Featured Author: Lori Titus November 23, 2010Posted by Jaidis in Featured Authors.
I’m happy to announce that Juniper Grove is starting a new Featured Author section! Each week I will post a new Featured Author, along with an interview so that you can get to know the author better! For those authors who request it, I will also be posting a review of their book. Now, to get the ball rolling, I’d like to announce our first Featured Author…Lori Titus!!
Lori Titus started writing at ten years of age, spurred on by nightmares and a steady diet of The Twilight Zone, Bewitched, and Edgar Allan Poe. In 2008, Lori became serious about her secret writing hobby and started submitting short stories to horror sites. Since then she has been published by ShadeWorks, MicroHorror, DemonMinds, Crimson Highway, The New Flesh and Flashes in the Dark.
Without giving too much away, can you tell us what this book is about?
The book is called Hailey’s Shadow. It’s a novella about a woman who claims to be tormented by dark figures that she calls “shadows” which foretell the future.
How long did it take you to write Hailey’s Shadow?
The first draft only took about three days, but it’s been through numerous re-writes since then.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
You’ll want to read it because Hailey is a sexy, frightening woman that makes you want to find out what makes her tick.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I knew when I was about ten years old that I wanted to be a writer, but I grew up and started chasing more practical concerns. It wasn’t until three years ago that I got serious about it again.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Probably the amount of time that I can let an idea sit before really working on it. I always keep story ideas around, but a lot of what I’m working on now were storylines I thought of more than ten years ago.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I read, and I edit other writers work. I listen to a lot of music.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family has been largely supportive. There’s one or two that think writing is an odd endeavor, and don’t really understand why anyone would want to do it. But I have other family members who are my biggest cheerleaders.
How many books have you written so far?
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
I consider Lazarus to be my real first book, and I am still celebrating! I was expecting the book to be out in October. I was on the internet one night, and happened to stumble across it on Amazon.com. It had been out for a day, and I didn’t know it! I wrote a lot of emails that night, and there were a lot of congratulation calls that next morning.
Which book was the most enjoyable for you to write? What about the least enjoyable?
Lazarus was both the most enjoyable and the most difficult. The words came to me hard and fast, and I felt like I couldn’t get everything down as fast as I wanted to. I went through ten days or so with little jags of sleep, three hours here and four hours there. By the end of the book, I was sleeping during the day and staying up all night. Some of the zombie action was also invading my dreams, so every time I had a nightmare I got up and wrote about it. Still, it was incredibly satisfying. There is a little punch at the end of that story that made me stand up and say “no he didn’t!” Things fell right into place, as if this were someone’s life and I was just writing it down.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a published author?
First of all, write. A lot. Read. A lot. Experiment with your work and hone it for a time before you start putting work out for publication. Watch movies and listen to stories. Look for the things that made you like or dislike books that you’ve read. Learn what plot devices work, which don’t, and why.
When you’re ready to submit, send your work all over. There is a publisher out there for any writer who is good at what they do– the biggest trick is finding the right one.
Whether or not you chose a publisher or self publish–educate yourself about the process as much as you can. And don’t expect to be perfect, but do the best you can. Like most jobs, becoming a writer is more about the day to day push to get things done than anything else. Stick with it. Be tenacious. Don’t give up.
Do you hear from your readers much?
Yes and no. I get emails from people that read my stories, but they come in spurts. I won’t hear anything for a while and then suddenly, I’m getting a lot of comments. I have been pleased that everything so far has been pretty positive.
What do you think makes a good story?
You have to care about the characters. They can be good, bad, or an enigmatic mix of both. But the reader has to see something in them that makes them relate to the characters on a personal level. Next, the plot needs to intrigue the reader and move the action along. Reading should make you feel like you’re experiencing something in another person’s skin.
What genre do you find the most difficult to write in and why?
Comedy. I have been able to write things with humorous elements, but I have never been able to write anything that was mostly humor.
Outlines? Are they needed or just a waste of time?
It depends on what you’re writing. If it’s a story that takes place over a set amount of hours or days, or a complex story that requires world building, they can be a necessity.
If you had it to do all over again, is there anything that you would change in any of your books?
I don’t think I’d change anything. Not to say that they’re perfect, but we do learn from our mistakes.
Is there anything that you find challenging in your writing?
Finding the time to get it done between my regular work and all normal things like doing laundry and running errands. No matter what the rest of my day is like, I look forward to the hours and days I can concentrate on my writing.
Do you ever experience writer’s block and if so, how to you overcome it?
I’ve never suffered writer’s block, but there were periods of time in the past when I didn’t write because of other things going on in my life.
What is the last book you read?
The last book I read was Mr. Moon’s Nightmares.
If you could take any book and rewrite it, putting your own twist on it, which book would it be and why?
There are so many books to choose from! I’d love to take one of the later books from P.C and Kristin Cast’s House of Night Series and rewrite it. I loved the way that series started, but it seemed to lose its fire along the way.
Is there anything you need in order to write? (ie music, silence, chocolate)
I prefer to have something going in the background–music, television, something to break up the silence. Writing horror late at night alone and in complete silence is not a good idea.
I understand you have a website called Flashes in the Dark. Can you tell us what Flashes in the Dark is all about?
Flashes in the Dark is a website that features a new story daily. They are all short stories, one thousand words or less. The vision of the site is to help promote new writers, and get people into reading more fiction. Our readers make the site part of their routine, catching stories on lunch breaks and such. The stories are a great, momentary escape.
Is there anything exciting or new that is going to be appearing on Flashes in the Dark?
Starting November 24th, we’re featuring a new serial in the spot usually reserved for Marradith Ryder. It’s an eleven part serial I wrote called The Daughters of Warring. While the story is set during the holiday season, it’s not warm and fuzzy. There’s death, drama, deceit, magic…lots of things I love in a story.
How do you choose which stories appear on your website?
My co-editor Bob Eccles and I review all the stories. We look for content, a good twist, and a voice that keeps us interested all the way through.
Night owl or Early bird?
Night owl! Some of my nights have turned into early mornings.
If you could have dinner with 1 person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I think I’ll skip the dead people. I’d have dinner with Oprah.
If you could travel into the past or future, where would you go and why?
I’d like to go to the future, to see what frightening things mankind is going to do to itself over the next three hundred years. But I’d only do it if I had a guaranteed way to get back home, so I could go write about it.
What does the word success mean to you?
Of course, to have books out there making enough money to earn a living off of would be great. It’s easy to get stuck on that part of it. However, I already think of myself as successful, just because I have books out there. These characters that used to only exist in my imagination have a “life” that others can read about now, and that’s a big thing.
If you had to compare yourself to an animal, which one would it be and why?
A cat. Quiet and independent, but always observant.
If you were written about on the front page of the newspaper, what would the headline be?
Hopefully, it would be on The Los Angeles Times and read: “Local Writer Makes it Big on Bestseller’s List.”
If you had to have one word or phrase written on your forehead for an entire week, what would it be?
It would be two words. It would say “Read Me.”
To visit Flashes in the Dark, just click the link above. Also, Hailey’s Shadow was due out this month but has been pushed back slightly. However, you can get her other novel Lazarus