MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JENNIFER LASLIE!!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
–My name is Jennifer Laslie and I write YA and PNR.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
-I’ve got several books out, but my latest one is Mermaid Adrift which is releasing May 22nd. I’ve always wanted to write a mermaid story, but with a twist. After a natural disaster, Meriya washes up on shore. Whens he wakes up,she finds herself in the pool of a human and she feels like she’s being held against her will, though, he only wants her to heal from her injuries before he returns her to the ocean. Only, he didn’t count on getting attached to her. I like this story because it’s the opposite of the Little Mermaid. Whereas Ariel wanted to get on land, all Meriya wants to do is get back to the ocean. I’m not quite sure where the idea came from. It’s one of those mysterious thoughts that popped into my author brain and I grabbed it and took off with it!
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
-I love reading YA, even though I’m an adult. I also love PNR and Dystopian, so I try to put some of those elements in the stories I write.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
-Since the natural disaster in Mermaid Adrift is a submarine volcano, I did the research needed to figure out what would happen with one. There are a few videos online (really cool ones, too!). I also did research on Bermuda, which is the island she washes up on. I actually have a friend that I found online during my postcard trading years that lives on Bermuda and he helped me out a lot!
Can you tell me about your Series?
-I don’t currently have a “series” out, though my first book, Persuading Tomorrow, will eventually be a series. I know, I know, for those waiting for the second book. I’m so sorry! Oh! Oh! But I’m also working on a PNRomCom series. The first one is called “How to Spell Disaster”. I’ll be writing stand alone books in this series about different characters, but they’ll all be tied together in the same world with overlapping characters. I can’t wait to release this one! I’m shooting to release the first one around Halloween.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
-I work a 40 hour work week at a normal job doing both customer service and finance (dual role). My shift is normally 10:30am-7pm. So I try to set down in the mornings and get some words down. I’m trying to get into a better habit of shutting off FB and just writing. I don’t normally have a daily writing goal, but I’m happy if I can get at least 1K down. It’s better than zero!
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
-I already touched base on this in a previous question, though I’ve got several books in the making. I’m writing How to Spell Disaster which is a PNRomCom. I’m cowriting a PNR Dystopian novel with Heather Marie Adkins that’s supposed to release Nov 8th, 2018. I’m almost done with a cowritten book with Ava Wood titled Azure Embers. It’s a YA Sci-Fi with Paranormal elements. We’re shooting for a release this Fall or Winter. We just got the cover back from the designer and I’m stoked to share it soon! And on top of all of that, I’m planning to write a Reverse Harem book with Victoria Esocbar. Shoot me now! I may never have a social life if I keep this up!
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
-Coming up with character names is the best part in my opinion. I’ve often helped my author friends come up with names. I’ll write down a list of names that appeal to me and run down the list to see which one feels right for my character. Sometimes my characters give me push back though. I’ve up and changed a character name before after I’ve already written a couple chapters because it just didn’t feel like a good fit. Sometimes, if the character is set in a certain country, I’ll try to look up names for that region and pick one that fits the character by what the meaning of the name is.
Where do your ideas come from?
–The ether. The mystical realm of story ideas. They often visit me late at night when I’m about to drift off to sleep. They’re sneaky like that because they know I’ll forget about them in the morning. I have an app on my phone called “EverNote” that I”ll open up and type up a few things to help me remember it if I think the idea is worth keeping.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
-Outlining. I started out as a Panster and I’m slowly trying to transition over to outlining. Lately, I’ve been doing a rough overview of the book and trying to hit the 8 point story arc, but this last book, How to Spell Disaster, is getting outlined a few chapters at a time as I write it.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
-I actually do like book trailers when they’re done tastefully and professionally, but I’ve never had one done. I’ve thought about it, but haven’t invested the time or resources quite yet to finding someone who can make one up to my standards. Just something else to add to my growing to do list! HAHA!
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
-Are we talking about books or life? I have answers for both. In life, I’d consider finding my soul make and raising two beautiful children as my best accomplishment. In the writing world, I’d consider actually hitting publish on that first novel and putting myself out there for the first time my best accomplishment. Indie publishing can be a scary world if you don’t know how to navigate it. I’m still learning the ins and outs. Knowledge is power and there is always something new you can learn. “The day we stop learning is the day we die.” -Michael Scott. This is one of my favorite quotes and is so true!
What’s the best thing about being an author?
-Creative license. I can build a whole world all my own and the possibilities are limitless!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
-In ten years, I see myself living in Montana with my husband. I’m hoping his success will help me to be able to write full time from home.
Have you always liked to write?
