Interview with Bestselling Author Laura Florand!

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of reviewing Laura Florand’s latest novel, Trust Me (you can read that review here.) I have been a fan of her work for many years and was delighted when she agreed to an interview.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Since then, her books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In 2015, NPR gave her the enormous honor of naming her Chocolate Kiss to its list of the Top 100 Romances of all time.

For more information, please see her website: www.lauraflorand.com.


Interview with Laura Florand

General:

What genres do you read?

I’ve always read a lot of fantasy, and right now I am reading a lot of non-fiction and also some middle grade fantasy novels (with my daughter). I used to consume huge amounts of romance as well, but since my own books came out, I sometimes find it more restful and renewing to just read completely outside the genre and I’ve been reading only 2-3 romances a month lately, so I miss a lot of good authors. And I read a lot of French literature of course, including French-language graphic novels which particularly interest me right now.

What authors have influenced your work?51vllx6sssl

It would be hard for me to say. Everything you read gets pulled in and enriches your own ability to write.

 

What approaches do you take when you write a novel? Are you a pantser or a planner? If a pantser, how does this affect your research, because your books show that you do research, or have a lot of facts at your fingertips?

I just start writing a scene and go from there, letting what the characters do and say drive what happens next, kind of like in real life. The research helps, because the more I can “feel” the characters’ setting and profession, the richer the work is and the more naturally the story develops, in most cases. But also, I write about things I find fascinating and want to write about, so the research is so much fun. I mean…top chocolatiers and pastry chefs in Paris! I used to claim I write the books so I would have an excuse to do the research.

Your work has always been different from the mainstream and you have acquired many readers just based on this. What do you think makes you different?51qyfj2baigl

Oh, I don’t know! I think so many authors have unique voices that set them apart in some ay. After all, writing within a genre is essentially taking familiar stories and giving them your own voice and twist. I write from the heart, and I think once you do that, you will always have a voice unique to you.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, you have decided to start self-publishing. Is this because you wanted to branch out from the mainstream? What affect has this had on you, your writing, and/or your readers?

Do you have any advice for the newbie writers who are wondering about going mainstream or self-publishing?

I think my main motivation is just that I like the control. I don’t see why I should give up rights to something I wrote and am almost exclusively responsible for creating, and give up those rights for the life of copyright and maybe 10% of the profits. (This is not to put down the wonderful help editors etc can provide, but there is nothing on par with writing the book itself.) Technology has changed since I was a kid, and I’m happy to enjoy its benefits in this way.

51c4e9o4rwlA definite benefit (to me at least) is that retaining control of my writing means I can write what I want. No one can tell me, Oh, a French heroine of Algerian origin wouldn’t be marketable. All your heroines have to be Americans and, ahem, non-denominational. I write the story I want to write, with the characters who want a story.

Turning Up the Heat and Snow-Kissed were two of the first stories I wrote to self-publish, and I really feel that in both I did something I would never have been able to do in the tradtional publishing industry. I love both those stories so much and the freedom I had to write them to the story and not to the market.

Conversely, of course, as any experienced successful author will tell you, if you write to the story and not to the market, it’s pure luck if the “market” decides to read you anyway.

For newbie writers: How to publish is a hard question and should be—it’s a huge career 51ng-jbeprldecision. I am not a fan of giving up your rights for little return, I will say that. The main challenge, of course, as a new writer, is establishing your bona fides in a saturated market. In a world where even my ten-year-old can publish a book easily (and she keeps pressuring me to let her do that), how do you get other people to start noticing and respecting your own work as worth their time? That’s still the biggest hurdle for those who start off self-publishing, a bigger hurdle for them than it is for traditionally published newbies who have the stamp of approval from a publishing house to help give them credibility. My credibility was established before I shifted to self-publishing, so I’m not the best qualified to give advice on how to establish it on your own. But I certainly know many authors who did it, meaning it is possible.

51ee9zjjrilNow, a couple of questions about The Paris Nights series. Did you plan the entire series and, if so, has it changed? How has it changed?

No, I didn’t plan the entire series. That is, I planned to write stories about three female friends, and have the females be the chefs themselves at last (instead of the almost all male chefs in the Amour et Chocolat series), but after I finished All For You, I remember watching some Hollywood film one night, full of banter and action and completely unrealistic scenarios and saying out loud, “Why can’t I write a book like Hollywood? I bet my readers would massacre for my lack of credibility if I did.” And then that first scene between Chase and Vi started growing in my head and I thought, Oh, hell, I’m just going to have fun.

But as I was writing, the terrorist attacks of Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan happened, and I actually knew one of the people hurt, so that made writing a “Hollywood” book about terrorism very tough.

51ardz2elql“Chase Me” felt completely different to me as I was reading. And, even more so, “Trust Me” is different yet. I felt that it was weightier, more searching. What does “Trust Me” mean to you?

Well, Trust Me is the aftermath. It’s the reality to the Hollywood story, and the difficulty in that book was in finding a balance of hope and love during a very dark time. I refused to write the classic “dark moment” for it. I said the dark moment was the start, and all the rest of the book was the healing.

