Sunday, October 20, 2013
...Get to know the Lindseys...
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
LF: That I’m obsessive. When I find something that I love, like a book series or show, I put so much energy into finding out everything I can about it, from the characters to the creators. I know it’s probably not something that other people, like my mom or husband, would say is their favorite thing about me, but I love it. Besides, I think it makes me a better writer...when I’m immersed in a project, it’s all I think about. Sometimes I even forget to eat, and I love food!
LP: I’m passionate about a lot of things--movies, reading, writing, laughing, eating, learning, traveling--I don’t get bored very often.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
LF: Definitely my insanely awesome ability to procrastinate. It’s really not so helpful if I’m having a tough writing day…or need to schedule an appointment at the dentist. With the latter, I usually end up going about a year late. I feel sorry for my teeth.
LP: I get sidetracked easily. I’d like to think it is the creative part of my brain, but I think it’s just impatience and lack of focus more times than not. Oh, and I worry too much.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
LF: “I didn’t jump. I took a tiny step, and there conclusions were.” Why? Because it’s Buffy and Joss is a genius, and that’s the only reason I’ll ever need to love that line.
LP: That’s really hard for me...it would have to be “Yippee Ki-yay mother*BLEEP*“ by Bruce Willis or “It’s not a tumor!” by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Most cheesy one-liners make me smile.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
LF: I’d have to say writing and publishing After The Ending independently…with LP, of course! It’s a ginormous, never-ending learning process, but it is so worth it.
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite food?
LF: Cheese, bacon, or tomatoes. It depends on the day.
LP: Breakfast food...and Mexican if I had to choose something else.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
LF: Favorite place I’ve ever been…Tuscany. Favorite place I’ve never been…Egypt. I studied Mediterranean archaeology in college and worked on a dig in Italy. It was the craziest, most amazing experience I’ve ever had. There’s nothing like being the first person to touch a piece of pottery in 2,000 years--it’s like there’s a connection between you and someone who’s been gone for millennia.
LP: While I love traveling around the world and learning about different cultures, there’s something to be said for the serenity of nature and being comfortable in your surroundings. That being said, I love The Ranch. It’s my grandparents’ home located in the hills of Northern California. The Ranch has always inspired me and brought me peace of mind.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
LF: For me, I’d have to say that because my parents encouraged me to be a bookworm, I gained a passion for fiction early on. It started with Matilda and The Witches. Then, my mom suggested I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I read all seven books at least a dozen times. That was my springboard into all of the amazing worlds that can be found in fantasy and science fiction books. Because of that, I eat, sleep, breathe—and write—within those genres.
LP: While reading is a pastime I’ve only embraced in the last five years or so, I’ve always been passionate about writing. Whether it’s a story idea, journal entry, a research piece for the newspaper, or my master’s thesis, I have always had something to write. My family has always encouraged me to do what makes me happy and has supported me in all that I do, allowing me to find what it is that makes me truly happy.
How long have you been writing?
LP: All my life.
LF: I’ve been keeping journals since elementary school, but I’ve only been writing fiction for about six years.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
LP: Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but never felt it was possible until I met LF. We sort of clicked and started brainstorming and one thing led to another. It’s really exciting and encouraging to have someone who feels the way I do about writing--who has the passion and the drive. I don’t know if I would’ve ever gotten this far if we hadn’t met.
LF: Awww...thanks friend! I feel the same way. As for when I first knew I could be a writer...it was a conversation I had with one of my professors when I was an undergrad at the University of Washington. For some reason, I had been under the impression that I wasn’t a very good writer, and his was one of the courses that would earn me a writing credit without actually being a dedicated “writing” class. He called me in for a meeting to discuss one of my papers and ended up convincing me that I really could write. Several years later, I started working on my first manuscript.
What inspired you to write your first book?
LP: Aside from my partnership with LF spurring forward my passion for writing, I have to give the credit to my grandfather. All my life I’ve escaped to The Ranch, spending my summer having some new adventure, writing about it and hovering over my notebook or my computer. My grandpa would always asked me if I was finished yet and when he could read it. He passed away last year right when LF and I started this project. I wish he was here so that I could show him that I finally finished something and that it’s an actual book.
