I'm excited to give you a look at an interview I did with my publisher for A LIFE BEYOND YESTERDAY. This interview will be formally released around the same time the book is released in February 2012 but you all can read it early, right here!
Welcome Ms. Clara LaVeaux to Love, Romances, and More, thank you for joining us.
Did you always want to become a writer?
I did not always want to be a professional writer. However, since somewhere around the second grade, I have maintained a constant tendency towards writing. I’d often find myself writing poetry (some of it admittedly not very good) during my teenage years. Later, I wrote short stories and partial novels but I never thought of it as more than a hobby. After college, I became an Elephant Handler / Zoo Keeper at the Baton Rouge Zoo, which was amazing, but I still kept sneaking off at night to write. Finally after becoming a mother I decided to dedicate myself to writing as a profession.
What is the most, and the least interesting fact about writing?
The most interesting fact is that you can live more than one life. Creating new worlds and new characters involves so much thought and consideration it’s almost as if I could reach out and touch the person I’m writing about.
The least interesting fact, one often overlooked, is that writing is still work. If you want to get paid for it like it’s a job, you must treat it like a job. This means setting goals, sticking to them, and doing all the not-so-fun stuff like market research, agent/publisher research, publicity work, and critiquing/editing.
How do you plan to celebrate your first release?
I will probably have some friends and family over and pander shamelessly to them (haha).
How did your family react to the fact that you write romance novels? Have your family read your book?
My family has not read any of my completed works as of yet. They’ll get to read it once it’s published like everyone else. I’m far too critical of myself during the drafting/editing phases to let them read my work before it’s finished. I think they may be a bit shocked that I don’t shy away from sex in my books.
Most authors are also avid readers. Is this the case with you? If so, who are some of your favorites? Have any influenced your writing?
This is a tough one. I read so many books each month that it’s hard to keep them all straight in my head. Some of my favorites are Lauren Dane and Adrian Phoenix. Because I have lived in the South, any story with southern flavor will draw me in. I also enjoy Lexi George and Kalayna Price.
Every book I read influences my writing. I’m a strong believer in “the best way to write a great book is to read great books.”
Do you feel each of your characters live with you as you write? Do their lives sometimes take over a part of your life? Can you name an example? Do you have living role models for your characters?
I don’t normally have real life role models for my characters. I write about people whom I’d like to know but have no chance of ever meeting. My characters certainly live with me, especially while in the midst of creating a climatic point within the story.
I’m currently writing the first book in a series that takes place in the town of Yellow Springs, OH which is actually just down the road from where I live. I find myself walking through town and thinking “I wonder what kind of trouble Elaina [the main character] would find if she wandered into that shop ...”
Where do you get the inspirations for your books?
My inspiration comes from everyday life. I’ve always been a daydreamer and often found myself in trouble for staring off into the distance thinking “... what if ...” Give me ten minutes hiking in a forest and I’ll give you a story about the evil sorcerer who most obviously inhabits the shaded corners of said forest.
Do you find it difficult at times to write love scenes?
Absolutely! Nothing stunts romantic dialogue like a toddler screaming in my ear “Mommy! Mommy! Mama!” Fortunately, my characters are most understanding and allow me to set aside sex scenes for when the house is quiet, usually around midnight.
Do you have a problem with deadlines and have you ever suffered a writer’s block?
Of course! Everyone must, at some point, find themselves stuck on a scene or storyline. Sometimes I’ll go two weeks without getting one word typed. Writing is like being on a diet, just because you stumble doesn’t mean you’ve failed. If you stop dieting altogether because of one malevolent donut, you’ll never reach your goal. If all else fails, I sit down and write SOMETHING. Anything. Eventually my mind starts working again and the story begins to flow.
Do you prefer stand-alone books or series (As a reader or a writer) ?
As a reader and a writer, I love books in a series. It’s wonderful to watch characters and worlds grow, become more complicated, and ultimately conclude over the course of a series.
If you could change places with one character from your book, who would it be and why?
Hmmm ... I don’t think I would change places with any of my characters. They’ve all had a particularly rough time of it! That’s what makes them interesting. They’re also required to do some very brave things that I don’t know if I’d be able to accomplish in their places.
What is your favorite book from the books that you have written so far? Who are your favorite hero and heroine, and why?
Probably my favorite book so far is the one I’m currently writing, Surprisingly Supernatural. The Heroes Zane and Ellis and the Heroine Elaina are all so beautifully broken and struggling to find their places in the world(s) but manage to find humor in even the worst situations.
Would you like to give another genre a try?
So far I have written Women’s Fiction and Urban Fantasy. I read a lot of Historical Romance but I don’t think I’ll try my hand at writing it anytime soon.
Which book was the hardest to write and which the easiest?
A Life Beyond Yesterday was the hardest to write so far. Not only was it my first completed novel but the heroine also shares some of my characteristics which made putting her through hell a bit more difficult.
If you could choose one of your books for a movie, which one would it be and who would you as the cast?
Definitely A Life Beyond Yesterday. The hero in the story is actually a movie star so I think it’d make a great movie. Chris Hemsworth would be perfect for the hero and Deborah Ann Woll would be great as the heroine.
If you could travel through time to visit a special time period or famous person, what or who would it be and why?
I would go to medieval Scotland and find myself a sexy Highlander, of course! Nah, I’d probably go back and talk to Earnest Hemingway. He walked the line between genius and insanity for many years before taking the leap.
Do you listen to music while you are writing and if so what music is it?
Some songs remind me of characters but I don’t listen to them while writing. I need silence to write.
Big congrats to your latest release, can you please tell us something about the book?
I wrote A Life Beyond Yesterday soon after the birth of my first child and becoming a mother played a large role in the lives I created for my characters. Amelia Gauge struggles with life as a new widow and young mother while trying to develop a sense of self. The setting, Venice Beach, CA, is a place I visited during college and my experiences there played a part in certain scenes within the story.
Are you working on anything right now, and can you tell us a teaser about these projects?
I’m currently finishing the first book in a new Urban Fantasy series set in Yellow Springs, OH. The characters are sexy, funny, and unpredictable and I can’t get enough of them! You can check out www.SJ-DRUM.com for updates and info. I use Clara LaVeaux as a pen name for my work in Women’s Fiction and all other works are under SJ Drum.