I'm thrilled to welcome author James LePore, who has graciously written a guest post piece about his evolutionary process from lawyer to author! Jim is an absolute professional gentleman and it was my pleasure to work with him. (Okay...I'm a little bit of a fan too!) If you're on the fence about your next read, hop off and read the book I did that made me run out and purchase his entire catalog: "The World I Never Made" Review~ wow!
“Growth comes by shocks. We cannot part with our friends. We cannot let our angels go. We do not see that they only go out that archangels may come in.” Emerson.
When I was fourteen I found a battered paperback edition of The Carpetbaggers by Harold Robbins on my mother’s dresser. Swept away by the sheer adventure of it, I began reading two or three novels a week, most of them purchased off the rotating rack at the corner candy store. There was magic to be found in fiction, just what kind of magic and how it worked I wasn’t sure, but I was hooked on it nevertheless. I read whatever looked interesting, including things like Johnny Got His Gun, Catch 22, Exodus, Alas Babylon, On The Beach, Hawaii and much more, both good and bad, sublime and ridiculous.
In 1982 my father died after a twelve month struggle with lung cancer. I was practicing law then, but still reading novels at pretty much the same rate, although by then I had discovered stores where only books were sold. My response to my father’s sickness and death was to write a novel, which I titled That Archangels May Come In. The experience was cathartic of course, but the interesting thing to me, looking back, was that I chose to tell a long story (about a fictional young lawyer losing his father to lung cancer) as the means of that catharsis. Why write a novel? Because, I realized, I wanted the magic of a story to heal me, to take me from the world where dads die a painful, drawn-out death, to the world where sons go on living.
Archangels was badly written. One professional reviewer said that it was predictable and clichéd, and he was being kind. But it was a start. It got me thinking. I wanted to write a good novel, I wanted whatever power I had to recreate the magic of fiction to appear on the printed page. But how to do this while at the same time fighting to make a living in the real world, the world where first novels are million-to-one shots and where kids have to eat every day and mortgages have to be paid every month? The answer: wait, plan, do your job, pay your bills, and when the time comes, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger, to let your angels go so that archangels may come in. That’s what I did. In 1999, I sold my law practice and began writing. My wife continued to work full time. I occasionally moonlighted as a lawyer, but mainly I wrote. When I picked my head up in 2007, I had written three novels. In 2008, I signed a four book contract with The Story Plant, a small publisher in Connecticut.
I’ve left out the hard parts, the pain of multiple rejection, the self-doubt, the worries about money, the wandering around in an industry I knew nothing about. But everyone knows about them. They have to be faced. I decided to face them because, though I loved practicing law, I loved the dream of being a writer more. That dream has come true. My new dream is that as many people as possible—millions would be great—find the magic in my novels that I found in The Carpetbaggers when I was fourteen, the magic that hooked me on reading and that, though I did not know it at the time, has changed me from within and healed me when necessary over all these long years.
Jim can be found at his Author Page on Amazon.com:
Eighteen-year old queen, Clara Williamson, journeys to the sea to unlock the mystery of her lineage. Matthew and Bracus of the Band travel alongside as a safeguard through the Pennsylvania wilderness. Trouble strikes when the fragment absorbs Prince Frederic and undertake plans that involve Clara and her home sphere in a dangerous scheme of coercion. It isn't long before Clara discovers the Guardians terrible secret through horrible circumstances she must escape from. Can Clara protect herself from her own destiny
...“Princess,” Tucker began, “we are not brutes.”
Clara held her tongue. She had been present in the battlefield the day that two of the fragment had been absolutely brutish.
“However, it has come to my attention from Prince Frederic that you are quite concerned,” he let that word lengthen, “with your people. Now, that includes both peoples', eh? The savages and the sphere-dwellers alike.” He waited for her to respond.
“They are clan, Mr. Tucker, not savages,” Clara clarified.
“You are so wrong,” he said, waving away her comment. “You're <spoiler>, they're ordinary, but necessary.” He moved toward Sarah and she glared at him as he reached out and grasped a hunk of her wheaten hair.
“Do not touch me,” she hissed, jerking away from him and he slapped her face, her head slamming into the male that held her. She spat blood onto the ground and her eyes met Clara's. Clara shook her head slightly.
