Some totally take me by surprise. They just appear! Joe Winston just jumped onto the page. So did his sister, Alyx Winston. There are many, many characters that I didn’t plan, but they showed up and demanded a book.
FAQ Category: Writing Questions
What do you think distinguishes your earlier books that were rejected from your later successful ones?
Good writing? Okay, I admit it. I sucked when I first started. Really bad writing, that’s the best way to get rejected.
I remember one editor called me up and said she was interested because I had great characterization, but that I had to clean up my point of view usage. I said sure, no problem.
But I had clue about POV… or many other things. I taught myself to write by writing.
What made you keep at it after multiple rejections?
Did I mention my middle name is stubborn? What about obnoxiously determined? The more rejections I got, the more I wanted to prove them all wrong.
I have great faith in my abilities. I honestly think I can do anything I set my mind to – although I’d never set my mind to swimming with sharks or visiting the moon.
I’m also blessed to have the most supportive husband and kids in the whole world. They think I can do anything, and they convince me.
After so many books, what keeps it fresh for you?
Have you ever met any two people who were identical? Nope? Me either. I’ve also never met any characters who were identical. it’s the people in my stories that make them interesting to me.
What tools (conferences, reference books, etc.) have you found particularly helpful?
None. I hate research books. Boring! I’d much prefer to speak with someone who specializes in what I need, such as police, firefighters and forensic experts. I like to chat with coroners and school teachers and vets. I like picking a doctor’s brain and bugging my friend who is a nurse. Talking with someone and getting their personal take on careers and experiences is always more interesting than reading it in a book.
Do you plot things out or do you write by the seat of your pants?
Before I start a book, I know my characters, I know their conflicts, and I know how I’ll resolve things. Beyond that, I write by the seat of my pants. Each new scene is a surprise to me.
What kind of input does an author have in her cover art?
That depends on the author and the publisher. Back when I wrote category, I had very little (as in none!) input on the covers. But since I’ve been writing single titles I get a lot of opportunity to weigh in. My biggest request is always that the heroes have chest hair. It seems models are often shaved or waxed and I would never, ever write a hero who spent time doing that.
Many of my reissue covers are slick-chested guys. But the new single titles almost always feature guys with chest hair.
Will you be writing more books as L.L. Foster?
Absolutely! I’m currently very busy with a straight contemporary romance series, but as soon as possible I’ll be jumping back into the urban fantasy world. In the meantime, you can find out more about my L.L. Foster books here on my site.
How long does it take your books to go from written (sent off) to published (on the shelves)?
This varies a bit from publisher to publisher, but I’d say generally about six months after I turn in a book, it’ll be on the shelf to buy. I see covers long before that, and in that six months I’ll read the book multiple times with copy edits and line edits, before it’s considered “done.”
Is there any other genre, or sub-genre of romance that you’d like to try writing?
I wrote one time travel, My Man Michael, and wouldn’t mind someday revisiting those characters. Also, I’ve dug into urban fantasy with my Servant series, published under my initials of L.L.Foster. Some day I’d like to try straight horror novels and kids’ books. We’ll see!