Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Lashell Collins, author of the Paranormal Trilogy, Lunar Falls, as well as romantic suspense series, The Kelly Family, and the Rockstar romance series, Jagged Ivory!
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Welcome to PNRLovers, Lashell.
Haha! Well, that's a really broad question! Let's see, I'm sort of a geeky, quirky, laid back kind of girl. I'm married to a retired cop who acts as my technical consultant on all of my cop-related romantic suspense stories. Most notably, I take his old work stories and turn them into storylines for my ongoing Kelly Family series. If you haven't read it, the Kelly Family is about a large family of police officers, and their journeys to true love and happiness. I get a lot of compliments from readers on how real the stories seem, and how well they seem to be researched, and that's because I take advantage of my husband's expertise in the field of police work.
I'm a bit of a science fiction nut. I'm a HUGE Star Trek fan. I love Star Wars. In fact, I'm one of those people who totally does not get the controversy over which one is better. To me, they are both amazing and wonderful, and comparing the two is like comparing apples to oranges. It's two completely different worlds created by two uniquely different men, both geniuses in their own right, and the franchises should each be appreciated for what they are, not pitted against each other in some unfair competition.
I'm sorry, I just went off on a little tangent about two fictional worlds, didn't I? Anywhoo ... what else can I tell you about me? Most people who follow me even a little bit know that I am a music lover who is completely obsessed with Todd Kerns. If you don't know who that is, Google him and you'll understand. He is beautiful, funny and extremely talented. Um ... I'm a big animal lover; I used to work as a Veterinary Technician before I started writing. I love General Hospital. My favorite food is Chinese. I'm a Capricorn who enjoys long walks on the beach. Jk.
Um ... I enjoy rollercoasters unless they have a loop. Not a fan of going upside down at all!
I once visited Michael Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch. Spent the entire day there. It was amazing and breathtakingly beautiful, and an experience I'll never forget.
What advice would you give a novice writer to get them off on the right track when publishing romance? Would that advice be different for someone wanting to write Paranormal Romance?
My best advice would be to get different eyes on your manuscript. Do not attempt to edit yourself, that is the biggest mistake in the whole self-publishing game, in my opinion. Nothing causes more harm to your career than a poorly edited book. And that advice would be the same for all genres.
Are you a goals oriented kind of author? If so, what kind of goals have you set for yourself for the next year? The next five?
I never used to think of myself as a goal oriented kind of author, but the longer I'm in this thing, the more I see the benefits of being goal oriented. And I'm sure that's probably true no matter what profession you're in. Goals are simply a great way to keep yourself moving forward, and keep yourself on a designated path or on track.
My main goal for this next year is to learn how to set up and stick to a production schedule. Knowing what releases I'm planning for the next year, and working toward only those instead of getting sidetracked with other projects is a big one for me. I have so many stories on my mind, waiting for their moment in the sun, and the only way to get to them all is to prioritize them and learn to stick to a production schedule.
How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula, or character maps?
I'm always fascinated by those authors who just sit down and start writing. Pantsers, we call them in this business because they create a story by “flying by the seat of their pants.” My best friend is a pantser and I'm in awe. Every time I've tried to write a story this way, it goes nowhere. It's the only time I ever experience writer's block. I am a plotter. My process is to plot out the entire story from start to finish before I write a single word. I have to see the whole thing in my head like a movie. That's the only way it works for me.
As for my characters, I don't use any sort of set formula. I create my stories with Scrivener, which is a downloadable program for writers of all sorts. Under the fiction option, you're given what they call Character Sheets that allow you to create a basic sketch of your characters – things like their physical description, their personality traits, their background/history, their purpose in the story and their occupation. Even things like their habits and manerisms. There's space to include an image, which I always take advantage of and add a picture of the actor/model/singer that I envision in the role. It's very helpful.
Tell us a bit about your writing day. How much time do you spend researching, writing and promoting? What has to happen for you to feel you’ve had a successful writing day?
That's a tricky subject right there. I used to spend all of my time writing, like all day. And that's the way I prefer it. But 2015 was all about marketing and promoting for me. I never used to do much promoting at all. What I've learned is that it's sort of a double-edged sword. Yeah, more people know my name now, more readers are finding my books ... but I have so much less time to actually write anymore because promoting is such a huge time suck. And I realize that I'm still new to the whole marketing side of things, but it sort of kicks you in the backside until you figure out how to put it in its proper place. Unfortunately, I feel like I'm still trying to figure that out.
For me to feel like I've had a successful writing day, I have to have written at least two thousand words, preferably more.
