Bright Lights #10 - Laura Diamond - Tsavo Pride
With somewhere just over 4500 followers on Twitter, it starts to get really difficult keeping up with EVERYONE. The trick is to create LISTS, and that way you can break down your followers into easier to manage chunks and keep up with how they're doing with the writing.
Laura Diamond is an example of someone I followed for a while but didn't keep up with very well until I got her on a Twitter List. And I'm glad I did. Smart and funny, it turned out that not only was she a published author but also a psychiatrist! I thought it only fair to invite her over to the blog, have her sit in the comfy chair and ask HER a bunch of questions! Here's what the analysis uncovered...
TSAVO PRIDE is a short story about the famed man-eating lions of Tsavo. In my story, the lions are rogue shape-shifters fighting to stop the British invaders from stealing their territory and ruining their way of life.
Q - Was Tsavo Pride always part of your long-term plan or was it borne from
working on your other books - Shifting Pride and New Pride?
TSAVO PRIDE came about after NEW PRIDE (prequel novelette) and SHIFTING PRIDE (novel) were published. I enjoyed working with the series so much and I thought it would be fun to develop a spin-off short story based on a story in SHIFTING PRIDE.
Q - Will there be more "Pride" stories?
Yes! I’m working on the next sequel, FRACTURED PRIDE. It follows the days and weeks after SHIFTING PRIDE ends.
Q - One of the biggest decisions for most writers nowadays is whether or
not to self-publish. Could you explain your decision making process?
At this point, self-publishing TSAVO PRIDE fits my writing goals, which is to share a story with the same folks who enjoyed my other shifter stories.
Working with Etopia Press has taught me a lot about publishing, which is another reason I felt confident enough to dip a toe in self-publishing. I believe it is a wonderful way for authors to take the reins of their writing career IF there’s a commitment to strong cover art, professional editing, and an organized marketing plan.
Q - The covers to all your Pride stories are linked thematically. How much
involvement did you have in the cover-making process?
Annie Melton at Etopia Press designed the covers for NEW PRIDE and SHIFTING PRIDE. She beautifully captured the essence of my stories while creating a coordinating theme.
Since TSAVO PRIDE is self-published, I ended up collaborating with a cover artist (Danielle Fine). She asked if I had a vision for the cover and then she put together the images, colors, fonts, and tweaked the details until the final product was made.
Q - Did you have a bolt of lightning urge to write or is it something
you've always just done?
I did a little creative writing in high school, but never thought I had the capacity to write an entire novel. A few years later, during medical school, I hand wrote a 100 page story over a two week winter break. In my last year of residency, I pulled the story out and got caught up in reading it. I needed a creative outlet to balance my immersive day job, so I typed out the story and filled in some details until it became a novel. It has since been trunked, but that’s what started it all. Four years later, I’ve written 7 more books, several short stories, and a couple novellas. Now, it’s hard to picture a life without writing.
Q - How do you make the time to write? Do you set a schedule or grab the
moments when they come?
I can’t write on a schedule…though I can write on deadlines, LOL! If my brain is exhausted, then I have to let it rest. The words just won’t come during those times, no matter how hard I try to force them. But when inspiration strikes, it’s hard to shut off the flow.
Q - What's your favorite place to write?
On the couch with my laptop during winter. On my screened-in porch during summer.
Q - What kind of story interests you? Do you read the same stories you like
I’ve always been partial to paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult. The more magic, mayhem, and monsters, the better.
Q - Where do your ideas stories and characters come from generally?
That’s hard to say. An idea can pop into my mind unbidden. Though I have had dreams inspire stories more than once. Even if it’s a single scene.
Q - The common mantra given to writers is "write what you know", does this
apply to your writing in any way?
Sure. I think that’s reasonable. On the other hand, if there’s something that interests you, why not research it? It can be a lot of fun to work with new ideas and information.
Q - When you're writing, how much do you feel you have to adhere to certain
limitations based on the genre you're writing in?
I write the story and figure out genre stuff later. For instance, my next series titled ENDURE started out as YA dystopian with a paranormal twist, but with revisions it has become much more sci-fi. So I guess it’s a YA sci-fi/dystopian with paranormal elements. Too much? ;p
Q - Do you use Beta Readers? If so, could you explain what you're looking
for from them?
Definitely. I’m open to any feedback someone’s willing to give me. What’s most helpful is information about how the reader connects with the story and characters, if they feel the situation/plot flows, if emotions are evoked, if the writing itself is smooth or not, and if the pacing is steady.
Q - You've got one or two things under your belt now as a writer, do you
feel any trepidation putting a new story out? Or do you feel confident that
your work will be well received?
I’m extremely excited to share my next series with folks. It’s bigger (in scope), more tumultuous (relationship-wise), and a lot darker than my shifter series—all things that I think have more impact.
Q - What do you think are your particular strengths as a writer? Dialog,
action, description...what are you most comfortable with?
Voice is key. So is getting inside the heads of characters. Add a ton of conflict and action and that’s my recipe for a compelling read.
Q - What compels you to write, drives you to keep going, even on the days
you'd rather just throw in the towel?
I’m a daydreamer, so my mind creates stories no matter what. Might as well write them down and mold them into something of substance.
