“I’ve written in airports, waiting rooms, planes (including on the floor of a cargo jet)… even in the emergency room.” - Interview with L.A. Witt
We’re very happy to have M/M author L.A. Witt (Lori) as our guest today! Both Sharon and I are a fan of her writing, so we bundled up our questions to ask her a few things about her books. Lori is the author of the sweet romance series Changing Plans; Getting off the Ground, Infinity Pools and the third one coming out this Sunday, On The List. And this is only the tip of the iceberg with this versatile author. She covers contemporary, paranormal, ménage, erotica and now BDSM romances. As if that wasn’t enough, she also writes M/F erotica and romance under the name Lauren Gallagher.
Check out what Lori has to say about fan input, why she shifts between so many different genres/subgenres and who her favorite musical band is. Stick around to the end because Lori is giving away any ebook from her backlist – winner’s pick!
Hello Lori and welcome to Rarely Dusty Books!
Janna: Your upcoming release On The List is the third book of a series and at your website you write about sequels: "It's always a possibility, but not every book will have a sequel." At what point in the writing process do you decide if a book gets a sequel/ turns into a series? Do requests from readers for sequels play any part in that decision?
It depends on the books. With the Changing Plans series (of which On The List is book #3), I knew before I finished outlining Getting off the Ground that there would be a sequel. I didn’t actually plan on writing the third book until after Infinity Pools was published, and a reviewer commented that she was sad to see their story end, even if they did get a HEA. So I gave it some thought, and realized I’d left room for one more small story thanks to some comments Derek made in Infinity Pools.
Rules of Engagement, so I wrote Rain. Similarly, a lot of readers wanted Kieran from The Distance Between Us get his own story, so I wrote The Closer You Get, which will be out in November. If enough readers tell me they want to see a sequel to a particular book, I listen. I mean, sometimes the story is over and there simply isn’t a sequel. But most of the time, when multiple readers want one, they’re seeing something I’m not, so I take heed, and they’re usually right. So yes, reader feedback absolutely plays a role in whether or not a book gets a sequel.
As for ongoing series, it just depends. The Given & The Taken was definitely the start of a series. It was almost too much story to fit into one book, and there’s so much more ground I want to cover with those characters, so it was a foregone conclusion before I ever started writing it that there would be more books. On the other hand, both Cover Me and Light Switch were written and submitted/sold when I realized they were the perfect preludes to Trust Me and Reconstructing Meredith, respectively. Both of those sequels were written and sold before the third books, Search Me and Meredith Reclaimed, came to mind. I’m pretty sure those series will each conclude as trilogies, but who knows?
Sharon: Can you tell us about your writing space/environment?
At the moment, I write in a spare bedroom in our apartment, but whenever I can, I like to get out of the house and write on the beach, in restaurants, in parks, etc. Ideally, I like to be completely alone (except my cat and a select few chat buddies with whom I can instant message even while I’m writing) with music playing. That said, I can—and have—written in all kinds of less than ideal places. I’ve written in airports, waiting rooms, planes (including on the floor of a cargo jet)… even in the emergency room. I’ve told that story a few times: I actually asked the staff to put the IV in my right arm so I could still write with my left hand. So while I do have an ideal, preferred atmosphere for writing, I can and do write anywhere.
Janna: Do you have a preference when it comes to writing M/M or M/F?
Probably M/M. I love writing M/F, but for some reason, it takes a lot for an M/F story to grab me by the hair the way an M/M story does. Which is kind of funny, since I started out writing hetero romances, and didn’t branch out into writing M/M until I’d written about half a dozen M/F novels. Go figure.
Sharon: Do you have a muse and if so, tell us about her/him?
Nope. I just have an itch to write, and once I get a pair or trio of characters into my head, they don’t shut up until I write their story. That’s one reason I write as fast as I do: There’s only so long I can tolerate a particular band of characters poking at the inside of my skull before I lose my mind.
That said, I am occasionally the unsuspecting victim of random acts of plot bunny violence. They come out of nowhere sometimes, the bastards.
Janna: What is the difference between writing a stand alone book and a series? Do you use a different approach?
I write every story like it’s a standalone, but if I know there’s going to be a sequel, I’ll keep it in mind. I’ll make notes about the sequel as I write the first one, but otherwise, it’s not much different from writing a standalone. For example, when I wrote Getting off the Ground, I knew Derek lived on Maui, but I didn’t yet know what he did for a living, what kind of house he lived in, what kind of car he drove. I didn’t want to know yet…I wanted him to be just as much of a mystery to me as he was to Elliott. Then as I outlined Infinity Pools, I started learning more about Derek, and the story unfolded organically from there.