“Tell her to remain still or I will make what I just did look like affection.”
Daniel squeezed Clara's shoulder and she quickly said, “Sarah, try to remain calm. Do not antagonize this man.”
Tucker turned to look at her. “I don't think I like the way you say man, Princess.”
Clara shrugged the shoulder Daniel's palm rested on. “I care not. I followed your command, now do as you said you would; cease this abusive behavior.”
“I'm going to enjoy the breaking of you, Princess. Very much.” his jaw clenching as he spoke.
Clara was struck by how much he reminded her of the prince.
Daniel saw the plan form in Tucker's eyes and had an inkling of what it might be, having seen him brutalize whatever female he took a liking to.
That would not be the purpose for Clara he promised himself. Somehow, she would escape that end.
Clara looked on in despair, her fate and those of her subjects uncertain. She was fast losing hope for The Band as an avenue of assistance. She was at once back in the bowels of her childhood. At the mercy of others, no one her advocate save herself. She trembled as the familiar suffocation of futility and helplessness overwhelmed her.
Then her gaze was captured by Anna, Sarah and Evelyn. Hope rode their expressions with surety.
They believed in her.
She straightened. The resolve to fight taking hold like a rod of steel keeping her rigid...
And now she has three months to find a cure before becoming a werewolf... forever.
Rylie Gresham hates everything about summer camp: the food, the fresh air, the dumb activities, and the other girls in her cabin. But the worst part is probably being bitten by a werewolf. Being a teenager is hard enough, but now she's craving raw flesh and struggles with uncontrollable anger. If she doesn't figure out a way to stop the transformation, then at the end of summer, her life is worse than over. She'll be a monster.
Fans of Christopher Pike will love this hot new series.
Author-Interview with Sara Reine:
TRB: Sara, you're doing fantastically well with both your debut novella, Six Moon Summer, as well as its sequel, All Hallows' Moon. To what do you attribute to your growing success?
SMR: It’s all about the support of my Twitter friends, book bloggers, and readers. People say that writing is an isolating experience, but I don’t believe that to be true at all. I have found this amazing, supportive group of friends all over the world who not only help me spread the word about my books, but help me write them, too. I couldn’t have finished All Hallows’ Moon without hundreds of people cheering me on when I expressed sentiments of faltering confidence on Twitter, or without the great reviews and recommendations people make on Goodreads. It’s been incredible, and I’m so grateful.
TRB: What made you choose to go Indie? What is your advice to other authors that don't wish to go the “legacy publishing” route?
SMR:Until recently, independent publishing wasn’t a viable business model because there was no good way to distribute your books to a large audience. The internet has revolutionized publishing, though, and now it’s one of the best ways to reach readers. Since I’m a big geek, the technology side of it really appeals to me. Eventually, everybody will be reading books on their cell phone or tablet, and I wanted to be a part of that.
TRB: Where did you get your idea(s) for your novel, Six Moon Summer?
SMR: Ironically – considering I’m now an indie writer – it was a remark from a literary agent on a different werewolf project. She lamented that the idea of a teenage girl as a werewolf was interesting, but she wanted to see the character struggling to control herself around other teenagers. It sparked a whole different story idea, and that has since turned into Six Moon Summer and All Hallows’ Moon.
TRB: What type/style of a writer are you? Seat-of-Your Pants? Outline Queen? Master Plotter?
SMR: I’m a daydreamer. I fantasize all the time, and when enough of my fantasies start orbiting the same characters and situations, I’ll start doodling scenes in notebooks. When I finally get about 50% of the way through a project and lose momentum, I’ll outline the rest of the book and take it from there. I wish I was a master plotter!
TRB: Did you model any characters after real-life people? Is there a character that resonates with you?
SMR: None of my characters are based on anyone I knew in particular, although one could argue that they’re all a lot like me. Writing is very therapeutic. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day extrapolating my life experiences from what I’ve written about!
TRB: What is your hope for readers to experience by reading your novel?
