Laurie, welcome back to RU! We’ve missed you since December :). The RU crew is so excited about the recent release of Bonded by Blood, and we appreciate your visiting with us because I know you’ve been busy lately! Everyone loves a success story, and we want to hear yours today.
RU Crew, Laurie’s being uber-sweet today and giving away a package of three signed books! Be sure to answer her question at the end of the interview in your comment!
Thank you, Kelsey, for having me on again. I’ve missed all of you too!
Kelsey: How many manuscripts did you write before you sold?
Laurie: Although I don’t want to discourage anyone who has been writing for awhile, this is the first manuscript I finished that I actually thought had potential. The others are more like first drafts or were never finished.
Kelsey: How long was it from the time you began writing seriously and the time you sold?
Laurie: About eighteen months.
Kelsey: Why do you think this particular manuscript sold?
Laurie: It was a combination of timing and my editor liking my writer’s voice. My publisher had been actively looking for a dark vampire romance for some time. When my manuscript landed on my editor’s desk, she told me that she forgot she was an editor and got swept up in the story. I guess that’s a good thing.
Kelsey: What surprised you about the sell?
Laurie: I’m so glad I listened to myself and not what others (even industry professionals) were saying about the vampire craze being over. Because I LOVE vampires, I went with my gut and wrote the kind of book I enjoy reading. Turns out other readers still love vampires too.
Kelsey: What challenges have you faced since “the call” you didn’t realize you would encounter?
Laurie: I was surprised how much time all the other “stuff” takes.
Social networking—yeah, we know it can take time, but now that readers are contacting me (wow, what a thrill that’s been), I spend more time doing it. I really need to learn to manage my time better in this area, but I just have so much fun chatting with new people.
Then there’s the blog tour. My Bonded By Blood blog tour (sounds like a band on tour—which, by the way, there is a band called Bonded By Blood and they are actually on tour right now!) has over 35 stops in 6 weeks. Because I’m not a speedy writer, writing all those posts takes a lot of time, even though I started early. If I’m unfamiliar with the blog, I go back in and read a few other author posts to get a feel for what the blog readers expect. Are they serious and literary, or are the goofy and fun? Is it a reader-focused blog or a writer-focused blog? This kind of research takes time.
Kelsey: Is there anything you wished you’d done before you sold?
Laurie: It’s weird, but I can’t really think of anything I’d do differently. My work habits and familiarity with social networking had already established before I sold, so it wasn’t like I suddenly panicked. Prior to selling, I didn’t have a website or blog, but that obviously didn’t hurt me. The promo aspect of it has been eye-opening, but to spend much time on specifics prior to selling doesn’t really make sense to me.
Wait, I can think of one thing. I didn’t buy my domain name soon enough, so I had to add “Books” to the end of my URL. However, I did keep tabs on it, and when it expired, I snapped it up. Now both URLs (LaurieLondon and LaurieLondonBooks) will get you to my site, so I guess it all worked out anyway.
Kelsey: What’s your best advice for writers who are still waiting to sell?
Laurie: Because things happened fairly quickly for me, I’m not sure how sound or helpful my advice will be. Putting myself into someone else’s shoes who hasn’t gotten their big break yet and knowing what I know now, I’d say this:
1. Don’t assume you’re getting rejected because your writing sucks. It could simply be because what you’re writing isn’t big with readers right now.
2. If you love a particular subgenre but everyone says it’s on the decline, you have a choice to make. Either listen to them (they could be right) and work on something else OR go with what feels right to you (like I did). I’ve been told a number of times that there’s always room for a new or unique voice, no matter if the genre is hot or not.
3. That being said however, don’t be afraid to try something new. Maybe your voice is better suited for YA for instance, or vice versa. Finish that manuscript, polish it up, but when you start submitting it, work on something completely different. When my vampire romance was out to a few agents and then later when it went out on submission to editors, I worked on two different non-vampire paranormal romances (a contemporary and a historical) as well as a YA.
4. Continue to work on your craft. Because my schedule has been kind of crazy lately with book launch stuff, it’s been awhile since I’ve taken a writing class. I can’t wait till things slow down a little so that I can fit in an online class or two.
Kelsey: Do you have anything else you’d like to share with the Romance University readers?
Laurie: I just wanted to say thank you again to all the RU readers for following me on my Debut Author’s Journey. Your enthusiasm and support has meant the world to me. I can’t wait until we’re celebrating the release of YOUR books.
Kelsey: And last, will you tell us all about your debut book?
Laurie: Well, it’s about vampires. Here’s the back cover copy:
Deep within the forests of the Pacific Northwest, two vampire coalitions battle for supremacy—Guardian enforcers who safeguard humanity and Darkbloods, rogues who kill like their ancient ancestors.
Movie location scout Mackenzie Foster-Shaw has always known that she’s cursed to die young. No one can protect her from the evil that has stalked her family for generations—vampires who crave her rare blood type. Until one afternoon in a wooded cemetery, she encounters an impossibly sexy stranger, a man she must trust with her life.
For Dominic, a man haunted by loss, Mackenzie satisfies a primal hunger that torments him—and the bond they share goes beyond heat, beyond love. She alone can supply the strength he needs to claim his revenge. But in doing so, he could destroy her…
And because I love RU so much…
Remember me telling you in one of my Debut Author Journey posts about my plotting group called the CherryPlotters?
I decided to give away not only a signed copy of Bonded By Blood to an RU reader who answers the following question, but that person will also win signed books from the three other published authors in the group. Undertow by Cherry Adair, Borrowed Stilettos by Rebecca J. Clark, and Chances Are by Shelli Stevens. Another member of our group, Kira Brady, just sold, but her first book won’t be out for awhile.
And that question is…
Can you tell me one positive thing you’re doing this year (or plan to do) that has helped your writing?
Thank you, everyone!
Be sure to stop by tomorrow for two very special posts. During the day, you can read an excerpt from one of Edie Ramer’s latest books and then join an author chat with her later in the evening. Check the sidebar in this post for more info on the chat!
A graduate of Western Washington University with a BA in Business Administration and a former tester/programmer for a Fortune 500 company, Laurie London writes from her home near Seattle where she lives with her husband and two children.
She is a member of Romance Writers of America®, Greater Seattle Area RWA, RWAOnline, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, FF&P (RWA chapter devoted to all things paranormal), and two book clubs.
When not writing, she can be found running, reading, or riding and showing her horse. Someday she hopes to qualify for the Quarter Horse World Show – that is, if her horse doesn’t get hurt again.
- A Debut Author’s Journey with Laurie London: From the Call to Revisions
- A Debut Author’s Journey with Laurie London: Sold! But first…
- A Debut Author’s Journey with Laurie London: On the Road with Revisions
- Weekly Lecture Schedule for June 21-25: Haley Hughes, Laurie London, Debra Holland & Laurie Schnebly
- Weekly Lecture Schedule for August 23-27, 2010: Edie Ramer, Laurie London, Tawny Weber & Laurie Schnebly Campbell