What, in your opinion, is going to go out of favor in the romance reader world over the next year? What do you think will be the next “big thing”?
Hmm. I think this new stepbrother fad will go out of favor pretty quickly. At least, I hope it goes out of favor quickly, I should say. And I don't mean any disrespect to anyone who writes stepbrother romance, so please don't take it that way. But, for me personally, there's an ick factor there that I can't get past, no matter how irrational it may be. I get that these lovers are only siblings by marriage, but I can't get into that. It's a turn off.
As for what might be the next big thing ... I have no clue. Or maybe I do, and I just don't want to share it!
And now for the silly... given the choice, which of your characters would you become, and why?
Now that's a toss up. I would either want to be Mercy Holland, from my Jagged Ivory series, because she falls in love with guitar god, Noah Ivory, and lives happily ever after with him. Not to mention her very cool job of being the band's official tour photographer. Or, I would want to be Dr. Carly Tipton, from my Lunar Falls trilogy, because she stumbles onto this amazing world of werewolves and pack politics, hiding right in her own family tree, that she never knew existed before. It sends her on an incredible journey of self-discovery that ultimately leads to her becoming the mate of the sexy GrandAlpha over all five packs, Gabriel Masters.
And that question was NOT silly at all.
What’s coming down the pike for Lashell Collins? When can we expect to see it released to the world?
Up next for me is book one of my new paranormal rockstar romance series, the Rock Shifter Fairytales. The name of book one is Soul Stealer. It's about a reporter named Aleigha Daniels who is tasked with interviewing the very sexy and eccentric shifter rock star, Morpheus Wolfe, at his creepy mansion out in the middle of nowhere. Here's the tagline for it:
What do you get when you cross a smoking hot rock star with a sexy wolf shifter, then throw in a heaping dose of gothic fairytale enchantment? Aleigha Daniels is about to find out!
Soul Stealer releases in just a few days on December 6th, and you can pre-order it now on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and iTunes.
Can you share an excerpt of your upcoming book, or recently released one?
Sure. Here you go. This is from Soul Stealer...
“For fun?” Aleigha looked at him as though she didn’t fully understand the concept.
“Fun. Enjoyment. An activity engaged in purely for amusement … like sex, for instance.” He stared into her eyes, and Aleigha was certain that he was merely attempting to get a rise out of her.
“Sex is not an activity for pure amusement, Mr. Wolfe. It has a purpose.”
“Hmm. Procreation of the species.” He nodded his head as his bright amber eyes bored into hers. “If that’s all you’re using it for, Ms. Daniels, I’m sorry to inform you that you’re doing it all wrong.”
“How I may, or may not use sex is none of your concern, Mr. Wolfe.”
“But it could be, if you’d let me help you out with that little problem of yours.” His smile was almost salacious as his eyes roamed over her body.
“Problem? I wasn’t aware I had a problem.” Aleigha glared at him as she tried to get her temper under control. The fact that she liked the way he looked at her only served to make her angrier.
“Oh, you have a very big problem.”
“Is that so?”
“What’s my problem, Mr. Wolfe? Please enlighten me.”
“You’re a little uptight, Ms. Daniels.”
“Uptight? I’m uptight?”
“I think you’re mistaking uptight for professional, sir! I am not a groupie! I know you’re supposed to be some kind of rock and roll guitar god, but I’m not impressed in the least. I find you rude, arrogant, and highly inappropriate! You get off on this whole super scary shifter persona and try to make yourself seem really deep and intellectual, when in reality you are nothing more than common shifter riffraff!”
“Ah, there it is. Well, that didn’t take long, did it?” Morpheus eyed her with an expression of triumph.
“What are you talking about? There what is?”
“Your true feelings, Ms. Daniels. I knew they would show up eventually.”
Aleigha was instantly pissed. “You know nothing about my true feelings, Mr. Wolfe. You don’t know anything about me!”
“I know you don’t want to be here doing this interview. You’re only here to save your father’s show. I suspect you don’t want to be anywhere near me at all, and why would you? I’m a monster, right? I’m the beast you’ve been warned about. But tell me something, just to satisfy my own curiosity.” He leaned in close to her, causing Aleigha to draw in a deep breath and hold it as his amber eyes seemed to look into her soul. “Is it just me who terrifies you, Ms. Daniels, or is it all shifters?”
Where can our readers find you online? Do you have a newsletter they could join?
I can be found at the following places. And yes, I do have a newsletter. Here's the link for that too:
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/LashellCollinsAuthor/