Monday, March 14, 2016
I first became interested in Lela Markham's books in a chat room session.Several of us had responded to her questions on society in the aftermath of an attack on our country.
Her insights impelled me to pick up her books, including pre-ordering her newest book to be released tomorrow, the 15th of March, entitled Mirklin Wood. It was a small jump to asking her for an interview ~
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was born a writer. My parents claimed I told stories as soon as I could talk and my imagination was always in demand among my playmates. I first wrote down a story when I was 12 and it just grew from there. I wrote stories mainly for my own amusement for many years, but I was about 20 when I knew I wanted to be a published author someday.
How long does it take you to write a book?
That varies according to the genre. Daermad Cycle (The Willow Branch and Mirklin Wood) are epic fantasy, which is extremely complex with many story lines and even some time shifts, but they are actually extracted from a larger draft I spent about 15 years dabbling with, so the rewrite only takes me a year, sometimes less, sometimes more. I have no idea how long it would take to actually write a completely new fantasy.
Transformation Project (Life As We Knew It and the future Objects in View) is set in contemporary United States, so is not nearly so complex. I've found I can write one of those books in six months or less.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I write when I can, fitted around my life, but when I get into the finishing-this-novel mode, I usually try to do an hour a night and two hours on Saturday and Sunday.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Characters appear in my mind that want to tell me their stories, so I write them down.
How do books get published?
I'm self-published, so I'm chief cook and bottle washer - writer, editor, proofreader, formatter, cover designer, publisher, and marketer. I do have beta readers and my family are pressed into proofreading and cover feedback, but it's pretty much me driving it all.
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Fantasy stems from a love of reading the genre and listening to Enya or some other Celtic inspired music.
Transformation Project grew from reading the newspapers and seeing just how much trouble I believe our country is in and then musing about Barack Obama's promise to fundamentally transform the culture of our country. I asked myself "What would it take to actually do that?" and I came up with an overwhelming terrorist attack.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was in high school and it wasn't very good.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
It depends on the season. I hike, bike, canoe, fish, berry pick, and assist with cabin building in the summers. In the winters, I quilt, read, and help with home improvement projects.
What does your family think of your writing?
It's something I've always done. My husband says he's always supported my writing, but he sometimes feels less than a priority. My kids say they wouldn't know what life would be like without a writer-mom.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I'm an anarchist who really doesn't just want small government, but wants the people to actually be in charge.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have no idea how many books I've written. I've published three and I'm working toward publishing a fourth. My favorite is definitely the fantasy series, but I have a work-in-progress unrelated to either published series that would be a close second.
Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
I wouldn't presume to give you advice, Paula, but I would tell novice writers to read everything and write a lot.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Except for family and some reviews on Amazon, I haven't heard from readers much.
Do you like to create books for adults?
Yes, but I don't think adults need salacious sex and gratuitous violence to enjoy a good book.
What do you think makes a good story?
Great lifelike characters who have a compelling story to tell, set in a realistic world.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
When I was really little, I think I wanted to be a professional chef because my dad was. I went through a period when I wanted to be an architect. And then in high school, I decided that I wanted to be a reporter. I still love to cook, I've designed some decks and a cabin (with help from my husband) and I was a reporter before I realized you don't make much money for all the hours you put in.
Lela's Amazon Link
Above The Cut - Lela Markham - review of her book Life As We Knew It at Paul and Paula's Books