, a line edit, and a final read after the revisions are complete. This process simply cannot be rushed no matter how badly an author wants to hold the finished book in his or her hand.   

What has been the best route for you as an Author when it comes to the social media circus? Does any one seem to work better or worse than the other?  

L.J. I love to connect with my readers, and I've tried to be active on Twitter, Facebook, my website, and my blog with mixed results. It took about three years for me to narrow the options down to Facebook with an automatic feed to Twitter, and the occasional blog. I like to share with my readers on a daily basis, so one or two FB posts during the day keeps us in touch, and frees the rest of the day for writing.  

What would you say to an aspiring writer looking to go the Indy Route?  

L.J. You will have three full time jobs—writer, publisher, and promotions/marketing. It's important to remember that writing always has to be at the top of your to-do list. Except during release week. <grin> 

Thank you so much for your time!  

L.J. Thank you for having me.

Well that's it for this week, dear readers! Don’t forget to checkout the links to all of L.J’s works below, and do check out my Review of A Touch of Betrayal Book 4 of The Everly Grey Adventures.

Until next time, Dear Readers of the Wee Hours,

Happy Reading!

Goodreads     L. j. Writes                           Facebook                                Amazon

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The In Dreams... Series, The Roads Trilogy, is the accumulation of almost eight years of writing. Begun in 2006 after a D&D campaign

ended S.I.Hayes took the world and created the Unavoidable Road. It took five years as

Shannon spent many months at a time in an undiagnosed Bi-Polar fog.

In 2010, she finally found the help she needed and she has been writing feverishly ever since

The first book wast over 130,000 words, so she decided that it needed to be smaller if only tonot scare readers away form an unknown book that was so thick.

Thus the first trilogy was born.

In between she became the CoAuthor to Awakenings: The Wrath Saga, a Paranormal Drama likened to Big Brother Meets The Real World, of the Preternatural, Several blogs and her own website. S.I.Hayes.com.