I’m having so much fun connecting with all the smart authors and bloggers I’ve met online. This is the latest entry in my series of conversations with other romance authors, who join us to share about their creative process, their habits, their inspiration, and more. Our guest today is Linda Lee Williams, an author of contemporary romance with a paranormal twist.
- You’ve been writing and telling stories since you were very young. Why have romance stories in particular stood out to you over other types of stories?
Linda Lee Williams: Love defines us and refines us, makes us or breaks us. We have much to gain and much to lose when we entrust our hearts to another person. I write romance novels to explore those emotions and to show how, for better or worse, love changes everything.
- You write paranormal romance and have a vampire series. Where does your story inspiration come from? Can you still pull from real-life experience?
Linda Lee Williams: My inspiration sprang from asking myself, “What if vampires lived among us, but only a select number of individuals was aware of the fact? What would these vampires be like? How would they blend in with modern society? What would their wants and needs be?”
Those questions allowed me to draw from real-life experience—to invent the human equivalent of a vampire, complete with complex emotions. My Blood & Company Series is not traditional vampire fare: It’s a family saga, spanning four books.
- There is a lot of lore when it comes to vampires and a lot of established material to build character structure within. How do you pick and choose what lore will work in your vampire stories, especially when it comes to their powers and their weaknesses?
Linda Lee Williams: I chose to write about vampire-human hybrids, which gave me more leeway. My characters are mortal (human side), but they possess supernatural powers (vampire side). I tried to honor the age-old vampire myths. For example, their skin burns easily in the sun, but they can be outdoors during the daylight hours. Instead of turning a person into a vampire after the “third bite,” the vampire addicts the person to him or her—a “heroin effect.”
My vampires possess strong powers of persuasion—but not enough to force anyone to love them. Their major weakness, which can prove fatal, is AVA: Acute Vampiric Anemia. The illness can occur when a vampire needs human blood over animal blood in order to survive.
- You also teach writing at a community college. As a writing professor, what are the biggest challenges that young authors struggle with when they’re writing their first stories?
Linda Lee Williams: I taught writing courses through continuing education at a community college, but I’m not, by any means, a “professor.” I developed the classes in order to share what I’d learned about the craft with other interested writers.
Authors always face struggles, no matter what stage they’re at in their vocation. First, one needs a solid story idea. Next comes character development, choosing the proper setting, plotting, and finally, writing the book. Knowing the basics of grammar, punctuation, and syntax should be a top priority for any writer. It’s important to read widely in many genres, pay attention to how other authors handle transitions, exposition, viewpoint, and dialogue. Writers gain experience as they go along. No shortcuts exist. To quote Ernest Hemingway: “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
- On your blog, you connect a lot with other authors and you started a writing group where you live. Why is it important to connect with other writers in terms of your own success?
Linda Lee Williams: My former students comprised my writers’ group. StoryCrafters, Ink, lasted two years—about the average duration of a live critique group. We learned from one another, went as far as we could go, and moved on…
I’ve never viewed my connections with other authors in terms of my own success. It’s a pleasure to feature writers on my blog; I enjoy the camaraderie we share. I belong to two fantastic online groups: the Crazy Lady Authors and eNovel Authors at Work. Without both groups, I’d be lost.
Sometimes, authors will beta read for one another. Most of the time, we commiserate about the ups and downs of writing and publishing. We support one another on social media, promote new releases, and share our results from advertising sites. Occasionally, we’ll collaborate on a box set together, an enjoyable experience that benefits all of us.
No author should write in a vacuum or undertake this journey alone. Reach out to other authors, make friends along the way. It’s a lot less lonely and twice as much fun.
See also: Five Questions Series
Special thanks to Linda Lee Williams for participating in this series! Visit her website at http://www.lindaleewilliams.com and her blog at http://indielindy.blogspot.com. You can also get to know her on Twitter (@williamslindal) or Facebook. You can find her novels on Amazon, including her latest book The Breadth of the Soul, a Holiday novella for all year long.
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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen