Monday, July 15, 2024

Author interview with Lydia Baker

 My next author interview is with Lydia Baker, who writes fantasy - often with a sprinkle of romance, sci-fi and dystopian fiction. She is also hoping to branch out into Crime writing! She was first published in 2017 and has been both traditionally and indie published, so let's meet her:

'I'm a busy mother of four and wife of one, living and working in West Sussex. My day job is as a Teaching Assistant and Forest School Assistant.' 

And a tweetable for you (tweet here):

'Lydia Baker - author of The Return of the Queen, winner of the Pink Heart Society Award for Best Paranormal Romance, and author of AVA, runner up in the Agora Lost the Plot Writing Competition. Books for Sci-Fi lovers and Fantasy lovers!'

That's not a bad start to a writing career, is it!! What inspired Lydia to become a writer?

'I’ve loved reading since I was small, it’s always been an escapism, and I started writing stories when I was at primary school. 

When I was around 8 years old, a teaching assistant told me she would see my name in books one day and that really inspired me to keep writing and doing what I love.'

Oh, I love hearing about inspirational teachers - I'm not sure all of them realise how much impact they can have on young minds, but how wonderful Lydia is now in the position to help the children in her care (I bet she's fab!)! Having such a busy life, how does she fit in her writing?

'I work four days a week, but I have one day off midweek and that is my writing day. It’s the day I can really sit down and focus on writing for several uninterrupted hours. I find that in the evenings and when the kids are around its a challenge to get any peace and quiet!'

I can believe that 😁 but how wonderful she gets that time - that day must be so precious! What does she enjoy the most about writing? 

'I love creating new characters and building new worlds. But I really love writing characters who would say and do things that I would never dream of. The villains are always fun to write as they are so different from my own character.'

And what has she found the trickiest part of the publishing / writing world?

'One of the hardest parts is editing. I love to write but I hate to edit! Also, rejections are hard, but you do tend to develop a thick skin. 

The hardest thing, however, by far, is marketing your book. I find that harder than the writing itself. I think most authors prefer to be behind a keyboard, not in front of a camera.'

So true, but she's doing it, so kudos! What's been the best money she's spent as a writer so far? 

'Definitely paying for an editor. Both of the ones I used have helped me grow and develop as an author.'

That's so good to hear! It goes to show that having the right team behind you really does help you improve - and winning awards means those editors knew their stuff! How many WIPs (work-in-progress) books does she have on the go currently?

'8, is that too many!!??'

🤣🤣 It sounds a lot to me! I suspect she's going to be very busy for the long-term! How long do they take to write?

'About a year, give or take.'

OMG, that's her next decade mapped out then! What does she find the most difficult thing about writing characters who are very different from herself?

'Not wanting to offend anyone!'

Yikes, I'd never thought of that! So let's chat about her books now. Can she give us an extract from one?

'Of course. This is from AVA:

I am tough; tough like worn boots on frozen ground, at least that’s what I tell myself. Yet the truth is, it’s bleak out there, out in the world we live in now, but you wouldn’t know it to look at us. We try to be normal, but there are strangers amongst us now: an army of metal soldiers that police our streets and threaten our doorways. They watch us. They are always watching us. You can’t miss the large, red MTech logos that adorn every building and every product, stamped across anything consumable, anything profitable, anything controllable. They own it all. They own the Mechs, too.

Yet if you step out of the bustling hive of the city, into the quiet, abandoned streets that stretch out towards the edge of this little world of mine, then the desolation and loneliness is earth-shattering.'

Oh my word, that's powerful stuff! Which of her books should readers try first?

'It really depends on if you’re a fantasy lover or a sci-fi lover as I have a book out in each genre. AVA is the first of a three-part series, whereas The Return of the Queen is a stand-alone fantasy book with a sprinkle of romance.'

So there are 2 further books, following AVA?

'Yes. I have book 2 in the AVA series ready to be edited and published. Book 3 is still being written. 

I am also currently querying another dystopian novel and have a fantasy that I’m working on too.'

Yep, she's one busy lady! And we have lots to look forward to! As an established writer, what have been her writing-career highs and lows? 

'The high point was getting a publisher. It was amazing to think that someone else thought my book was worth reading and shouting about. The awards that my stories have won have also been a high point.

Bad reviews, especially nasty ones, are always a low point.'

Oh dear. So she reads her reviews then? 

'I like to, but they aren’t all always good. Like I said before, you have to have a thick skin. Not everyone will like my books and that's okay. What I do find hard is when a review has gone out of their way to be deliberately nasty. If you don’t like the book, that's okay, but authors are people with feelings.'

That's very true. If you'd like some advice on how to write a review, please see my post here

If she could go back and talk to herself, at the start of her writing career, what would she say? 

'Just keep writing. The first thing you write wont necessarily be the best thing you write either. Make lots of author friends!'

Fabulous! And knowing what she knows now, does she have any advice for aspiring writers? 

'A common trap is thinking that being published traditionally is the only way to succeed as an author. There are so many other ways to be published and so many authors self-publish and are equally, if not more, successful.'

That's excellent advice and certainly, of of the books I've read recently have been Indie and exceptionally good, so I agree wholeheartedly! 

Please do take a  look at Lydia's work, and visit her links below to find out more about this lovely lady: 



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Monday, July 8, 2024

Sneaky peek at interview with author Lydia Baker

My next author interview is with Lydia Baker, who writes
Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and both of her novels have done well in winning awards! 

She authored The Return of the Queen, which was winner of the Pink Heart Society Award for Best Paranormal Romance, and also penned AVA, which was runner up in the Agora Lost the Plot Writing Competition - not bad for a mum of 4 who has a day job too!

Our interview goes live on the 15th July but if you'd like to learn more about her, please visit her links below: 



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Monday, July 1, 2024

Author interview with Kerry Kennedy

My next author interview is with Kerry Kennedy who first published in 2022 and already has 20 books to her name - I'm shocked! They're mainly thrillers, sports romances, contemporary small town romances and mafia romances so let's meet her:

'I am a multi genre published author, indie author and web novelist, currently writing in my romance era. I have been writing ever since childhood and published my first book, Dakota, a suspense-thriller in 2022 followed by 12 more books over the last 18 months.

I live in Spain with my partner of 20 years, four cats and a Chihuahua. When I am not writing you will find me on a rock face climbing, on my bike or enjoying lengthy walks with my Chihuahua. I’m avid reader and blogger for all things books and travel.' 

I feel exhausted already 😅😂 Can she give us a tweetable? (tweet here)

'I'm a multi genre, coffee drinking, chocolate loving author currently in my romance and hockey era.' 

What inspired her to become a writer?

'I’ve always written. It came naturally to me as a child - I would write stories for my class friends and the school assembly.'

Gosh, she did start young! So, what does she enjoy the most about writing? 

'Developing my characters, creating scenery and fulfilling, engaging scenes for my readers. I love writing angsty romance for young adults, and gripping thrillers that have multiple plot twists and an end-twist nobody will see coming. I enjoy the solitude of writing and being wrapped up in my characters and their worlds.'

I'm still reeling from all those books she's written in such a short space of time - does she have a daily writing routine? 

'I usually start writing early mornings before work, since I work full time. I will write 30 minutes/2000 words then a further 2000 words during my day, when I can have a work from break. On average I will write 70K words in a month.'

She writes how much? OMG - my mind is officially blown! Whilst I try to process that, how long does it take her to write a novel then?

'A 200K word book will take me 12 weeks to write, an 80K book will take 6 weeks.'

I'm speechless (and that doesn't often happen!). Okay, trying to get back on track again 😕, what does she consider the best money she's ever spent as a writer? 

'My writing is free. I create my own covers so I guess my Canva Pro subscription, as I create my own marketing material there. And book trailers, and just about everything else. 

I do my own editing and proof reading too, and since I also write on Inkitt and Wattpad, I have an invaluable network of readers who religiously beta read for me and provide invaluable feedback.'

Oh wow, that's some support group. Does she still read reviews of her books then? 

'Yes, and I mainly receive good feedback for my books, whether published or web novels. I’ve only had one 1* rating but, you know, bad ratings spur others on to purchase books and not every book is for everyone. The way I see it, even the top names like Lucy Score, James Patterson and Elsie Silver receive damaging reviews.' 

True, and that's a great attitude! So let's get into one of her latest releases, 'Healing Hearts'. Can she give us a synopsis?

'Of course. Sage isn’t looking for love again however, finding herself back in Willowbrook after ten years, she discovers that her childhood sweetheart, Logan whose heart she broke before, is still in love with her. Can he convince her not to leave again and rekindle the special bond they previously had?'

Oohh, now I want to know more! Can she give us a short extract?

“You have always had my heart, Sage. You hang the moon, you are the stars that light up the sky at night. I’d crawl a thousand miles to be with you again.”

Aww, lovely! Is this book part of a series and, if so, which order should they be read?

'Healing Hearts is first, followed by Cuffing The Law (Book 2), then Love at Lazy Duke’s (Book 3), and All Your First Lasts is number 4.'

Does she have to complete research? 

'My most challenging research was learning all the rules for ice hockey, how NHL works, the team set up, plays, game schedules and the such.'

Yep, I'd have no idea either! To end our interview, I asked if there was anything else she’d like to share? 

'I love the communities on social media, where readers and authors can engage and share their works. The support is invaluable and I am extremely grateful for this.

If you love a second chance, small town romance then check out my latest publication of this month, that we discussed above (Healing Hearts) and my latest billionaire, enemies to lovers romance, Santa Fe Billionaire. Both are available wide.'

Excellent! If you'd like to find out more about Kerry, please visit her links below:

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