Our guest this week is YA author Barbara Lund. Thanks for stopping by, Barbara. What may I get you to drink?
BJL: The only way I can drink coffee is with more sugar and cream than coffee, so I generally go for hot chocolate instead. :)
Ally: Then Hot Chocolate it shall be! Please introduce yourself while my magic pot gets that ready.
Barbara decided that raising two kids, “wife-ing”, working as a police officer, maintaining her black sashes in kung fu and tai chi, hiking (oh yes, and eating!) weren’t enough obsessions to keep busy, so she picked up a NANOWRIMO book, and hasn’t stopped writing since. When she placed 2nd in the science fiction/fantasy category of the 2015 Zebulon contest sponsored by Pikes Peak Writers, she decided to do something with the stories in her head, which prompted indie-publishing of three novels and fifteen short stories (so far).
Something unique/unusual that isn't in her regular bio: "Someday I plan to grow up and become a therapist. (Hoping to start an LCSW masters at the University of Utah next year.) Though if Hollywood shows up on my doorstep and shoves cash into my hands, that may change!"
Ally: What kind of book did you bring with you today? Is it romantic?
BJL: Creeper is YA Fantasy, and during this book the main character is too busy staying alive for romance… but that changes in the sequel, though the heat rating is still quite mild!
Ally: Describe your writing process. Schedule, goals, etc.
BJL: Unlike a lot of writers, I don’t write every day. I tend to save up during the week when I’m doing everything else, then on the weekends, pour words out onto the page. I have written every day (between 1500 and 2500 words!) – when I pushed myself up against the deadline for a novella – but as soon as it was done, I stopped writing for about three weeks.
Ally: Do you have a writer's cave? Describe it or tell us where you do most of your writing. Does it have to be quiet or do you write with music or white noise?
BJL: My favorite room in the house is the back patio, so I write out there, weather permitting. Otherwise, the living room with the TV going and the kids on the couch is #2, and my office at work is #3. (Shh, don’t tell my boss.)
Ally: What is your favorite social media? Why do you like it? How often can readers find you there?
BJL: Facebook and Twitter, way too much because they are on my phone, and I always have my phone because I’m frequently on call for work!
Ally: Do you prefer to read standalones or series? Which do you prefer to write? Explain both answers.
BJL: Same answer for both - I prefer series because I fall in love with the characters and want to read/write more stories about them.
Ally: Does your real life show up in your writing? In what ways?
BJL: Fight scenes! Between work and kung fu, I’ve hit and been hit several times…
I also have a sci-fi short story series which features a cop on a mining platform in space, so I’ve used cases from work as inspiration for the plot (suitable for 15 and older).
Ally: What is your next writing project? Title, short description, anticipated release
BJL: LAST MAGE STANDING is the third in the Crowns Peak series, which started with CREEPER. Ava has been away training with the dragon, but now she’s coming home to Crowns Peak. She will have to face her friends, her old rival, and an enemy she didn’t even know she had to stop the highborns from being murdered in their own mansions. (Anticipated release: late 2017)
Ally: Let's try a few short answer, get-to-know-me questions.
- a. manicure or pedicure: pedi – I am pretty brutal to my hands. I constantly have nicks and scratches and bruises and I rarely know where they came from, so I love the pedi because it lasts longer for me!
- b. favorite tv program: Blacklist – It’s a love/hate relationship, because I don’t want to watch TV, but the writers suck me in again and again with every show.
- c. hiking or sunbathing: Hiking. We have great mountains and wonderful lakes. My hiking buddies know I need a water feature to be truly happy with the effort of going up the mountain.
- d. What comes to your first - character or plot? The big finale, actually, which hands me a big chunk of character and plot together. The only problem is I can’t actually write the finale first (I keep it in my head), or I feel like I’m done with the book!
- e. favorite after five drink: Orange juice and whip cream vodka (tastes like a creamcicle!)
Ally: I enjoyed your visit. Can you give us a peek at Creeper before you go...?
Genre: YA Fantasy
Slavers have come to Crowns Peak.
For Creeper, a street urchin living rough in the slums, that fact is just one more in a long list of everyday realities she has to deal with.
But what if there were a better place for her, a place where she might be safe? Safe from the coming winter, from the older littles who bully her, from the king’s guards who want to take her, and perhaps even from the slavers.
Creeper might just have found such a place… within the palace walls, surrounded by the very guards she has been taught to fear. But better in here than out there.
Or is it?
Secrets swirl within those walls, and old hatreds bubble close to the surface. Creeper will have to navigate very carefully if she is to remain safe, remain welcome.
Outside the walls, however, the littles from Creeper’s old life are being snatched up one by one…