Posted on Mar, 29, 2010
Today we have the lovely Lanita M. Preston, author of young adult science fiction novels. Her first published novel, Explorer X - Alpha was the beginning of her obsessive desire to write and create stories of young people who overcome unbelievable odds. She is also the group coordinator of the synopsis workshop on YALitChat and offers excellent advice. ^_~ Lanita has generously agreed to an ARC giveaway of her new novel The Pack, as well as a poster and magnets from both her books. For those who don’t know, ARC is short for advanced reading copy, a copy of the book before it’s on sale! Contest rules are at the end of the interview.
CZX: What draws you to science fiction?
LMP: Honestly, I never considered writing science fiction before I started my first published book. I’d tried to write a sassy YA romance book. I realized though that I needed to get an adrenaline rush when I wrote something. My husband suggested I write SciFi, and I gawked because when I started to write it, I was home. Since I’m an engineer and somewhat an action junkie, young adult scifi was perfect for me. When I wrote The Pack, I was able to create the entire cool Batman like gadgets I’ve wanted to create in reality.
CZX: Where do you get your plot ideas from?
LMP: Many of my plots come to me in a dream or observing people. The idea from The Pack came from the many times I’d walked out of my job or the grocery store and saw the many missing kids on the boards. I wanted to create a world and an unexpected hero that would save them all.
CZX: Which one of your characters do you relate the most to and why?
LMP: I relate most to my main character from The Pack, Shamira. She’s strong and determined to help others, even though others haven’t been good to her. Although, she comes off as tough, she’s just like any other girl – wants the same as any other girl. She’s just afraid to hope for it. That’s how I was as a young person. She overcomes those fears to become greater than she ever could have been on her own.
CZX: What is the most challenging aspect of writing for you? What is the most rewarding?
LMP: The most challenging part of writing is just writing without going back to edit. I’m so tempted to stop writing and to go and edit my stuff before it’s finished. I have to force myself not to do that or I’ll never finish the first draft. I sometimes have to audibly tell myself not to change anything until I’m done.
CZX: How do you overcome writer’s block?
LMP: Lol! I’m glad you asked. I actually wrote an article on this. I write through it, even though I know what I’ve written will get changed in the edits. Sometimes you just have to get through the rough spot, finish your first draft and fix it later. I also outline. When you write an outline, you pretty much think through the hard parts without having to think about how you are going to write them. You just know what should happen. Lastly, I take a working break. During the working break I beta read for other authors, I join a critique group that will whip me in shape, and I ask for help.
CZX: What is your revision process like?
LMP: I usually write the thing first. Then I set it aside for about a month. After that, I print it out and redline it. I edited it again on my computer. I repeat that four times before I send it out to the first group of beta readers. After I get feedback from the first set of betas I go through it four more times before sending it out to another group of beta readers. Then I repeat my edits four times using autocrit.com to finish it up. Lastly, it goes to a proofreader friend of mine then to the publisher who sends it to the editor.
CZX: What were some of the challenges you faced in getting published?
LMP: Rejection, rejection and more rejection. Writing queries, getting rejection letters and rewrites were exhausting. I also joined several writer’s organizations and it was a joy to be around such a supportive group. Since then, it’s all been a joy.
I believe the problem with the process of getting published, is the fact that you feel helpless to improve the process. That you as a writer have no control. However, it’s something all writer’s should experience. It makes us stronger and more thankful for the nuggets of success that comes when someone reads your book.
CZX: What are you working on right now?
LMP: I am working on Bandits, a YA SciFi novel about a boy who’s father is killed and he is racing against time to find the treasure his father stole before it destroys his world. Only catch is, he has to change his life in order to do it.
CZX: Can you give us a walkthrough of a typical day in your life?
LMP: Uh-oh. I must warn you, my life is hectic. I start off at 5am writing for an hour before I leave for work. After I get home, I chase around my kids and put them to bed. From 8pm to 11pm I do an hour of marketing and write for one hour. The weekends are more of the same, just more writing.
CZX: Any advice for writers who are trying to break into publishing?
LMP: Learn the publishing business. You have got to research, research, read and research again. You must decide WHAT YOU WANT to do with your work. Whether you want a Large Publishing House to manage your work? A small publishing house to manage your book? What type of Agent you want? What type of book you wrote? YA? Fiction? Chic Lit? Sci-Fi? Whether you want to publish the book yourself?
Decide what you want from writing. Some people feel that getting with a huge publisher is the final stamp of approval. However, there are lots of people who just want to write and share their story, and they don’t care if they make millions of dollars from it. So, I say that to make you think deeply about what you want to do with your work. There is one author that published chapters of her book via her blog, and another who published free chapters of his book as a free podcast. They were happy with their choices, because they just loved to write and wanted to share their story.
One Word Bonus: What’s your favorite season?
Lucky for you Lanita, summer is here! (In Texas leastways) Visit her blog and website for writing advice and up to date information about her upcoming books. ^_^ Also, check out this awesome book trailer for The Pack.
Too cool right? Makes you really want to know what’s going to happen. Well here’s your chance. Follow the rules below for an opportunity to win a copy of The Pack before it goes on sale! Thanks for the super interview Lanita!
1) Read this interview (hopefully this is obvious).
2) Leave a comment with your E-MAIL! (or else I won’t be able to contact you)
3) After 1 week, I will randomly select a winner and e-mail you.
4) RESPOND with your MAILING ADDRESS.
5) I will forward your address to Ms. Preston who will mail you the book.
6) It is common courtesy to send a thank you note either via e-mail or by regular post to Ms. Preston.
This contest officially ends Monday, April 5 at 11:59pm CST.