-Yes, I’ve always had a love of reading and writing. In elementary school, we had to write and draw stories and I loved when these projects were assigned. Do you remember the old paper with the space at the top for you to draw something and the lines at the bottom to write your story along with the pictures? I still have some of those stories in storage. The teacher let us create our own covers, laminated them, and then punched holes for yarn to tie through it and hold the cover and pages together. I also found a love of writing poetry in high school. I still write poetry every once in a while if something resonates with me.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
–Find your tribe. Find people you connect with in the author community and let them help build you up. Learn from them, ask them questions, and get all of your ducks in a row before you publish that first book. If I knew then what I know now, it would have made the process so much easier. I have my tribe now. They lift me up on the days that I doubt myself. It also makes me feel good to be a part of a group that I can give back to by sharing and promoting their works as well.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
-I love being creative period. I make polymer clay dragons and I love manipulating graphics on my laptop. If I had to pick something else to do for a living (besides the day job I have), I’d pick graphic design. I still might pursue it later on it life, I just don’t have the time or money at the moment.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
-I try not to go on Amazon or Goodreads and read reviews too often. I’ve had my share of 1-star reviews as well as 5-star reviews. I try to remember that my books may not be for everybody. If we all liked the same things in this world, then the world would be a boring place.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
-Marketing. I bet if you ask ANY indie author, they’d say the same thing. I’m slowly learning to market better, but I hate it. HAHA!
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here’s a scene from my Paranormal Rom Com, How to Spell Disaster. I love his run in with the occult shop owner! Also, this is completely unedited.
Never in my life would I have thought I’d need to Google an occult shop, but here I stood, gawking at the front door of one not too far from my apartment. I took in the worn wood of the door and the gold lettering on the glass declaring it Mystics and Moonbeams. Already, I could smell a barrage of incense burning and I hadn’t even opened the door.
I’d never claimed to be psychic, but I foresaw a bottle of ibuprofen in my future.
The bell over the door chimed as I entered the establishment. I closed the door gently as I surveyed the rows and rows of dark stained shelving on either side of me. A thin layer of dust covered candles, books, incense, and several other items within the shelves.
“Can I help you?” A slim woman in her late thirties, if I could be trusted to judge a woman’s age, stepped around one of the tables in the middle of the room. She wore a flowing, blue top with equally flowing skirts swishing around her ankles and bare feet, toe rings sprinkled into the mix.
“Um, I… well.” How do you ask for items for a spell when you have no clue what you’re doing and you don’t believe in magic. I fumbled for the paper in my pocket and thrust it out in front of me, my heart hammering in my chest. Why was I so nervous?
She smiled kindly and took the paper to look over my list. “I can tell you’re not versed in the magical arts. Be careful what you wish for.” Soulful brown eyes rose slowly from the note to freeze me in place. My heart stopped as well. An awkward silence hung in the air, but it felt one-sided. She held herself with authority, sizing me up.
“Can…” I swallowed, my heart finally picking up a normal rhythm. “Can you get me everything on the list?” Though my internal organs were back in working order, I dared not move a muscle.
“Of that, I’m certain.” She flicked the paper. “I can also get you the things you need which aren’t on the list.” With a swirl of colorful skirts, she turned and headed deep within the recesses of the shop.
My feet followed of their own accord and I found myself surrounded by even larger shelves the farther I ventured. The building didn’t seem this deep from the outside. How far back did it go?
The woman slid behind the counter and started adding items into a cotton tote. With a final flourish, she dropped my note into the bag and slid it across the glass countertop.
“Do you take card?” I retrieved my wallet from my back pocket and pulled out some plastic.
“Yes, or your first born.” Her lip barely twitched, remaining flat, no humor in her expression.
My face must have turned white, because she cracked a smile and waved a hand before snatching my card from my fingers. “Only kidding,” she joked as she swiped the plastic through the credit card terminal and handed it back.
“Thank you,” I said around the lump in my throat as I returned my wallet to my back pocket and grabbed the handles of the cotton tote bag.
“You’re very welcome. Blessed be!” she sing-songed as I shuffled out of the shop. I had a feeling she knew exactly what type of spell I was trying to perform. Did she secretly judge me? Did it matter if she did? I probably would never see her again.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
-My all time favorite author is Jacqueline Carey. I have all of her Kushiel’s Legacy books and I even have one signed by her that I won from an online giveaway she did on Facebook years ago.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
-Meriya is my favorite so far, because, well, she’s a mermaid and I LOVE mermaids.
Where can readers go to discover more about you and your books?
-They can visit my website, authorjlaslie.com, or any of the social media links listed below in a later question.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
–They say every story has already been written, it just hasn’t been written the way I would write it, but yes, I do try to come up with things that I haven’t seen written. Like my YA Dystopian, Untreatable, is about how the cure for obesity wiped out the US population because it ended up backfiring. I’ve had several reviewers tell me that it’s about time someone wrote a Dystopian book about obesity.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
-My tribe keeps growing. I have so many friends in the indie author community that I can go to for help and vise-versa. Heather Marie Adkins, Victoria Escobar, Ava Wood, my husband (he’s written a few books), Cat Banks, RJ Blain, Rebecca Hamilton (her author courses are amazing and worth the money!), and so many others. I know I’ve probably forgotten someone, but if you’re reading this, you know how important you are to me!
Where can your fans find you and follow?
Here are the links to all my social media accounts and such. If you’d like to sign up for my newsletter, you can get a free copy of my Dystopian novel, Untreatable!
Just sign up here: https://www.subscribepage.com/JenniferLaslieFreeBook