LF: Family is really the thing that inspired me as well, though sort of in an inverse way. I was dealing with some personal and family issues when I started my first manuscript, and writing was the only thing that made me feel any better. It was like therapy...except free. And once I started, I couldn’t stop.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
LP: Throughout my life, I’ve journaled everything that’s happened to me--dreams, heartbreaks, family drama--but, I’ve always been horrible with grammar and it detoured me from enjoying writing anything for other people to read. I had red lines through my essay papers in high school and was struggling to keep good grades in my English classes. When I entered my Junior year, a very passionate, wonderful teacher showed me the power of writing and the fun of reading, and I’ve been writing stories and taking creative writing classes ever since.
LF: For me, I’d say there are two things that have always influenced my writing--my super vivid dreams and the thousands of science fiction and fantasy books I’ve read.
What made you want to be a writer?
LP: I just love it. It feels right.
LF: Same for me. Once I started writing, I felt like I’d finally realized who I really was. Everything else felt forced, but like LP said, writing just feels right.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
LP: I find it difficult to control my impatience. When I’m brainstorming, I get too many ideas that I consider “good stuff” and then I can’t stick with one story. I have so many unfinished stories it’s sort of embarrassing. I think, other than After The Ending, I’ve only ever completed one draft of an entire story. There are always too many ideas floating around in my head, and I become impatient to get to the “good stuff” down. That makes it difficult to stick with one project at a time. I like working on The Ending series with LF because it holds me accountable and I stay focused. I need deadlines.
LF: It’s so funny, because this is probably where we differ the most. I focus on one project so intently that I want to keep revising and reworking...pretty much endlessly. I have to force myself to take a step back and work on something else. But then, the process starts all over again with the new manuscript...
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
LP: It has taught me more about myself, what goes into publishing a book, and the writing process itself. I can’t even begin to explain. I think I’m still absorbing it all. But the one thing that I keep coming back to is...I can do it. I’ve always wanted to publishing a book and we did it! I’ve taken the plunge and it feels...indescribable.
LF: Writing and publishing After The Ending has taught me that sometimes the best things are also the most terrifying. I mean, we created this world, these characters--this story is like our child--and now people we don’t know are reading it...and enjoying it. I just read a review this morning where the reader said she felt like she was a member of the group in the book, and that she didn’t want it to end. Hearing someone say that about our book is absolutely amazing.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
LP: I hope so because that would be absolutely wonderful.
LF: Absolutely yes. I’m all in.
Can you tell us about your main character?
LP: Like most people, Zoe gets in her own way a lot. She over thinks things, which is probably a personification of me, but our similarities end there. She is strong, but she doesn’t realize how strong, at least not yet. She’s always felt disconnected from her family for a reason she doesn't understand, and her internal conflicts have jaded her--that’s why she cherishes Dani’s friendship so much. Dani provides the balance Zoe needs to be happy and feel normal--Dani makes her laugh, live and gives her something to look forward to as she struggles to uncover and understand the family secrets that have loomed over her for as long as she can remember.
LF: Dani is a petite redhead with a quirky personality. She’s passionate, silly, and willing to give up everything to help the people she loves. For all of her life, she’s felt survivor’s guilt over the death of her mother--she died in childbirth--which is only compounded during the events of The Ending. She draws strength from Zoe, who has always looked out for her, and considers her to be more of a sister than simply a friend.
Who designed the cover?
LP: We came up with the concept together, wanting to have a cover that was different, simple and that left people curious as to what the book was about. Once we agreed on the images and the overall concept, LF did the formatting and made an amazing cover that I am so very proud of.
LF: It was a lot of work--a lot of learning--but I’m really happy with the end product. That being said, I make no claims of being a cover designer, and I have immense respect for the truly talented cover designers out there.
Who is your publisher?
LP: Wanting to retain as much creative licensing as possible, we started our own publishing company, L2 Books, that we run out of my house. So, not only am I a new homeowner, but we’re new business owners as well. I think it’s safe to say we’re grown-ups now.
LF: I don’t know if I’d go that far, LP. Grown-ups is quite a claim...
Will you write others in this same genre?
LP: We plan to write four books in this series and who knows what we will tackle together after that. I have some Sci-fi story ideas I’d like to work on personally, but typically Sci-fi isn’t my preferred reading genre--it’s not my comfort zone--so it will be interesting to see where my next, individual project takes me. Probably somewhere in the contemporary romance genre.
