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Welcome to The Mysterious Stranger blog, Lillian James!
"Indie Author Tuesday" is all about showcasing writing talent beyond the big publishing companies. However, while my identity is clouded in mystery, James has broken onto the scene with her new novel, SPYRIDON. You can read more about James' book here.
Why did you decide to start writing stories?
I write because it's what I've always wanted to do. Whenever I was stressed or anxious as a child (which was often), I escaped into books. They felt like home. As I grew up and the stress and anxiety eased, that sense of homecoming remained. There's nothing like the warmth of sinking into a new story or the ache of finishing one that I'd hoped would somehow last forever. I want to provide that magic for someone else.
More recently, I discovered romance author Sherry Thomas. She writes beautiful, heart wrenching stories with prose that's both elegant and concise. I read her work and knew that I should aspire to her level of care with the English language. Then I found out that English is her second language, and I was blown away.
If you could have dinner with one author - living or not - who would it be and why?
That's a tough one. I'd have to say either Jane Austen or J.K. Rowling. I would love to ask Jane Austen how she managed to become such a prolific writer at a time when women were discouraged from such things. Given the rate of rejection that authors face today from agents and publishers, I think many of us would benefit from that kind of advice. And J.K. Rowling just seems like an amazing person. Brilliant, talented, kind, and unwilling to take crap from anyone. I think I'd have a great time sharing a meal with her - assuming I summon the courage to speak in her presence.
Many authors approach writing differently. Some plot, some just write. What is your writing process?
I started Spyridon with a seat of my pants approach. I was pretty far in when I realized that the story was more complex than I'd originally expected. It also looked like it would be too long for a single novel. So I took a step back and sketched out a rough outline and drew some maps of different settings. When I returned to the page, the writing went more smoothly. So before I started book 2 (my current work in progress), I took the time to write out a fairly comprehensive outline. It's flexible, though. I've found that the story is better when I let the characters drive the plot, so I'm viewing this outline as more of a suggestion than a rule.
And finally, a mysterious stranger approaches and offers you one book to read, unpublished in our universe but published in another alternate universe. Which book would you choose and why?
I'd love to read a cross between Harry Potter and Isaac Asimov's Foundation. I imagine it set in the School of Psychohistory with Hermione as the main character. At the start of the series, Dumbledore and Hermione would use psychohistory to predict the course of the next seven years. At the end of each year, Hermione would reveal that year's predictions to explain to Voldemort how they'd successfully thwarted all his dastardly deeds. After seven years of defeat, a demoralized Voldemort would give up his evil ways and slink away, never to be heard from again.
Oh, I'd also love to read a sequel to The Stand. I never get tired of that story.
Thanks once again, Lillian James, for the interview! If you'd like to know more about Lillian James and her novel, please visit the link below.