1. How's Isolation 2020 coming?
It's amusing that you ask me about ISOLATION 2020. My partner scolded
me last night for talking about my half-finished projects. She said that
it is totally unfair if I get people's hopes up for specific topics or
plots, and then it takes forever to produce the completed story. She asked
me, "What if you never finish that? How can you lead readers on that
2. How has your life changed since your first book contract?
My first book contract was a fiasco that I try to forget ever happened.
From it, I learned how important it is to research a market, a publisher,
and the details of a contract. All my subsequent contracts and publisher
dealings have been great. My life has changed in many ways, the most important
being that my partner and I were able to put into effect a 5 year plan
to allow me to quit the "sucky day job" and write full-time.
As things turned out, we reached our 5 year goals in a little less than
three years, and for all of 2003, I have been able to write full-time.
3. What do you find the most challenging aspect of writing for a living?
Lack of funds. The coin of the realm doesn't come easily in writing.
4. How do you name your characters? Is there anything that makes you lean more toward one name than another?
I try to pick distinctive names that read well and are somewhat easy
to remember as well as to associate with the character. Sometimes I start
out thinking of a character by a certain name-or spelling of a name-and
after time goes by, something doesn't seem quite right. As I write, it
just seems like the character grows into the name-or not, and then I adjust.
5. It is said that an author should be well read. What makes you choose one book over another if you've never read either one before?
I totally agree that an author should be well-read-and not just in the
field s/he is most often writes in. Every genre, style, and topic is useful
to read if only to observe the use of language or the structure of the
piece. The more a writer reads and analyzes, the more tricks of the trade
can be learned.
6. What is the best kind of research for you?
There is no single kind of research that I like the most or that works
best for me. I find that a combination of library, internet, workplace,
and interview research usually gives me what I need to know in order to
write the majority of a book. For instance, to write the GUN cop novels,
I read a number of books (fiction and non-fiction) containing stories
about crime, police organizations, and interesting individuals. I scoured
the internet and hung out in chat rooms that were for cops. I visited
one of the St. Paul police stations, talked to officers there, and went
on a ride-along with a sergeant. I interviewed a few current and former
policemen & women, and I had a beta reader who worked patrol in Michigan.
That gave me a lot of information, real-life stories, and an overall worldview
to help me understand what it was like to be a cop.
7. How have you changed personally since your first book came out?
I'm older and wiser. I hate to admit, but I started into the publishing
process with stars in my eyes. Since then, I've discovered what a tremendous
amount of work it is-and the work doesn't end when you finish the book!
I have had to learn a lot of things about promotions and editing, book
production and distribution. It's been a fascinating learning process.
8. What's your biggest challenge in writing a how-to book?
Torn loyalties about time. Along with a number of fiction projects, I've actually got two how-to books up there spinning on sticks, and both are time-consuming challenges. One is a writing instruction book, and the other deals with marketing small press books. I try to parcel out time for both fiction and non-fiction, but at times, something is sure to get the short shrift, and it's usually the how-to books.
9. Now that you have a few books and more experience behind you, has your view on sex scenes changed in any way?
I don't think my view has changed. There are a multitude of other authors who write erotica SO MUCH better than I do. I'd rather they attended to that while I focus on other aspects of story. I'm still not writing "sex" scenes, but I do include love scenes which I hope integrate well into the plot and allow for continued explication of character and relationships.
10. How did you decide to make Luella a character in Gun Shy? How did you decide that Dez would share a duplex with Luella?
The spirit of Luella is based upon a woman I knew in my late 20s. She
was a loving and courageous elderly woman who had lived through early
deaths in her family, great poverty, racism, segregation in the South,
and other indignities, but she had never let any of it put out the fire
in her heart and soul. She was especially kind to young people, regardless
of their color or orientation or educational level. She always said she
loved all God's children and that if everyone would follow Christ's example,
the whole world would be a better place. She died a decade ago in her
early 90s, but I will never forget her. Luella is a younger version of
her, transplanted to Minnesota.
© 2003 Lori L. Lake