LF: Yes, absolutely. The science fiction and fantasy genres are a part of me. For me, writing in another genre would be like writing in a foreign language.
How much of the book is realistic?
LP: Although our book is fiction, we tried to make it as realistic as possible. We did as much research as we could before taking our own creative licenses and adding things into our post-apocalyptic world that might not have been there otherwise. Overall, we did try to keep the reader engaged and constantly thinking “what if?”.
LF: There were a few “real world” things that we tweaked for the sake of the storyline, possibly the most obvious being that the internet stays up for several weeks after almost everyone is dead, but we stuck with it because of the way the project originated. In the beginning, the entire thing was epistolary--it was all written in the form of emails between Dani and Zoe. We changed that, thankfully, but felt the need to retain the email communications because they were the original heart of the story--everything else formed around them.
How important do you think villains are in a story?
LP: They are very important. Without the villains, my characters would remain static. The villains definitely help drive the story.
LF: Beyond that, I think it’s important that some of the villains are hard to distinguish...and that some of the good guys might really be villains in disguise. It’s the gray characters who make things really interesting.
What are your goals as a writer?
LP: I would love nothing more than to be able to write for a living, but only if I could write something I’m passionate about, that I feel connected to, and something that brings me joy.
LF: I want to write science fiction and fantasy novels that transport people to another world, or another version of our world. I want people to feel like they’ve been to my worlds, met my characters, and been touched by their struggles and successes. If I can do that with my writing, I’ll be happy.
Have you started another book yet?
LP: When I’m not working part time for a non-profit organization, I am working on my chapters for book two, Into The Fire.
LF: Along with Into The Fire, I’m just putting the finishing touches on Echo Prophecy, the first book in my debut solo series. It’s a paranormal romance slash time travel novel with strong mythological connections to Ancient Egypt. It follows a young archaeologist, Lex, as she uncovers a historical mystery, a terrifying prophecy, and an ancient, powerful species that has been hiding among humans for millennia. I’m aiming to release it in late summer.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
LP: Writing full time and enjoying life. Hopefully I’ll have the time to get back into horseback riding again as well. I miss it, a lot.
LF: Writing, globe-trotting with my husband, and spending a lot of time in my garden.
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment?
LP: My guilty pleasure is reading J.R. Ward’s, Black Dagger Brotherhood. I’m catching up on her latest books in the series, anxiously waiting for the Blay/Quinn story to come out.
LF: I’m totally addicted to George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I also just started The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa and am loving it.
Are there any new authors that helped inspire you?
LP: We’ve met Tahereh Mafi a couple times and she’s so quirky and fun. I think in a lot of ways she reminds us of...us. Watching her grow and succeed as an author has definitely been inspirational. We loved Shatter Me and can’t wait to see where the rest of her series leads us.
LF: Good answer. Ditto.
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out?
LP: I just discovered Scrivener and I love it! It keeps me organized and I need that to stay focused.
LF: Yeah, I’m on board with Scrivener too. Also, post-its are the greatest outlining and plotting tool ever invented.
Do you have any advice for writers?
LP: Go with your gut and keep in mind that you will NEVER please everyone--that latter is something I’m coming to terms with during this process.
LF: Put your manuscript aside for several months--like lock it away in a safe and don’t peek at it even once--and then when you look at it again, you’ll have all these new ideas for improving it. I know a ton of people have already said it, but there’s a reason--they’re right!
What do you do to unwind and relax?
LP: I love curling up and watching movies with my man or drinking wine and laughing with my friends.
LF: I spend a lot of time cooking--like several hours a day--and I listen to an audiobook while I’m doing it. It’s akin to meditation for me. Also, gardening, walking, and running...also while listening to an audiobook. Haha, I’m totally an audible.com junkie.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?
LP: That I am capable of achieving my dreams.
LF: Writing something that other people can connect to...a story and characters that make them feel something. Even though it’s what we were trying to do, I’m still astonished. It feels amazing.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have?
LP: I did everything I wanted to and have no regrets. I want to have enjoyed the path I chose, my life.
LF: I would like to think that my work, my writing, meant something to somebody else. That would make all of the time and effort worth it.