These are the things that make me want to go hide in my dark corner - reaching out to the writing/author community has been tough and this was only going to make it more so! It's flooded. It's scary. It's much like my purse and you get lost in the...dun dun dun...Pit of Doom! But, I absolutely adore Laura, so I said yes anyway.
If you haven't heard of Laura Brown, be prepared to do so. She is one of the most amazing people I have met in this industry and to be honest, I would be kind of lost without her. You definitely need to check her out, and her awesome debut novel, Lila's Choice.
Laura Brown lives in Massachusetts with her quirky abnormal family. Laura and her three cats are “differently abled.” Laura is hard of hearing, her oldest cat is deaf and partially blind, and the other two cats have cerebellar hyplasia (they shake, and they don’t find it endearing). The “normal” members of her family include her husband, who has put up with her since high school, and her young son who enjoys “typing” on Mommy’s laptop and has agreed to take full blame for all spelling errors.
You can find Laura on Facebook, Twitter, and her website. And don't forget to check out her debut novel, Lila's Choice! Available on Amazon and Nook.
What am I working on?
Wow! My brain is a whirlwind cyclone of a cluster-fucked mess! I can never just work on one thing at a time, so here's my list...
My working title for my YA fantasy is, The Journey of the Two Worlds. I have been working on this since my early 20's and the 1st book, in what is designed to be a trilogy, is almost complete. I wanted to write a fantasy because I had always been drawn to Tolkien, Robert Jordan, etc. However, I wanted it to be on a smaller scale, so the world it is set in is a smaller one with only 10 lands. It still needs quite a bit of dusting off and editing due to the fact that a lot has changed since then, for instance Prologues are now the PLAGUE!
I am also working on a NA (New Adult for those who do not know) that is dark, but doesn't have any paranormal elements. This one is in its infancy, so I am uncomfortable with sharing too much about it at this moment.
Last but not least, the second book in my Immortal Darkness Chronicles. This particular one is going to be dedicated to Erzsébet and her life. I am very excited with how it is coming together and can't wait until I can share it with the world.
How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Everyone has their own unique voice that doesn't even begin to come close to anyone else's. If you give two different people a list of characters and their traits, the conflict, resolution, setting and premise, you would come out with two completely different stories even if the main idea is the same. It's a certain style that no one else can recreate because it is all you. Your heart, your soul, your blood, sweat and tears. But I do think that The Blood of the Black Rose is set apart from others in its genre for many reasons and I will list a few that don't include voice or style of writing.
One reason is that I think I found something very unique to add to my story about vampires - such as the holocaust (which has always held a special place in my heart). Almost everything that happens to my characters while imprisoned are things that actually happened, so there was a lot of research added in with the knowledge I already had about it. Granted, there are some things that I mixed in and of course created on my own, the branding being one of them. So while the story is fiction, there is a lot of fact mixed in with that. Also, I tried to weave a lot of Erzsébet Bathory's actual life into my story, as well as bring some other historical facts into play like the Battle of the Mohacs and the Gypsies beliefs about the vampire (mulo). Then of course we have the Gypsy curse and other elements that I created, for instance the virgin white rose, to bring in an entirely new aspect. I also wrote this book with the intention of giving it a late 1800's Gothic feel, even though the story is set from the 1940's to the present. I purposely omitted cell phones, internet, etc. for that very reason and that is why they are not even mentioned when the story turns to the present. And that *coughs* it isn't about teenage vamps.
Why do I write what I do?
As strange as this might sound, I don't choose to write in a specific genre and I don't choose to write a specific story, it kind of chooses me. I have thousands of ideas that run through my head at any given moment. It's the one that sticks in my mind, repeating itself over and over again, that gets written on paper. Now, some ideas end up being awesome and I am all for continuing to go down that road and some end up being as stinky as a newborn baby's first poo! However, I do tend to gravitate towards darker themes.
I am constantly getting hounded about writing children's books (since I have a butt-load of kids LOL), but it doesn't seem to be where my niche is. I have written one, and while it's adorable and took me a whole 2 days to write, my oldest son had to keep telling me that I needed to dumb myself down more and more. To me, that gets discouraging. So for now, while I am still 'fairly young' *chuckles*, I think I will just stick with whatever enters this crazy brain of mine and pesters me until I write it out.