I’ve thought about quitting—is a common thing, I think, for writers—but I can’t let go of this world. Writing is a part of me now and I treasure it.
Q - Did anything or anybody inspire you to write?
You know, Stephenie Meyer inspired me. I know she gets a lot of flack, but I also know that when I read the Twilight series, I was transported back to high school on page one. Honestly, I wanted to recreate that feeling of being immersed in a completely different life. So I made it happen.
Q - What is the reaction to those around you, family and close friends,
about your writing?
Everyone has been so supportive and in that way, I’m quite blessed. I have a little fan base at work too. It’s so cool to have a co-worker come up to me and say they enjoyed my book or tell me what they thought about a character and what they did.
Q - What are your thoughts on the uses of Social Media (Facebook, Twitter
etc) for writers. Has it helped in your development as an author?
Without it, I wouldn’t have a network of support. I wouldn’t have learned about publishing, writing, marketing, etc. and I wouldn’t have a method of connecting to readers. In that regard, it has been crucial to my development as an author.
Q - Do you have any favorite words?
I don’t know if they’re favorites, but there’s a few words that show up repeatedly in my writing, particularly as I’m drafting a new story. They’re generally action verbs and I have to add variety when I’m editing.
Q- Do you have any current favorite authors/books?
SO MANY. Veronica Roth, Maggie Stiefvater, Victoria Schwab, Veronica Rossi, Jeaniene Frost, Kendall Grey, Charles de Lint, Mary Doria Russell, Susan Kaye Quinn, Somerset Maugham, Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, and more!
Q - Have you ever suffered from writer's block? If so, any quick cure
Writer’s block happens when my confidence is down or when my brain is exhausted. The best thing I can do in those situations is to cut myself a break, step away from the Word doc, read, remember my accomplishments, and let time do its thing.
Q - How important is it for a writer to also be a reader?
YES. It’s important to study and learn through example.
It’s also important to ENJOY reading—otherwise, I doubt we’d be writers, right?
Q - Library or Bookstore?
Bookstore. I like coffee and snacks.
Q - Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what do you listen to?
Yep. I listen to a variety of music, mostly alternative rock, classical, movie soundtracks, and game soundtracks.
Q - How do you choose your next story?
I think my next story chooses me. An idea surfaces to my consciousness and I have to write it.
Q - Do you have any advice for newbie writers? Those who are yet to start
on their journey?
Keep your enthusiasm. Listen to feedback. Don’t let the rejections keep you down.
There’s a term in psychology: Radical Acceptance. It means accept yourself for where you’re at while at the same time look for ways to improve yourself.
And finally - You're going to be stranded on a desert island (for a wee
while) but I'm going to allow you to take 1 book, 1 piece of music, 1
movie, a bowl of your favorite dessert and 1 person you'd like to share the
island with for a while (alive, dead, fictional or real...it matters not)
What are your choices...and if you want to elaborate...tell me WHY?
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (book, soundtrack, and movie, LOL!) because I can learn new things with each reading, listening, and viewing, while also savoring my favorite parts, chocolate because, OMG CHOCOLATE, and Khayman (from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles) because dude is like 5000 years old and could tell some bitchin’ stories.
Chocolate is a winner every time!
Thanks to Laura for letting us see into her head for a little while. Check out Laura's Book Trailer and links for Tsavo Pride below ~~>
Rogue shapeshifters, Santamo and Legeny, believe they are kings blessed with the power to shift into lions. Using that strength, they brutally defend their land from the British building the Ugandan Railroad that threatens their way of life. On a particularly ruthless raid, Santamo meets his match—Naserian. He spares the girl’s life, a move that fractures his relationship with Legeny and blurs his visions of cleansing his territory of invaders.
While the pile of bones in Santamo and Legeny’s cave grows, so does Santamo’s attraction to Naserian. When she challenges him to give up his murderous ways, will Santamo stay on the path of death he believes is his duty, or will he choose Naserian, and love?
TSAVO PRIDE is NOW AVAILABLE via Amazon for $0.99! Amazon Prime members can borrow it for free. ;)
About Laura Diamond:
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist and author of all things young adult paranormal, dystopian, and horror. Her Young Adult Paranormal Romance novelette, NEW PRIDE, and novel, SHIFTING PRIDE, debuted late 2012 from Etopia Press. A spin off short story based on the lions of Tsavo, TSAVO PRIDE, is now available. A short story, CITY OF LIGHTS AND STONE, is in the DAY OF DEMONS Anthology by Anachron Press and another short, BEGGING DEATH, is in the CARNAGE: AFTER THE END Anthology Volume One by Sirens Call Publications. Forthcoming novels include a young adult adventure, ZODIAC COLLECTOR, and young adult dystopians, ENDURE and EVOKE. When she's not writing, she is working at the hospital, blogging at Author Laura Diamond--Lucid Dreamer and renovating her 225+ year old fixer-upper mansion. She is also full-time staff member for her four cats and a Pembroke corgi named Katie.
Find Laura Diamond on the web:
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLauraDiamond
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Diamond/e/B009Y7L432/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1353277817&sr=1-2-entGoodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5815639.Laura_Diamond