Do you have a favorite book that you’ve written?

Honestly, no. All of them have a special place for me. You put your whole heart every time into writing a book.

What do you have in store for us next?

Working on Lucien’s book in the Vie en Roses series! I hope you all will enjoy his story!

And thank you so much, Sascha, for the interview and for inviting me on!


PRAISE FOR LAURA FLORAND’S NOVELS:

“Chocolate, Paris, and a Greek god for a hero; this delectable confection has it all!” – Library Journal Starred Review

“(Florand) captures the nature of love, its fierce, soul-warming necessity, in a way that will make you as happy as the finest bonbon could.” – Eloisa James, The Barnes & Noble Review, a Best Book of 2013 selection

“Florand outdoes herself with this exquisite confection… painstakingly crafted and decadent as the sweets it portrays, leaving the reader longing for just one little taste.” – Publishers Weekly Starred Review

“Adorable, charming, whimsical.” – Smexy Books

 “Florand serves up a mouth-watering tale of slow-burning passion and combustible consummation that’s as perfectly crafted as the hero’s surprisingly complex confections and as silky and addictive as the heroine’s dark chocolat chaud.”– RT Book Reviews, 4.5 stars, TOP PICK!, RT Seal of Excellence, RT Reviewers Choice nomination Best Book of 2013

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Exciting News!

On Monday, April 24, Sascha Darlington’s Microcosm Explored is hosting an interview with one of my favorite writers, Laura Florand!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

author_picture

Laura Florand burst on the contemporary romance scene in 2012 with her award-winning Amour et Chocolat series. Since then, her books have appeared in ten languages, been named among the Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, RT Book Reviews, and Barnes & Noble, received the RT Seal of Excellence and starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist, and been recommended by NPR, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. In 2015, NPR gave her the enormous honor of naming her Chocolate Kiss to its list of the Top 100 Romances of all time.

For more information, please see her website: www.lauraflorand.com.

 

Interview with Author A.L. Davroe and Excerpt from Redux!

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A.L. Davroe is the author of Nexis and Redux both reviewed here yesterday and both highly recommended!


I confess to you that when I read books I tend to be a little dichotomous: one part of me is reading as a reader and one part is reading as a writer. So when I was reading both Nexis and Redux, I was very much admiring the worlds that A.L. Davroe built as much as her great descriptive writing. I don’t know whether these would be questions typical readers would ask, but they are for this dichotomous one.

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Thank you so much to A.L. for being my very first interviewee here on the Microcosm! Welcome!

Sascha Darlington (SD): First, I am amazed by your world-building. How did you go about doing it? How much time did you spend on it? Did you do up an outline?

A.L. Davroe (ALD): You know, I really didn’t put much thought into the world-building in the Tricksters series at all.  I’m a “pantser” – meaning I fly by the seat of my pants when I write.  I got the idea to write a sort of futuristic Cinderella story where she loses her leg instead of her shoe and just sort of ran with it.  This was before Marissa Meyer’s CINDER was even announced on Publisher’s Marketplace, so we just happened to come up with similar hook ideas.  Clearly, we went in different directions with them.  I sat down to write and had a novel after just a few months.  The editing on NEXIS was pretty light, so what you read is pretty much what came out of my head.  You can say that a lot of my influences went into that book.  If you’re a big fan of SF/F books, shows, movies, anime, or gaming, you might see a lot of little elements that leant to the world-building.  Nothing is entirely its own, especially when you adhere to actual science and try to predict our current path as human beings. But, I can say that the final product is something that doesn’t exist in any other media and I’m very proud of it.

SD: I read in your afterward that Nexis flowed far more easily than Redux. Did you write it spontaneously or plan it?

ALD: As mentioned above, I just came up with NEXIS as I wrote.  That was the beautiful gift of that book, LOL!  It wanted to be written.  REDUX, not so much.  I think it’s mostly because, when you aren’t the sort of creator who is disciplined and outline oriented, things don’t flow as well.  Even though, by the time NEXIS was sold to a publisher and coming out on the shelves, I had a pretty solid idea of where I was going with the sequel (I’d had to hand in a summary for the sequel to my editor when we first pitched NEXIS) it didn’t want to do what I wanted it to do.  As mentioned in the afterward, REDUX went through many transformations before it became something I was pleased with.

SD: Were you thinking ahead to Redux when you were planning events for Nexis?

ALD: I wasn’t!  I wrote NEXIS entirely without a concept for following novels in mind.  By the end of it, I knew there had to be more to the story.  NEXIS clearly ends on a “ship-cliff” as one of my friends calls it, and I knew I had to clear that, and the situation Ella creates in NEXIS, up.

SD: Are we going to get a third Tricksters novel?

