Destiny Fulfilled is my debut release, and it’s brimming with romance, fantasy, intriguing characters like immortal druids and faeries, and a great battle of good versus evil. Lord of the Rings, the movie trilogy (I liked the books too, but the movies are my all-time favorite), was definitely a hefty inspiration in guiding me to push boundaries, to open my imagination, to create a magical world readers want to lose themselves in. It is not part of a series at this time, but I am always open to the possibilities.
Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite character has to be Riagan Tenman, the immortal warrior druid/hero who oozes sex appeal like an enticing scent. His character starts off as crass and shallow, but he changes in the most endearing, often humorous way. After Riagan, it’s a tie between Wren, the heroine, and her mother, Annie. Then throw in Wren’s beloved bloodhound, Duke, and it’s a cast of characters that will always be dear to my heart.
Do you belong to a critique group? Have they helped improve your writing?
I have tried critique groups in the past, and have always valued the feedback, but I find I have trouble sticking with it. Either it’s my critique partner who fizzles as life gets in the way, or it’s me, as my life gets in the way. I am a very quiet, introverted person by nature and do better when I operate on my own. That being said, I have dear writerly friends who will read for me when I ask them to and will provide feedback. I also just started working with a professional editor who is helping me with my next novel because I’m stuck and I can’t figure out how to get myself out of the muck. I do recommend multiple eyes see a manuscript, whether it’s a formal critique group, friends who beta read (and provide honest feedback!), or hired professionals.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I am an avid devotee to Pandora, and the music station I always listen to when I write is the Hayley Westenra station. She’s a singer from New Zealand, similar to Celtic Woman and Josh Groban. Something about the lyrical tone of her voice takes my scattered, disorganized mind and lays a path to focus and motivation. I’ve been listening to this station for over five years. Creature of habit, I guess, but if it works, why mess with it?!
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I do not outline, though I often wish I did! I usually have an idea of where I’m starting, where I’m going, and where I’ll end up. The rest is flying by the seat of my proverbial pants and letting my mind do what it does best-create.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
Yes! Even if your publisher provides editing, it’s not a bad idea to have a content/developmental editor in your back pocket, as well as a copy editor. If you’re in the querying agents stage, it’s worth it to pay for these services before submitting to ensure your manuscript is the best it can be (they can be very expensive, though, especially to someone just starting out). One of my dear friends landed an agent this way, so it’s something to think about. Remember, it’s a highly competitive world and putting your best foot forward at the beginning is essential.
Do you find it difficult to juggle your time between marketing your current book and writing your next book?
I am terrible at marketing. Absolutely terrible. I am introverted to a fault and find it very difficult to promote myself. I’m happiest and most content when I’m creating new content, but that doesn’t sell books, now does it? Becoming comfortable with marketing is a necessity that cannot be overvalued. There are thousands upon thousands of authors in the world now, and yes, you’re competing with every single one of them. If they market better than you do, it doesn’t matter if your story is better. They’ll get the exposure, and likely, the sales. I need to take my own advice, don’t I?!
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
I would recommend the critique group, and not just friends. Friends and family are often not as lethally honest as they need to be. Join or form a critique group and take the advice to heart (whether or not you use it). Join a writer’s community. I belong to Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Women’s Fiction Writers. Not only do these organizations expose you to other like-minded people, but they offer workshops and these are vital to learning and improving the writing craft.
Some fun facts about you, which do you prefer – dogs or cats? Chocolate or vanilla? Coffee or Tea? Talk or Text? Day or Night?
Hmm…fun facts about me. I’ll fire off a list like a lightening-round in a game show:
Dogs or cats: Dogs all the way!
Chocolate or vanilla: What’s vanilla?
Coffee or tea: Coffee in the morning; matcha green tea in the afternoon.
Talk or text: Text. Text. Text. Introvert all the way.
Day or night: I’m most productive in the morning, but I do love to sleep. Let’s call it a tie.
Adult or YA literature: Any and all. I love to read.
Library or book store: Library…and book store if I have the budget for the books I want to buy.
Bike or drive: Drive. Like a maniac.
Computer or pen and paper: Pen and paper, though computer is too convenient.
Meatballs or tofu: Tofu.
The Great British Baking Show or NFL: The Great British Baking Show (I’m currently watching reruns).
Hug or handshake: Hug every time.
What’s next for you?
Love on the Ridge, a contemporary women’s fiction novel, releases through BHC Press in 2019. It’s book #1 in the Wildflower Ridge Series. The trilogy is set in beautiful West Virginia, where I was born and raised, and figures prominently in all three books. It’s a tale of young love gone awry, with a chance to make amends, and a future, when life forces them to reunite as adults.
Thank you so much for hosting me today. Cheers! Laire
Publication date: August 7th 2018
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Only love can save them…
Wren O’Hara is waiting for the day she succumbs to mental illness like her mother. When she is attacked by a psychotic client at work, and saved by what must be an angel, she fears the time for insanity has come.
Little does she know, her savior is an immortal warrior druid named Riagan Tenman, and that he will challenge everything she ever thought she knew about reality.
Now Wren must decide if the fantasy unfolding before her is true, or if she has finally lost her mind.
Laire McKinney is the author of contemporary and fantasy women’s fiction. She believes in a hard-earned happily-ever-after, with nothing more satisfying than passionate kisses and sexy love scenes, endearing characters and complex conflict. When not writing, she can be found traipsing among the wildflowers, reading under a willow tree, or gazing at the moon while pondering the meaning of it all. She lives in Virginia with her family and beloved rescue pup, Lila da Bean.
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