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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Author Interview with Lakisha Spletzer

When people first meet me, they always asks the same questions. Who are you? (translation: don't recognize your author name) and, You're a writer? I always smile and give them a quick breakdown on me. After all, it's only fair to let others know about yourself.
Yes, I'm a writer, I've always been a writer. I've been writing stories since the tender age of 8. When I hit my teen years I went from short stories and fan fiction to writing poetry. Lots of poetry. After high school I attended college and got two degrees. I left my home state of Virginia and moved to sunny Florida. I didn't decide to become a published writer until after meeting a local writer's workshop group in 2004. It took me six years to finally write not 1 but 2 complete novels and get them published.

Tell us about Werelove Dusk Conspiracy in a few sentences.

Werelove Dusk Conspiracy is a story about a teenager who is neglected by her only living parent, is bullied at school and who yearns for more than what her life has handed her. Throw in kidnapping attempts, an obsessed villainess, a handsome rescuer, a bold, blunt, yet steadfast friend, and you've got the gist of this novel.

How did you come to write this particular book?

Werelove came about because of NaNoWriMo which is an annual online writing contest during November to write a 50,000 word novel. I wanted to write a YA novel and had some ideas rattling around in my head right before NaNoWriMo 2008, and decided, why not. The first 40,496 words of Werelove were written that month. It took me until July 2009 to write the entire first draft.

If you have a favourite character in your novel, why that particular one?

No author likes to pick just one character and it's very hard with this novel because I wrote so many that I like, but, if I did have to choose, I would have to pick Laylah because she's the closet to my heart with Stefan coming in a close second.

Where and when is your novel set and why did you make these specific choices?

I wanted to combine two of my loves, shapeshifters and outer space, into one location. Werelove is set in the future in the 23rd century and on the planet of New Terra which is inhabited by humans and Weres (shapeshifters).

Beginning writers make many mistakes; what do you think is the most harmful?

Thinking that your manuscript is perfect after writing it. I kid you not. I've met writers who bragged that they didn't need to do any revising or that they only did one round of revisions. *shakes head* Sorry, but you've just doomed yourself to a name as a bad author. Actually, that's strong. Rather I should say, especially with those whose “finished” product is riddled with mistakes, you gain a reputation as “oh, you're one of those people, the self-published kind.” Trust me, you don't want that label, so please, let someone other than family and friends edit your work who will give you honest opinions.

And just to let you know, Werelove Dusk Conspiracy went through seven rounds of revisions before I published it.

How do you know where to begin any given story?

Mine usually start with vague ideas, maybe a jotted down sentence. I sit and I think about what type of character(s) have given me the idea and then I started building a world around them.

What sort of displacement activities keep you from actually writing?

I'm a single parent so my children are the biggest distraction but also fatigue, disinterest and my day job, all keep me from writing on occasion.

How long does it normally take you to write a novel?

Werelove Dusk Conspiracy took nine months to write and my other novel Jewels, took six months.

Who or what inspires you?

My children, people, nature, you name it, it's fair game when it comes to striking my imagination.

Do you think writing is a natural gift or an acquired skill?

I think it can be either or both. For me it is natural and I acquired skills to polish it. I know some indie authors (self-published) that said they'd never written anything before that first novel and that they did extensive research to be able to do so.

What single piece of advice would you give to writers still hoping to be published?

Keep your options open. The market is changing and right now, ebooks, self-publishing and e-readers are the hot topics. Read up on these subjects. Be knowledgeable. Don't just think you can send your MS off and bam!, you'll be accepted. Only a small percentage ever get that lucky. With the new surge in self-publishing via Kindle,, PubIt, and other places, you can take your fate into your own hands.

What are you writing now?

I've got three stories going right now. Moonbeams is a fantasy novel, I've got Nightcorn which is a paranormal novel and I've started on the sequel to Werelove, “Midnight Revelations”.

Where do you actually write?

A better question would be, where DON'T I write. If I can grab a few seconds, I sit and whip out my notebook and write on whatever story is in that particular notebook.

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