SMR: I want to be the kind of writer you seek out when you’re having a bad day. Or when it’s sunny outside and you want to relax in a lounge chair and “turn off” the outside world for awhile. I hope my books will let people disappear into fantasy for a little while, and my ultimate goal is to write the kind of book that sticks to your ribs and follows you around for a couple days after you finish it.
TRB: Is there a playlist that you listen to that inspires you while you're writing?
SMR: It varies widely from book to book. I have really weird music tastes (think Scandinavian pop music, musicals, 80s hair metal, opera…) so I’ll set my vast music library to random when I write and bounce around between genres until I come across an album that really suits the book. All Hallows’ Moon was written almost entirely to VAST and Bruno Mars.
TRB: Who is your favorite author? Is there a certain genre you read [in] exclusively?
SMR: My favorite author is actually Edgar Allan Poe. Don’t tease me! I love him. There’s a claustrophobia to his writing that’s so pleasantly creepy. But I’m loyal to the entire genre of urban fantasy.
TRB: I adore Poe!
TRB: Are you a DTB (Dead Tree Book) reader, or do you use a dedicated reader? What do you predict for the future of these two formats?
SMR: I’ve been welded to my Kindle since I received one for my 21st birthday. Even though “dead tree books” aren’t going anywhere, they will become much less common, and I think that’s a good thing from an ecological standpoint. I can’t imagine a house without at least a few shelves of books, but it’s better for forests if personal libraries (like mine, which used to take up 2.5 rooms of my old apartment) become obsolete.
Book 2, All Hallows Moon (Seasons of the Moon)
TRB: Is there a plan for a third installment? What are a few things the reader can expect from book three? I'm also aware that you have a full-length novel in the works, Shattered. What can you tell us about that?
SMR: Those are very loaded questions!
Yes, there’s a plan for a third installment, which is called Long Night Moon. If I can use a geekism, this will be The Empire Strikes Back for the series. It’s going to be intense, moody, and address some huge issues—both fantastical and otherwise. But I promise there will be no Ewoks in the final book (since I have four planned for the entire series).
Shattered is a special in-between project. I usually write series-length stories, so I need to take a breather occasionally to do a standalone and give my brain a rest. The19 Dragons, my steampunk novella, was one of these in-between projects too. I don’t want to give away too much about Shattered, but it’s kind of a cross between paranormal romance and contemporary raygun gothic. It’s a really fun mashup. Fans of Six Moon Summer will go nuts for it.
Shattered, Publishing 2012
TRB: How has your experience as an author been different from what you expected?
SMR: Honestly, as a child, I never thought of independently publishing my books. I remember my mother, who is also a writer, on the phone with editors in New York as a child, and that was what I expected it would be like. Instead, my books go straight from my brain and hard drive into the hands of the readers. And because of it, the experience is much more complex. I also have to handle all the editing, the formatting, the design, and the publicity. Writing is only one small part of the process. I never saw that one coming, but I really love it—so much that I hope to launch my own small publishing company soon.
TRB: Lastly, can you quantify the margin of difficulty between writing your novella and that of your longer works that ranged in the 55K word range? Was transitioning between longer works and shorter difficult? What degree of challenge did you face?
SMR: The novella was easy, but intense. It came out of me all at once, which is probably why the story is so bizarre. I completely turned off my mental filter and let the world go crazy on the page. Longer works are harder, in that they take much more dedication, but they’re also kind of easier because I don’t lose myself as much. It’s hard to compare the two experiences. They’re very unique.
Reine's Steampunk novella, The 19 Dragons
SMR: Thanks so much for having me! Those are some really great interview questions.
TRB: It was totally my pleasure, Sara! My only regret is I haven't read SMS yet but I KNOW I'll love it!
SM Reine is an author of dark fantasy for teen and adult audiences. Her most widely known work is "Six Moon Summer," which has been hailed as "fresh and fast-paced" and "captivating." She lives in Nevada with her husband, the Helpful Baby, and too many black animals to count.
Twenty-year old, Julia Wade, a young woman tragically widowed, is in the middle of a bizarre bid between two mythical species who are vying for the unique properties she offers; her blood. The vampires need her to balance the food load of the human species and give them their coveted “Lightwalkers.” The Were wish to be moonless changers; a Rare One can make that a reality.