The Distance Between Us and Cover Me were both done, sold, and on the shelves when I started their sequels, so I had to make sure I didn’t screw up any details that were already set in stone in the first books. That’s a non-issue with standalones, obviously.
Sharon: What authors/genre do you like to read for pleasure and what was the last book you read?
I read mostly fantasy and sci-fi, believe it or not, but I really read anything that sounds interesting, regardless of genre or author. I just finished reading Lolita for like the fifth time because I like drooling all over Nabokov’s prose.
Janna: What is your modus operandi in deciding whether your next novel will be M//F or M/M?
The characters usually decide for me. If I start with the characters, then…well, they’re either all male or one’s a female. If I start with the plot, sometimes it only works with M/M (involves someone being closeted, DADT, etc) or M/F (a single mother, for example), sometimes it can go either way, in which case…I don’t really know how it happens, it just…happens. LOL That said, one of my M/M novels started out as M/F, but was later rewritten as M/M and worked much better. There’s really no rhyme or reason to it, though.
Sharon: If I got in your car and turned on the radio, what would I hear before the cops came and took me away
(if you don’t have a car…what would I find on your iPod?
Most likely? 30 Seconds to Mars. My fangirl adoration of that band is well-known. If not them, probably Breaking Benjamin (my dear minion Andy has recently introduced me to them), Erasure, Adam Lambert, or…more 30 Seconds to Mars. Can never have enough 30 Seconds to Mars. Mmm, 30 Seconds to Mars…nom nom nom…
Wait. Sorry. What was the question?
Janna: With Out Of Focus you expanded into the genre of BDSM. Is this genre more difficult or easier to write for you? Why is that?
BDSM is definitely different. I don’t know if it’s necessarily more difficult, it’s just…different. There’s a whole different dynamic there when you start playing around with dominance, submission, pain play, etc. I find everything about it fascinating, so I love writing it, but it’s definitely challenging.
Janna: Can we expect more BDSM stories in the future?
Abso-freaking-lutely. As we speak, I’m plotting an M/M BDSM, and I have another that’s written but just needs a serious overhaul before I sell it. Trust me, there will be plenty of kink in the near future.
Sharon: I read on your website you are also planning an Urban Fantasy (squee!) I am a big UF fan. Can you give us any details about this yet? Are we talking vampires, shifter or Fey…Oh, myyyyyyy! ;) and would this be M/M or M/F?
Static, available from Amber Allure. This is a story of a shapeshifter who can shift genders at will, and loses that ability. In January, the first book in the Tooth & Claw series, The Given & The Taken, will be available from Samhain. This is a vamp/were ménage story, and is kind of half-thriller half-romance. Both are M/M (well, M/M/M in the latter case), but I suspect I’ll be writing some hetero UF too.
As far as what types of UF I’ll get into in the future? Impossible to say. A year ago, I’d only written contemporary stories. Now I have vamp/were, gender shifters, cyberpunk (A Chip In His Shoulder; Riptide Publishing, Oct ’11), and steampunk (Noble Metals; Carnal Passions, Jan ’12) under my belt. What’s next? No idea.
Sharon: Do you have a “type” of story you like writing more than the others? I love my M/M stories to be so sweet my teeth rot out
I like to shift gears between stories. If I’m writing something dark, I need to write something light afterward. If it’s something fairly light, then I want something darker and deeper afterward. Lately I’ve also been shifting between heat levels: sometimes it’ll be super hot, other times it’s light on sex scenes. I usually can’t write more than one kink story in a row, same with thrillers. Keeping it mixed up keeps me from getting into a rut, but it also means I never quite settle on any kind of type.
Sharon: Is there anything you would like to add before you go?
If the cops call, I’ve been here the entire time.
Sharon: We got your back. ;)
Wow, I don’t know about all you guys, but I think Lori is pretty amazing. No matter what kind of romance you like, she has something for everyone. Head to her website or Goodreads page and check out her backlist. Because she is offering one lucky commenter an ebook of their choice!
To enter leave a comment telling us you want in, for a chance to win your pick of any book of Lori's backlist. And we’re curious what kind of romance you like? Sweet, dark, erotica, paranormal, BDSM, Ménage, forbidden, Gay for you…all of the above?
The giveaway is open to readers worldwide, and we will announce the winner on Sunday, August 21 (the release day of On The List), so be sure to leave your comment before Sunday and don’t forget to check back then or leave a way for us to contact you in your comment or profile.
Good luck to you all!
Author’s website | weblog | on Twitter | on Goodreads
Read Sharon’s review of Getting of the Ground here
Read Sharon’s review of Infinity Pools here