I can't think of a better way to start the weekend off than with an author interview with romance writer Lynsay Sands. I got the opportunity to pose a series of questions about her writing and tips and advice for new writers. Her responses are a joy to read! Thank you again, Lynsay for interviewing with us, and now on with the interview!
LRP: So first question, what do you enjoy doing besides writing?
Lynsay: Walking and nature. Luckily the two things go together.
LRP: You like to write paranormal romance on top of historical. What do you think is the appeal of vampires?
Lynsay: Actually, I just like to write, period. I don't prefer any genre. I have written medieval, regency, vampires and shape shifters. I've also written contemps and will do so again. I wouldn't mind trying my hand at horror too, although I don't think I write dark enough. My horror would probably be black comedy rather than strict horror.
As for the appeal of vampires, I can't really answer that, that's not what it's about for me. With the Argeneaus it was the family and the situations that appealed to me. The vampire stuff was just handy as a problem of sorts, something that was both a blessing and a little bit of not-so-much-a-blessing at the same time. These are people who just happen to be vampires. They still have the same issues everyone else does.
LRP: How do you decide on character names and book titles?
Lynsay: That is the hardest and most important part for me. The names usually have a lot to do with their character for me and when I say I struggle at the beginning of writing a book, the name is part of what I'm struggling with. I can change the name several times until I find the character and the name that suits them.
As for book titles . . . I suck at those and my editor is always changing them. The Accidental Vampire is one of the few they didn't change.
LRP: What is your advice to would-be authors?
Lynsay: Write what you enjoy and do it for your own pleasure. Do not go into writing for the money, or even thinking you'll make any. Most writers don't make much money. I've been lucky of late and can work at only this, but most writers have to continue to work a day job throughout their career. And this is HARD work. Believe me. At least it is for me. I work long hours. It isn't just the writing you have to do. You come into it thinking it will just be writing your stories, but there is the writing of the book, the corrections, the proofs, the fan letters, the promotional stuff they want you to do, etc. etc.
And then it isn't like accounting or engineering where if you get it right, it's just right across the board. Writing is more subjective and a story is NEVER just right. You can't please everyone and there is ALWAYS going to be someone who hates your story and seems to delight in telling you that. Even those who like them overall, may criticize the pants off you for something. That is life as a writer. You either develop a thick skin quickly, or . . . So make sure you love it if you're going to give it a go.
LRP: How long does it take you to write a novel on average? What work took the shortest amount of time and what book gave you the most trouble?
Lynsay: Usually a month for the first round, I tend to write them straight through. The fastest I've ever written one was two weeks. That was my first book, The Deed. The one that gave me the most trouble was A Quick Bite. It was my first book for a new publisher and I was a bit anxious (read panicking like CRAZY) so I really struggled with it.
LRP: How do you handle writer's block? (Or better still... coffee or tea?)
Lynsay: Tea . . . and sometimes coffee. As for writer's block, moving work to a coffee shop and writing there by hand in a notebook usually loosens things up.
LRP: What is your favorite aspect of writing?
Lynsay: Finishing it. LOL. That's not really true, though sometimes it is a relief to print them up and send them out. There are several aspects of writing that are great. Working from home is one. My commute is a short walk to the sunroom and I can go there in pjs or a toga if I like (grin).
Making my own hours is nice too, although with me, I tend to not know when to stop, I just work around the clock which isn't good. But I guess the stories themselves are my real favorite part. I am experiencing them as I write them. It's kind of like reading them but it takes longer and involves more work (grin). However, I laugh, or smile my way through the stories, and sniffle at the occasional touching scenes too and for me, that's probably the best part. I get to enjoy the stories as I write them, and I write exactly what I enjoy. I'm just lucky others seem to enjoy them too.
LRP: What do you think makes a good bedroom scene?
Lynsay: I'm not sure. I've been told I write them well, but I'm not sure that's true and if so why it is. I have a friend who has a real struggle with the sex scenes. I think she thinks too much. She seems to think people will think it's her sex life she's writing about, so she gets all self-conscious and is very stiff when writing them. I don't get caught up in that. For me the beginning of the book is where I struggle. I can often write the first chapter or two twenty or more times. I've come to realize that what's happening then is I'm getting to know my characters. Once I have a handle on them (how they think, feel, react, etc) the stories usually flow after that and become a film in my head that I'm just typing up as quickly as I can, sex scenes and all. That gives me a certain amount of distance from it all I guess and less self-consciousness than others might suffer.
LRP: What do you hope your readers will gain from your books?
Lynsay: I hope they get an escape from their everyday lives, a chance to relax and hopefully smile if not laugh. I don't aspire to write something that makes them stop and think or changes their views on anything, I just think life is tough and we all need a break from it and I hope my books give readers the opportunity to do that
LRP: Thank you again Lynsay, for taking the time to answer all my questions.
Lynsay is really friendly and welcomes questions. Be sure to visit her website @ http://www.lynsaysands.net/.
Lynsay also writes a blog, which you can visit @ http://lynsaysands.spaces.live.com/.
Don’t miss out on her upcoming vampire novel this fall: The Rogue Hunter (Argeneau Vampires, Book 10).
What's your favorite book by Lynsay Sands?