I am delighted to welcome the talented and hardworking L.A Witt (also writing as Lauren Gallagher) to my blog. You’re invited to read her very interesting interview and enter the giveaways that follow.
Dooley: You’re an incredibly productive writer. What’s your process?
Witt: The incredibly oversimplified answer is “sit down and write.” Basically, each book starts with a cast of characters and a basic premise. Then, an outline. The complexity of the outline depends on the story. If it’s a straightforward contemporary romance in one POV, then it’s a very vague, loose outline. I know the inciting incident, the turning points, the climax, and resolution, but everything else…eh, I’ll figure it out when I get there. If it’s something more complicated, like a thriller, then it pretty much gets outline within an inch of its life. Ironically, the more complicated the outline, the more frequently and dramatically it’ll change while I’m writing the first draft. My romantic suspense novels get re-outlined almost on a daily basis because I have little epiphanies along the way (“Wait, that character wouldn’t do that”, “Crap, where did he get the gun in this scene?”, etc) that require me to make changes. But one way or another, the book starts with an outline.
Once the outline is together, I start writing. I always start with chapter 1, but I write out of sequence. I’ll flit around the story to different chapters, writing little bits and pieces until the whole thing comes together. The book I’m working on now has 23 chapters, all but one of them are started, and only eight (not sequential) are finished. It’s madness, but it’s how I roll. 😀
As far as productivity goes, the key for me is word counts. I’ve learned to use my OCD to my advantage. Nothing bugs me like an unreached, tangible goal, and numerical milestones are very big motivators for me. As an example, the other night, I was kind of ready to call it a day, but then realized my book was less than 500 words away from the 34,000 mark. Okay, I’ve already written 5,000 today (daily quota), but another 500 words will get me to that point, so why not? 500 words later, I noticed my yearly goal was only 250 words away from crossing some big number or another. 40,000, I think it was. FINE. I can do another 250. And oh look, now I’m almost to 6,000 for the day, so I can squeak out another 250 words. WHAT? Now I’m almost to 35,000 for the book? In the end, I threw in the towel at 7,000. Like I said, using my OCD to my advantage. Most days aren’t quite that insane, but I do push myself to make my daily quota, and it really is an effective carrot on a stick.
So there’s my insane process. Sorry you asked? hehe
Dooley: What was your favorite and least favorite thing about living in Japan?
Witt: Oh, man, you want me to pick ONE? Japan was incredible. The food was amazing (Kobe steak! Japanese curry! Sugar cane ice cream!). The snorkeling around Okinawa was second to none. There were 14th century castle ruins all over the island. The people were awesome. I would go back there in a heartbeat.
Least favorite? Besides eventually having to leave, I would say being that far away from my family and friends.
Witt: The Redwall series by the late Brian Jacques, which I started reading in 5th grade. I think I’ve read Redwall and Mattimeo about a dozen times a piece, plus the others in the series at least once or twice, and still read them occasionally as an adult.
Dooley: How would you defend yourself against a vampire intent on sucking all the blood out of your body?
Witt: Tell him he has a blood clot stuck in his teeth, wait til he looks in a mirror, then run like hell while he tries to figure out how to see if he has something in his teeth when he has no reflection.
Dooley: What three songs would you like to have played at your funeral?
Witt: The Imperial Death March from Star Wars (they played it when I walked down the aisle at my wedding, so it would be a fitting send-off when I croak). Maybe Prop Me Up Against the Jukebox (When I Die) by Alan Jackson, just because. And they’d better play something by 30 Seconds to Mars, because that band is too awesome NOT to be the last thing I hear before they drop me in a hole.
Dooley: What was the last book that made you cry?
Witt: My current work-in-progress, For The Living. I don’t usually write stuff on this end of the tearjerker spectrum, but this one is pretty emotionally intense for me. I spend the first two chapters metaphorically ripping my main character’s guts out, and the rest of the book letting him figure out which way is up. At least my allergies are acting up a little lately, so if my husband hears me sniffling in my office, I can just blame them instead of admitting my book made me cry. Again.
