Interviewing Lauren Dawes!
Lauren Dawes is the author of the Half Blood Series, an urban fantasy/paranormal series featuring werewolves, vampires and half-bloods, oh my. What's a half-blood, you ask? Well, you'll have to check out the books on amazon to find out. I swear, it's worth your time.
Her official bio warns (among other things) that, "You won't find any friendly vampires between the pages of her books; just blood, teeth and violence." But never fear - she's got a sweet side too - her bio also says, "When she's not writing, she's reading or teaching. She currently lives in Victoria, Australia with her husband and cat."
So let's just jump right into the interview, shall we?
Brandi; How long have you been writing/wanting to write?
Lauren; I started properly writing in 2009, and it got so serious that I actually quit my job as an ESL teacher so that I could write full-time in August 2010. I was just really lucky to have my (now) husband be so supportive when it came to the financial side of things. Before that, my first attempt at writing a story was when I was 13. I wrote about 30 pages and it was finished. I really enjoyed doing creative writing while at high school, but I never really considered doing anything with it until much later.
Brandi; What gave you the idea for the Half Blood Series?
Lauren; I remember looking around the book stores and seeing the same kind of plotline over and over again. My first thought was: If these people can write a book, why can't I? My second thought was: Why do they have to be so tame? So, I went home and I started writing the first draft of half Blood in all its gory glory.
Brandi; How did you think up all of the things that Indi had been through, and were those things hard to write?
Lauren; I needed Indi to be an emotional wreck. I had to think about what kind of trauma would do that to a woman. Of course sexual assault was right on top of that list. I needed her to be broken, and for her to have put herself back together, but in a way that was skewed. She may have been "fixed," but underneath, the cracks were still showing. Writing some of the scenes was very emotionally draining. I would write them, then just leave my desk for a while and focus on something else. What happened to Indi was horrific, but the scariest thing about it was that it is a reality for so many other women.
Brandi; Where did the idea for a "half-blood" come from? When I read your books, that was something completely new to me, so it made me wonder a bit if there are any other books out there featuring the same concept that maybe inspired you.
Lauren; I guess the idea evolved because I hadn't really seen it anywhere else before. Richelle Mead has a similar concept in her 'Vampire Academy' series, but with that they were almost specially bred. Half-bloods are more anomalies. I started a novella explaining how they first came into being, but I haven't got around to finishing yet.
Brandi; I'd really love to see that! I also loved how each book sort of left off with the reader always wanting more, and sometimes a bit of a cliff hanger. Right up until the end of the third book, you keep the pages turning. Will there be a fourth book to satisfy the hunger of the Half Blood readers?
Lauren; Some people hate cliff hangers in books. Personally, I love them! I've definitely made some notes for another book with a focus on Alex D'Angelo. He was left writhing in agony the last time we saw him. There are a few other characters that need their stories told too, like Brax and Saxon, but I have no immediate plans for them just yet.
Brandi; Are you working on something currently? And if you are, what are you willing to tell about it?
Lauren; I am actually. It's still very hush-hush at the moment. It's an urban fantasy/paranormal romance story and all I can tell you is that it turns mythology on its head.
Brandi; Oooh, I'm intrigued! But if you can't tell any more, you can't tell any more. So we'll move on to this - what do you like best about the writing lifestyle?
Lauren; Not having to get up and go to 'work' in the morning. It's a very strange lifestyle. Some days you won't want to write a single word. Others, you might write 5000 in one sitting. Sometimes inspiration finds you in the morning; at other times in the dead of night (which is exactly what happened to me last night). When my husband is home, I generally stay away from the computer after dinner unless I still have something that needs to be written down. But when he's away, I sometimes stay up until 2 or 3am just working.
Brandi; Have you ever thought of doing a book tour or anything like that?
Lauren; I think I'll be doing a book tour with the next project. I like the idea of them. You get mass exposure which is always a good thing.
Brandi; Do you ever wish that traditional publishing had worked out?
Lauren; Sometimes, I see how some authors travel around to meet their fans and do book signings and I think that would be really fun. But at the same time, being an Indie, there's a lot more freedom so you can stay as true to your work as you want.
Brandi; What do you think are the real pros and cons to self-publishing?
Lauren; Great question - a tough one, but a great one.
- PRO: Complete control over your work.
- PRO: Monetary - you don't have to pay a commission to your agent/publisher. I'm not saying you don't have to pay any commission because that's not true. I published through Amazon's KDP and they still receive a royalty.
- PRO: You can have fun getting promotional materials made up.
- PRO: You're more connected with fans. i.e. you can have more interaction with them via social media.
- CON: Self-promotion can be hard to do on your own. If you had an agent, some of that work would be done for you.
- CON: If you are unable to do the work yourself, paying someone to make cover art up for you can get quite expensive. This goes for promotional items as well.
- CON: You spend a lot of your time not just writing but also on social media, trying to build up your presence.
Brandi; If you could say anything to people out there who are writing their hearts out but afraid to pursue publishing or intimidated by the process, what would you say to them?
Lauren; Inspirational words ... I guess I would say don't give up. I know it sounds cliche and everything, but it's true. I had a friend who totally gave up on her own dream because of one rejection. Could you imagine a world where J.K. Rowling gave up on trying to sell Harry Potter just because she got rejected? I would also tell them to get in touch with other Indie authors. We all had to start somewhere, and it was all in the same spot. If you're struggling to find other Indies, look at book review blogs and get in touch with the blogger. They will point you in the right direction. The Indie world is a great one to be in. I'm always asking other Indies about where they got their promotional material made up, who their designers are, or how they went about doing something.
Brandi; Thanks for taking the time out of your top secret project to sit down to the burning questions. Is there anything else you'd like to say to readers/fans at this point?
Lauren; No problem. It was fun to get away from all the death and destruction for an afternoon. I'd like to just tell them to stay tuned for more Helheim pack boys, and get ready to fall in love with my new sexy characters (hopefully) in June 2013.
Wanna stalk Lauren all over the web because she's so awesome? Yes? Well then, feel free to check her out on Facebook, Twitter, her Blog, Goodreads, her Website, and of course, on Amazon. I can personally vouch for how well-written her books are, and am endlessly impressed by her attention to detail both in the writing and in the production of the final product.