Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Secret Worlds Author Spotlight: Lucy Leroux

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Today, I’d like to welcome Lucy Leroux to my blog.

Lucy chose love.

She moved to France for a one-year research contract. Six months later she was living with a handsome Frenchman and six years later is happily married to him…and still in France.

When her last contract ended Lucy turned to writing. Frustrated by the lack of quality romance erotica she created her own.

Cursed is the first of many regency novels. Additionally she writes a bestselling contemporary series. The ‘Singular Obsessionbooks are a combination of steamy romance and suspense that feature intertwining characters in their own stand-alone stories.

JET: Can you tell us about your most recent book?
Cursed, A Spellbound Regency Novel. It was one of my storyworms, a nugget of an idea that I couldn’t escape and had to write. I get a lot of them…

Cursed is a dark erotic paranormal regency. I originally conceived of the idea as a prequel to a still unpublished fantasy adventure novel I wrote, but when I got the chance to have a book in the Secret Worlds box set, I decided to write and publish it as a stand-alone. It’s an ebook exclusive for the box set.

Here is the blurb:
Isobel Sterling is a governess with a lot of secrets—including an uncanny ability she's been hiding her whole life. Until the day arrives when she has to use it to save herself from a madman. But first she has to master it. Fast.

Governess Isobel Sterling feels fortunate to have found a safe haven in the Montgomery household. The children are kind and the Lord and Lady of the house leave her alone. Her life is as good as it can get, until the day mysterious visitors arrive from abroad.
At first Isobel is flattered by the single-minded attention she receives from their handsome young guest, Matteo Garibaldi. At least she is until girls in the village begin to disappear. Isobel has a terrible suspicion that the disappearances are linked to the darkness she can see growing behind Matteo's eyes. Filled with dread she does everything possible to avoid his company—until she is locked in with him for the night.

JET: What drew you to the paranormal romance genre?
I have always loved urban fantasy and regency separately. I’ve read a few paranormal regencies, and while I like a lot of them, I didn’t love any of them. I decided to write one as a challenge to myself. Before that I’d written contemporary romance/suspense/erotica and fantasy adventure. But I want to write everything—contemporary romance, fantasy, sci-fi, time-travel, medieval, highland romance, traditional regency…

I have a ton of ideas organized on a spreadsheet where each cell is a novel. It taunts me. Over a hundred cells are filled. It’s waiting for me to pick one idea and write it so I can change the color code of the cell and designate it complete. Yes, I’m anal. I have to be because my natural inclination is to be a total disorganized mess.

JET: What’s been your most challenging hurdle on the road to publication?
Patience. I dipped my toe in traditional publishing for my fantasy adventure series and everything just took too long. When I finished my first contemporary romance I said screw it and decided to self-publish. I never submitted it anywhere. Instead, I stalked the editor of an indie series I liked and then her editor. Through them, I got some good indie publishing advice as well as a good clean manuscript. So now I'm an indie author.

JET: What was your favorite moment in the journey?
I like writing first drafts best. When it’s going well and the words are just pouring out it sometimes feels like I’m taking dictation. I see my novels very cinematically in my head. It’s a lot like writing notes on a movie.

JET: Which authors had the most influence over you growing up?
Oh, I read everything. My favorite book in elementary school was Bunnicula (go vampire rabbit!) and in junior high the Anne of Green Gables series. And, of course, Jane Austen. I am still waiting for a decent film adaptation of Persuasion.

I can't say any one of these influenced me more than anything else. But perhaps that's where the answer lies, because I do plan on writing in many different genres.

JET: When did you know you wanted to take the plunge into the writing world?
I promised my husband I would never tell this story cause he’s a little paranoid, but time has passed and who cares. Relevant details: I used to be a scientist and I was working in France at a public research institute.

So it was when my boss came up to me one day and basically told me I wasn’t working hard enough.

At the time, I was working on stuff that was very different from all of my coworkers. I immediately realized my boss didn’t have a good understanding of what I was working on, or that I was already working ten to twelve hour days. I was just telecommuting cause most of it was on the computer. Even though he saw the end results he had no concept of the effort it took to get them.

That was the day I decided I had to divorce my self-esteem from how things were going at work. I also decided to do something on the side that made me happy.
I started my first book a few days later. What my boss didn’t realize is that his request I put more facetime at work actually meant I worked less because I was no longer taking my work home.

That position didn’t work out, but I was very involved with a Frenchman and he suggested we get married and I write full time. So I’m still here in France, writing and still experimenting—this time in the form of growing a human. I expect the results to the latter in late July. When we move back to the states I may have to get a job, so I’m cranking stuff out now while I can.

JET: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of book research? Most interesting fact you uncovered?
I’m not sure I really did anything crazy yet. I get ideas everywhere, podcasts, tv, books. I’m constantly taking note on my phone. I use my background in academia and places I’ve been in my books. I’ve described (with some creative license) Boston, Harvard, London, Rome, Athens, and Santorini in my books because I was familiar with them.

Weird facts I wrote down to include in a book someday:
Rats can laugh… (suppressing shudder)
The best whiskey in the world is currently from Japan (debatable).