As far as other people’s books? It’s been a long, long time. I’ve been reading a lot of Nabokov, Atwood, and Hemingway for the last year or so, plus some science fiction, and they don’t hit me in the emotional “ouch” places that my own books (and books in my genre) do. So for the life of me, I can’t remember the last time I read something that made me cry.
Dooley: Is there anything you dislike about your own writing?
Witt: Ask me while I’m working on a first draft, I’ll shrug and tell you I’m pretty happy with my writing. Always looking to improve, of course, and I have plenty of flaws just like any other writer, but I’m confident enough to put it out there for people to read.
Ask me while I’m reading a galley copy, and I’ll be the most insecure writer on the planet, convinced every word I’ve ever put to paper is WRONG.
Why? No idea.
Dooley: Do you have any irrational fears?
Witt: Ladders and blue Chevy Astro vans. I wish I was making that up.
Dooley: What’s up next for L.A Witt?
Witt: More smutty goodness, of course! Now that I’m settled into Nebraska and back on some semblance of a schedule, I’m making up for the not-very-productive period from October-December when I was in the process of moving. At the moment, I’m working on The Healing & The Dying, which is the second in the Tooth & Claw series, plus that tearjerker contemporary, For The Living. After that, I’ve got another sequel and some historical stuff in the queue along with a contemporary military romance. This, of course, assumes a particular rabid plot bunny doesn’t attack me in the near future, which it probably will.
I’ll also be focusing a bit more on my hetero work this year (published under the name Lauren Gallagher). Last year I focused almost entirely on M/M, but I really want to balance the two a little more. So on the Gallagher side of things, expect to see some SFF this year, plus another BDSM romance.
Also, now that I’m stateside for the first time in my career, I’ll be going to some conventions and conferences. I’ll definitely be at Authors After Dark in New Orleans this summer, and I’m hoping to go to a few others throughout the year.
In other words, what’s next for L. A. Witt? Being insanely busy, just the way I like it.
Dooley: Best of luck to you!
I’m pleased to share that Ms. Witt is giving away one copy each of her new releases to a random commenter. Here are the choices:
Why are the good ones always taken?
The last thing Amber wants to think about is engagement rings or anything related to engagement rings, but they’re kind of hard to avoid when she makes her living in a jewelry store. Between her job and her last relationship, she’s getting more than a little bit jaded about love and commitment. In fact, she’s ready to change everything in her life, and right now, a man is the last thing she wants.
When gorgeous bartender Jeremy wanders into her store, she’s willing to reconsider what she wants right now, but he’s off the menu: he’s here for an engagement ring.
But as Jeremy comes back again and again to look at the ring, Amber suspects it’s not just the price that keeps him from taking it home. She’d never dream of sabotaging someone’s relationship, but is Jeremy about to make a huge mistake?
Their bond could be the death of them all.
After pleading his case to his wolf clan’s Elders, Levi is granted the right to bond with Ian, his male human lover, on one condition: they must spend one year apart. Then Ian must use only their spiritual connection to find Levi, or the deal is off.
Tracking down his lover is easy for Ian, but Levi isn’t prepared for the changed man who finds him.
The agony of separation was too much for Ian. In a moment of weakness, he reached out—to a vampire. Now he’s a vampire himself, and Levi’s devastation—and rejection—is like a stake to his heart. But it’s nothing compared to the fury of the clan that wants Ian brought to justice for desecrating their most sacred ritual.
Afraid for Ian’s safety, Levi puts the pain aside and races to get to Ian first, but he faces unexpected competition: Darius, Ian’s maker. When they come together, all hell breaks loose, Ian is on the run…and the only way Levi and Darius can save the man they love is to work together.
If they don’t kill each other first.
To enter the giveaway please leave a comment stating which book you would prefer and answering the question: what is the last book you bought as a gift for someone else.
The giveaway will close at 9 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Friday 20th January.