Monday, June 20, 2016

AUTHOR Q & A: LJ Baker

LJ Baker

Author Q&A

Most of my favorite authors are indie or self-pubbed, what made you decide to go that route?

To be honest, I didn’t give traditional publishing much thought when I started. My first book came about because my youngest daughter was having trouble with reading. I wanted to find a way to help her get excited about reading so she could improve. I thought writing a story she could follow as it played out was a good way to accomplish that. The idea that people would actually buy my book wasn’t even on my radar. So self-publishing just made sense. Once I started, it just made sense for me to continue until other opportunities arise.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

When I wrote my first book, it was a solitary experience. I hadn’t met other writers, or really gotten into the community. After that, I met so many incredible people, so many who helped me actually get the book ready for publication and offered support. I didn’t realize how many other writers there were out there willing to help each other and be there for one another. Indie authors and bloggers are an amazing bunch of people. I couldn’t have made it to where I am without them.

Which of your characters are you most like? Least like?

That’s a tough question. I think most of my characters have a small piece of me somewhere, but none are all that much like me. If I had to pick one though, I’d pick my Andi from my first series. She’s kind of a whiny brat at times, but she is loyal and would do anything for the people she loves. I guess I can be both of those things. The character I’m least like would have to be Gabriel from the vampire series. Gabe always has to be in control and is always holding back his feelings. I’m quite the opposite. Life is short and people need to know how you feel about them while they are still around to hear it.

Do you have a particular writing habit??

I used to. I’d get up in the morning and write until I was exhausted when I was feeling well enough. Last year my life was turned upside down after my daughter died and everything changed. It’s a lot harder to write now. I tend to write for a few weeks, then take a while off. One of my good friends described me as a “write till I drop” kind of writer. I guess that still applies, just in cycles.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I don’t know that I could choose. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know so many writers over the last three years and almost every one of them helped me grow in some way. I haven’t had a mentor in any traditional sense of the word, but there were so many who helped and supported me that I wasn’t missing out on anything.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’ve been reading a lot of older books lately, but I did read ‘When I’m Gone’ by Emily Bleeker recently and that was awesome. My TBR list is out of control. I think I might need a twelve step program for buying new books that I don’t have time to read.

What is the hardest part of your writing?

I think the hardest part for me is staying motivated. The writing itself comes fairly easy. It’s more a matter of keeping my butt planted in front of the computer and staying off the web. I’m easily distracted by bright shiny things, or the cats walking by, or a sudden desire to go make a smoothie… I think a smoothie sounds great about now.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Yes, don’t give up. Writing a book isn’t the hard part. It seems like it is when you’re first starting out, before you’ve finished that first draft, but that’s only the beginning. Find other writers who can be there for you. Don’t try to do it all on your own and don’t ever let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough. You are. Even if your work isn’t quite there yet, or it needs more editing, just keep working at it. You only fail if you stop trying.

Describe yourself in three words.

Odd. Loyal. Empathetic.

I know characters are like children but if you could chose, who’s your favorite from your books?

I have no problem choosing a favorite (child or book character!). It is definitely Alexander from the vampire series. I’m a sucker for the wounded bad boy who learns to heal his broken parts through love.

Any song or songs that could basically sum up the overall mood of your writing?

Oh. Wow, I think I could spend a lifetime thinking about that one.

Do you plot out your books or just freely write them and let the characters tell you what to do next?

I am most definitely a free writer, waiting on the characters to guide me in the (hopefully) right direction. On my second book (Find Me) I tried to sketch an outline and have a more controlled idea where I was going and I think the story suffered because of it. I let other writers get into my head and thought they knew more about my writing than I did. I’ve learned since then, I need to trust myself, to do what I already know is right for me, and everything goes so much more naturally.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider the biggest influence in your writing?

That’s probably a tossup between Stephen King and V.C. Andrews. Both were authors I started out being obsessed with reading and both made me want to consider writing as a career. I don’t think my style is anything like either, but they made me excited about writing and really, that is the most important part. Every book I’ve read since has influenced me in some way, changed me, for better or worse. It’s something, this gig as writer. We get to become part of a reader’s life, even if for only a few hours. Hopefully, if we’ve done our job well, we will make an impact, entertain, bring out laughter, something. That’s a huge honor for me, that someone will take time that is so precious, and spend it with my story. I don’t take that lightly.

What are your current projects? Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I’m working on the next book in the vampire series, as well as a non-fiction book about Fibromyalgia. I do have a few other projects waiting editing and about a million more ideas screaming to get out. I would like to go back to the zombie series and do a little side project that I started a while back. I think the readers of that series will be happy to know it hasn’t been forgotten.

Thank you so much, LJ Baker for stopping by and letting me pick at your brain today!! I have had a lot of fun!!



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