JET: Of all the novels and stories you’ve written - which one is your favorite? Why?
Hmm. I kind love all of them or I wouldn't have written them. But my favorite book is usually the one I just started...or the one I want to write next. For my Singular Obsession Series, I found ways to connect my favorite story ideas into a coherent whole. It’s a loose association, but it’s great for readers because the books can be read as stand-alone novels.

JET: Any advice (from a writer’s standpoint) for the novices out there?
For those going the indie route:
Stalk a good editor. Or several actually. I mentioned that I did this by picking an indie series I liked and contacting the editor listed in the credits. And when she got busy, I got in touch with her editor.

Also choose a good cover artist that you like, but compare your favorite covers to existing stock photos. It could be that the effects you thought the designer applied already existed in the stock photo and their talent doesn't extend beyond adding titles. The first artist I contacted was such a person. When I kept asking them to add those effects they weren’t straight with me about their inability to carry out my request. Then I saw the stock photos and realization dawned.

This doesn't mean don't use stock photos. Depending on what you write you can find something that represents your vision with a little tweaking. A good artist can adapt a stock photo and make it yours, thus saving you money. I usually do a google image search on my favorite stock photos to make sure they haven't been overused by other authors.

Don’t enter a lot of fee-based contests associated with publishing houses and contests in general, especially for your first book. I’ve found those to be a waste of money. It was never a lot of money, and I’ve been fairly conservative about what I actually spent on, but when you’re on a shoe-string budget these things are often not worth it and they add up. That being said, I did enter the third and fourth book I wrote in one more contest, but it was one of the big ones. No more of these small indie publisher ones for me.

Don’t pay for any “evaluation” services. Especially those that try to lure you in by suggesting they’ll hook you up with an agent—but don’t guarantee it. I was very insecure about my first romance erotica title and decided I wanted a "pro" opinion. And now I regret this expense the most. It was the priciest service I ever used and it got me absolutely nowhere. And it wasn't a scam. It was an established service recommend by a well-known contest. I got a real and detailed evaluation, exactly what they promised—and no more.

While my husband thought the evaluation they sent made a lot of good points, I wasn’t willing to follow their suggestions to make them fit the “Harlequin mold” better. First of all, I wasn’t happy they assumed my goal was to fit that mold despite the similarities of my first book to many Harlequin titles.

Admittedly, I wrote it after reading fifty Harlequin books in one go. But, those things that made my book less Harlequin-y were the reasons I wrote it in the first place. It was a very expensive way to realize I would rather write to please myself. I've been fortunate since then to gain a small following that likes my writing as is.

JET: All right - now that I’ve hammered you with the big questions, let’s tackle my favorite (and geeky) quick ten...starting with Spring or Fall?
Fall! I’m from San Diego. It wasn’t a thing there.

JET: Steak or Tofu?

JET: Beach or Mountains?

JET: Star Trek or Star Wars?
Hmm. Tough one. I may have to be controversial here and say Star Trek. I admire the utopian ideal of the federation and there is just so much more there to feed my geek need. Admittedly I only watched TNG and Voyager and some of DS9. Someday I may go back and watch/finish the others.

JET: Audio books or E-books?
Now that I don’t work in a lab, ebooks! Things are just better in your own imagination/voice. Unless it’s a comedian’s autobiography. In that case, I do enjoy the audiobook more. I just loved Tina Fey's Bossypants and it was better in her voice.

JET: Angels or Demons?
In my book, Angels are Demons. Can’t wait to write some of my ideas on this.

JET: Paper or Digital?
Digital. Paper is heavy. Take if from someone who’s had to move a lot. Although I have a personal EM field that destroys technology over time. Which means my digital needs redundant back-ups. If this is you too, look into getting a NAS system.

JET: Silent Film Classics or Cheesy B Rated Horror?
Cheesy B Rated Horror. My nickname for my little sister is still Pumpkinhead.

JET: Twilight or True Blood
I was all about the first Twilight movie…and then I read the book. True Blood was much better as a book…at the beginning of the series. I can’t choose and not because of all the love. I know there are a lot of you out there that feel my pain on this.

JET: Coffee or Tea?
I was a die-hard coffee drinker before I moved to France. Now there's no Starbucks in my neck of the woods. In recent years, they’ve started coffee houses that make American style drinks, but they overdo it on the sugar and Chantilly cream. At home, I tried to drink my husband’s coffee, but it was so strong and vile I had to switch to tea for self-preservation.

JET: Thank you for indulging me. Before we wrap this up, can you tell us what you're working on now? What's next?
I have to edit that first book, the fantasy adventure. I shelved it for a while, but it’s time to get it out to the masses. It’s a big favorite of my beta-readers. Additionally, I’ve already started the follow-up. It’s a four-part epic adventure J.

Simultaneously I will probably write the fourth book in my Singular Obsession series, The Roman’s Woman (yes I’m terrible with titles, but the books are good, I swear!). I often like writing in two different genres at the same time. When I get a case of writer’s block on one, I’m generally not stuck on the other.

I also have a few straight regencies I want to write. There are just too many ideas...

Thank you so much for taking the time to chat on my blog. Folks, you can find out more about Lucy Leroux and her work at the following places:

Until next time,


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