ALD: When I handed the summary for the rest of the series in to the publisher, I did so with three books in mind.  I wrote and handed the first draft of REDUX in with three books in mind.  The original summary plotted a very different path for The Tricksters.  However, after discussing the series and options for strengthening REDUX with the editor, we decided on just two books for the time being.  That’s not to say I don’t have more to say.  I very much would like to write another book or two in the Tricksters world.  I’m dying to write a companion novel about Zane and Clairen and another about Delia and her beau ;D.  And I wouldn’t mind a follow up to REDUX – I’m dying to continue on with Taurus, Stormy, and the slaves.  For now though, my contract is only for two books and that seems to be what we’re sticking with.  Perhaps if sales demand it, then another will come.  Don’t worry though, I have other series if readers want more!

SD: Do you have a background in computers or did you have to do a lot of research to make these novels happen?

ALD: I actually have no more of a background in computers than most people do.  The extent of the science and technology in both novels comes from my own exposure through the media and my own research.  While I know some of the technologies have not yet been realized, I tried to utilize things that I knew were plausible given our current scientific path and our condition as humans.  By doing this, I’d hoped to build a world that was relatable to readers.  I can’t stand reading a dystopian and thinking to myself, “perhaps in a parallel world, but not in this one.”  That’s a shame, because while it allows us to examine broken systems, it doesn’t make us fear what we could become.  Without that we’re less likely to consciously police ourselves.  I hope that people will read this series and think to themselves, “Yeah, that could happen.”  I’m not saying that I set out to change the world or start a revolution, but I certainly thought about making a book that said something because I believe that that’s one of the back-bone elements of SFF.


Excerpt from Redux

From A.L. Davroe: So, I’m trying this new thing where either the reviewer or I pick out an excerpt and then I take a few lines to explain it.  In this way, I feel like readers can get a little bit of a “directors cut” view on REDUX.  Hope you don’t mind!

“I glance over my shoulder at Delia, once my best friend.

She notices me watching her. Now that the holo-mask is gone,

recognition dawns in her expression, and suddenly she seems

to be unable to stop staring. There’s a bubble of hope inside

of me, a desperate desire for her to come running at me in

laughing relief. But her face, alien and strange as it is under

those Mods, turns sour, the meaning clear. Hate, resentment,

betrayal. All those emotions are there, aimed at me.

She must wonder why, if I was alive, I didn’t come to

her. Why I didn’t heed all those messages she sent me in her

darkest moments. Instead, I let her suffer without me, let her

turn herself into one of them just so she wouldn’t be alone

anymore. There’s no way she would know that I couldn’t go

to her no matter how much I wanted to. I had been cut off

from the outside world, imprisoned in one small room with

only Meems to keep me sane. Even in the moments when my

ability to hack my habitation unit proved useful, I still couldn’t

go to her. I couldn’t run away for the simple fact that I didn’t

have legs to run on. One can be a prisoner, even in their own

body. Perhaps it’s too late for her to understand that, perhaps

the damage is already too deep, the hate too strong.

Heart falling, I turn away and stare at the floor.

Perhaps I’ve lost Delia for good.”

This excerpt is part of Ella’s first interaction with Delia, her best friend who she’s been separated from for the past year.  They’ve both gone through so much and become different people.  There’s a huge disconnect and betrayal felt on both sides.  Ella’s thoughts embody something that is often so common between two people in a relationship – the inability to put oneself in another’s shoes in an effort to understand why they hurt others.  It’s always so easy to just assume, but it’s not always so simple.  Ella doesn’t know what Delia has gone through and vice versa for Delia.  I chose it specifically because I’m a huge proponent of including strong, non-romantic bonds in novels – specifically between women.  I’m clearly aware of the Bechdel Test and I’d do a huge disservice to my characters, both male and female, if I didn’t make them well rounded, complex human beings.  Delia is just one of the many characters that Ella builds strong bonds with in this series, but this is the one relationship that I secretly champion the most in my head…Perhaps because I know just how dark Delia’s mind actually is.


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Author Bio:

A.L. (Amanda) Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Redux, the second in the Tricksters series, is coming out with Entangled Publishing  March 21, 2017!

By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and makes cheese.  She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods.  Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble.  She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.

 

Book Synopsis:

The domed city of Eva

Book Title: Redux

Author: A.L. Davroe

Release Date: March 21, 2017

Genre: YA Science Fiction

Author Email: ALDavroe@gmail.com

Author Website: http://www.ALDavroe.com

Author Blog: www. ALDavroe.com

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/aldavroe

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALDavroeFanPage

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5212441.A_L_Davroe

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/RBlXP

 

nescence is in ruins. With nowhere to go, prodigy hacker Ellani “Ella” Drexel and a small band of survivors flee to the Undertunnel below their city.

To escape the wasteland she unknowingly created.

But sanctuary is hard to find. With malfunctioning androids and angry rebels at their backs, the group hopes to press on for the neighboring city of Cadence. But Ella’s chosen path is challenging…life-threatening, even. Worse, the boy she loves is acting distant, and not at all like the person she first met in Nexis.

But then Ella learns a secret…and it changes everything.

Ella knows she needs to turn back and make a stand to reclaim her home. She’s determined to bring a new―and better―life to all who’ve suffered.

Or die trying.