Thursday, August 5, 2021

INTERVIEW with LAELIA STARLA


I want to thank Laelia Starla for taking the time for this interview!

I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I have!

Make sure to give Laelia a shout-out and FOLLOW her on all her social media!


BIO:

Laelia Starla is an Australian author who often raided her mother’s shelves for any form of fiction she could get her hands on.  Her first love was the horror genre, but she owes her love affair with the romance novel to her high-school English teacher, who started her on the classics.  Given her earlier reading, magical realism and paranormal romance were a natural progression.  Along with steamy romance, these are the genres she writes.

 

Her books include contemporary and paranormal romance with themes of forbidden relationships, complexities of love, romantic suspense, enemies to lovers, second chances, slow-burning chemistry, and polyamory.

 

She loves spending her spare time playing tabletop and video games, paper crafting, singing, dancing, and watching anime.



When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?


I have always loved reading and I even dabbled with creative writing during my high school years, but I only really got serious about it in 2018 when the idea for my first published novel came to me in a series of dreams.


Did you have any influencing writers growing up?

Anne Rice is one of my heroes, a powerful role model for female authors and one of the great writers of magical realism and paranormal romance.  My other recent influences include Cassandra Clare, Tiffany Reisz, and Siobhan Davis.


Are any of your characters based on people in real life?

So far, most of my characters are completely fictitious, but I have based some aspects of my stories on real life drama I have seen or experienced.


Where do you draw your book inspirations from?

Most of my ideas come to me either in dreams or when I am writing another book.  For example, From Prying Eyes—my second novel—is a meta story, born from my first book.  The protagonist of I Heart Mr. Collins becomes an author and when I wrote about the release of her debut novel, I thought what if I write the book that Phoebe wrote?  That was how The Phoebe Braddock Books came about.


Do you use have a basic outline when starting a new story or do you let the characters lead the way?

I am usually a plotter.  I say “usually” because I have been writing some serial fiction by the seat of my pants.  I like to plan my novels using beat sheets and outlines wherever possible, then I will get halfway into drafting a book and my characters take over and start writing it for me.


When you are picturing the characters in your book, do you have a cheater photo for inspiration?

Yes!  I love to find character portraits from my stock image library and pop them onto character sheets.  This is great for inspiration, but also for consistency.  You can even see some of these images with teasers during my book launch campaigns.


Many people read as a form of escape and relaxation. What is your favourite way to sit back and relax?

I love to read as a means of escaping and relaxing.  I also enjoy video gaming along with watching movies and TV shows.


Who are your favourite current authors to read?

I find it hard to pick favourites.  I like to read a lot of indie authors and some of my recent reading highlights come from Tate James, Jennifer Hartmann, Kyra Alessy, NV Roez, Emily McIntire, Jade Thorn, Claire L. Wilkinson, Gemma James, C.M. Stunich, and the list goes on.


What are your favourite books by others?

Choosing favourite books is even harder than picking favourite authors lol!


Do the locations in the stories have any meaning to you?

Yes, they do.  I prefer to set my stories in locations I am familiar with because it is easier to convey an authentic setting that way.  Melbourne, one of my favourite Australian cities, is a melting pot of vibrant culture and the perfect backdrop for The Phoebe Braddock Books.  The Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia is a beautiful part of the world that always captured my imagination, which is why I set the Winter’s Magic Series there.


Do you write in single or multiple POV?

Most of my books are in multiple character perspectives.  I like to give insight into how different people think and feel.


What do you find to be your best research tool?

Google.  Just don’t go looking at my browser search history!


Do you write under a pen name?  Also, do you write under more than one name?

Yes, L. Starla is my one and only pen name.


What genre do you write and why is this your preference?

I write contemporary and paranormal romance, although I will be branching out into women’s fiction.  This is my preference because I like character driven stories full of drama, passion, and steamy chemistry.


Tell me something about yourself outside of writing.  Jobs, accomplishments, family, quirky traits ... what led to you being you?

From the age of 15, I wanted to doing something scientific, so I studied a double degree in microbiology and chemistry when I first went to uni.  From there I ended up working in quality assurance and compliance until I burned out and decided to become my own boss.  My husband is super supportive of my creative endeavors, and he even edits my manuscripts.  I have one pre-teen boy who makes me proud as punch, and a tabby cat who sits on my lap and judges my work as I write.


What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

Start by reading lots of books in your genre, then sit down and write!  If you plan to self-publish, don’t skimp on the editing.  Go through your manuscript multiple times, pay an editor or proof-reader, and get feedback from beta readers.


How do you deal with and process negative book reviews?

I’m quite sensitive, so I’ll admit that they sting.  More often than not, they will lead to a creative block, so I take a break from my writing and watch movies or play games.

Reading the positive reviews others have left reaffirms the value of my work.  I also remind myself that fiction books are very subjective, and authors can’t please everyone; even the biggest names get 1-star reviews.

At the end of the day, I remember my “why.”  I am writing these books for myself first and foremost.  I enjoy immersing myself in my own stories and becoming intimately acquainted with the characters.

Sharing them with the world is secondary and how others perceive them is even lower in my priority tiers.


What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

I find the self-editing process difficult because of how tedious it becomes.  There are only so many times when rereading one’s own work can be enjoyable.


What do you need in your writer’s space to keep you focused?

I generally like to work in an uncluttered space. The only thing I find helpful for focus is my diary, which I keep open. I use this to track my daily tasks and writing goals.


What is your naughty indulgence as you are writing?


Lots of coffee!  I'm chain drinking the stuff through an eight-hour day.


If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?  And why?

I’d love to have a chat with my hero- Anne Rice.  As I mentioned previously, she is a great role model and I think I could learn a lot from her.


What is your schedule like when you are writing?  Do you have a favorite writing snack or drink?

It always starts with coffee—that’s my favourite drink—and I usually have at least two while I check my email and social media.

Once I’ve woken up, I spend a small chunk of time each day on the business side of things, such as marketing and accounting.  Then I devote my afternoon and evening to the creative process.  This can include editing as well as drafting.


Do you listen to music when you write – what kind of music is your favorite?

Yes, I love putting together playlists that fit the theme of the books I write and listen to them for mood and inspiration.

The kind of music varies with each book and my preferences oscillate between metal, rock, trip-hop (not hip-hop), EDM, and R&B.


Have pets ever gotten in the way of your writing?

Oh my yes!  My kitty cat, Angel, is like my shadow when I’m working.  She will often jump up onto the bookshelf beside me and use it as a diving board to plummet into my lap, or onto my writing desk.

On a good day, she will settle in my lap.  But on most occasions, she will stand in front of my computer screen and meow at me for attention until I pick her up and cuddle her.  There are even times when she walks across my keyboard!


What is your kryptonite as a writer?  What totally puts you off your game?

Negative feedback and personal drama are the two biggest causes of creative block for me.


Have you ever killed off a character that your readers loved?

I have killed off several characters in different books.  I’m not sure how well-loved they were.

Two of them spent time being villains before I redeemed them, so I imagine most readers have mixed feelings about them.

Another was an outright villain, so no love lost there.

There was also a secondary character who met a tragic end.  Her death was emotional because of the impact it had on the primary characters, but again, I am not sure how much my readers liked her specifically.


How do you celebrate after typing THE END?

I love popping open a bottle of bubbly with my hubby.  I don’t drink champagne often, but celebrations call for special drinks.

 


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