How does my writing process work?
Lordy, lordy, lordy!!! I am not ready to answer this question! Ha! Are you ready for some insanity? Because that is exactly what my writing process is...IN-SAN-I-TY!
First, an idea strikes then sticks, and at this point I am what is known as a panster (no outlining). I do not overly think about the story, the characters, the plot...NOTHING. I just clear my mind and start to write, old-school style...you know, with a notebook and pen LOL. The characters seem to develop on their own, as does the story. Once I get a feel of where the manuscript is headed, then I do research. Tons of research. I wrote two chapters of The Blood of the Black Rose then stopped for an entire year and did nothing but research. I researched the holocaust, Gypsies, Erzsebet Bathory, Peter Kurten, every single type of vampire in every single culture that I could find and then I took notes. Notebooks and notebooks full of notes. After I was certain (or mostly certain, heh) that I had gathered as much information as I could, I stopped. I went back through my notes and wrote down on index cards everything I was absolutely sure that I wanted to use. At that point my mind went wild with how each character would go through each traumatic event and that allowed me to delve more deeply into each of them. Again, I filled index cards with each separate character and their "personality traits" so to speak. Then the story began to construct itself. I let it go where it willed and if I didn't like it, I would go back, cross it out and start at the point where it began to go all wonky. The only thing that I ever "outlined" was when I would hint at something, but not fully explain. I made sure to write those points out to make sure that I would hit upon them later, which gives me less of a chance to develop plot holes.
Second, I write chapter by chapter, which I know probably takes a lot more time than completely writing a rough draft, then 1st, second and so on. I try to perfect one chapter at a time before moving on to the next, which allows me to think more clearly instead of being bogged down by the utter sh@$ that I know is before the one I am currently working on. It would drive me crazy to write a complete manuscript as one whole rough draft because my brain would constantly be pulling me to the jumbled disarray of one hot mess and wouldn't allow me to concentrate. When I know a chapter is at least half way decent (or think it is) then I move on. Of course, you realize when you go into editing it's all still crap, just a less amount of crap LOL.
Third, when I get about at the half-way mark, I start sending it out to some beta-readers that I highly trust, just to get a sense of how the public would view it. Three out of the three that I sent The Blood of the Black Rose to absolutely fell in love with it. At that point, I knew I was doing something right. There were no major issues, no confusion and thankfully no one hated it. At that point, I continue to write, clean it up, send it to more beta-readers, editors, make changes and voila, a book is born!
I do have to add though, the most helpful thing in my entire writing process is that I have a pretty good support system that is full of creative people. If I ever got stuck or unsure of something, I was free to talk to my mom or my husband, which both allowed me to endlessly bounce ideas off of them. Most of the time, they never had a chance to say a word because just hearing it out-loud would give me the answer I needed, but the fact that they were there listening to my craziness helped in ways they would probably never even understand.
And that's it for me! Are you ready to be passed on to some more talented amazing authors? Tune in next week, Monday 3/17, to get up close and personal with *drumroll please*
Leo Featherstone - Born in 1984, Leo Featherstone earned a BA in English and an MA in museum communication. He works as a freelance bookkeeper and archivist in addition to writing dark fantasy. The conception of his first book occurred when he arbitrarily sketched a vampire character in art class one day in his junior year of high school. This initial drawing led him to write a rough outline for his first story. It wasn't until he graduated from college that he finally sat down and fleshed his story out into a full novel.
Books - Ebon City: Death and the Maiden is his debut novel and he's currently working on his second, Ebon City: Bloodline.
You can find Leo on his author website, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter.
Verónica Brannon loves to read and write contemporary romance. She loves the happily ever after end in a story and wishes that would also apply to the real world, but knows that the real world is not a fairy tale.
Her first book is Tied up Heart and it's available on Kindle.
She's fairly new to the writing world but enjoys ever aspect of it. She speaks Spanish and English, and is in the process of translating her novel into Spanish. She's originally from the west coast of México but resides in Tennessee since 1996. She is married and has one daughter.
You can also find Verónica on Facebook, Twitter and her blog.
Thank you so much for stopping by! Hope that you will all continue the journey and visit these AMAZING authors next week! *mwah* Have an incredible week!