Thursday, March 7, 2013

Author: Lara Nance Interview

I'm pleased to welcome Lara Nance to Books à la Mode today. Hello, Lara! Will you please share a brief bio with us?

Lara Nance grew up and lived in many cites throughout the South. She loves to write in a variety of genres, but the basis of all of her stories is a great tale that will take you on an adventure of imagination.

If you want to escape and lose yourself in a novel, you've come to the right place. Choose your genre and settle in to be entertained. From thrilling mysteries and steampunk tales to paranormal romance and adventure, she's willing to explore a variety of compelling stories full of danger and suspense, along with a touch of romance.

Having been on the fencing team in college and now living on a sailboat convinces her that she was a pirate in another life, or possibly kin to Errol Flynn... however, due to the unfortunate demise of the romantic pirates of the past, she lives out her fantasies, thrills and adventures in her stories. Lara loves to weave interesting true historical tidbits into her fiction which invite the reader to explore further after the novel is finished.

Currently docked in Norfolk, Virginia (until the wind changes) Lara enjoys living on her sailboat and spends time reading, of course writing, indulging a variety of artistic endeavors, cooking and sailing with her husband, Joe and their Yorkie, Rio.

What is your newest release, Memories of Murder, about?

Series: GEM Paranormal Mysteries #1
Page Count: 276
Release Date: 1 January 2013 (Second edition)
Publisher: CreateSpace (self-published)
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery

When Maeve McKenna renounces her witch powers and accepts a low-key nurse practitioner position at a Virginia retirement community, the last thing she expects is a suicide her first day on the job.

As the town's sexy sheriff, Paul Sutton, starts looking into the tragic death of his father's friend, Maeve can't help but get involved—with both the case and him.Their informal investigation unveils an old journal that connects the ruins of a nearby asylum and long-forgotten cemetery with the shiny new retirement community's memory unit—and Maeve's Alzheimer's patients.

Maeve senses a sinister presence in the old asylum, calling to the patients, but in order to stop it from killing again, she must first conquer some demons of her own and reclaim the magic she's denied herself.
How did you come up with the title?

Memories of Murder is from memories of both the Alzheimer’s patients in the story and the woman who left a diary about the murders committed by a doctor at an old insane asylum on the site of a current retirement community. The memories of the past allow the hero and heroine to solve the present day murders.

How did your plot and characters develop?

As a nurse practitioner, I’ve dealt with Alzheimer’s patients for years. I always wondered if they existed in another dimension of awareness than the rest of us. They see people and things. Maybe they see ghosts. I used my experience with these patients and the angst of their families to develop those characters.

For Maeve I based her somewhat on my own experiences as a nurse practitioner, since she is also one. Then I looked for conflict in her past that would keep her from using her witch powers. Her love interest will draw her out and give her a reason to readdress her heritage and the importance of accepting her powers.

It seems like you put a lot of your experiences into this story. What else from your real life is in Memories of Murder?

The history of 19th century insane asylums is very real regarding the horrors of treatment and how people entered them and never returned to a normal life when today they might have had a different life.

In addition, I’ve suffered from depression most of my adult life and can speak to the misunderstandings that can go along with this disease.

Very brave of you to openly admit and acknowledge that part of yourself. What kickstarted your interest in writing?

In 1988, I was reading a lot of Star Trek novels after my company moved me to a new city where I didn’t know anyone. I decided I wanted to write one, so I wrote one in a spiral notebook in pencil. That was when I knew I wanted to be a writer.

Interesting how you found inspiration from other books. What is the most difficult aspect to writing a novel?

With many crafts you can finish them in a day or week. But writing a novel takes months, and to see it published sometimes takes years. You have to have a lot of persistence, patience, and stamina to be in this business.

So true! Writers are the hardest laborers. Who is your favorite author?

Anne McCaffrey. I love her characters and the imagination of her settings. Most of her protagonists are women who overcome a lot of adversity. She also incorporates food in her stories, I love that for some strange reason. Her characters are always eating.

What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing?

I’ve met readers who like my books. That’s been the most amazing part of this journey. To think I’ve touched people I don’t know and gave them some entertainment, is everything to me.

It certainly sounds like a dream come true. What's something you learned from writing Memories of Murder?

Patience and to accept suggestions from my beta readers. It was the first time I’d used a critique group and it really helped in the book's development.

It's so great that you got some early feedback for this book. It can help both with publicity and content revision. What's next for you?

I’m currently finishing the third book in my steampunk adventure series. When I finish that I’ll be working on the second book in my DraculaVille series.

What is the message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

First, that mental illness, especially depression, are poorly understood even today and those who suffer from this disease are sometimes stigmatized and treated with disdain.

Second, that Alzheimer’s patients still have a lot of depth to them and deal with their memories in different ways than we do. They deserve dignity and compassion. It’s a horrible illness, not just for the patients, but for the families as well.

Give aspiring readers your best advice—something you wish you'd known before getting published.

Have a thick hide and dogged persistence.

Keep writing. Every book you write will be better than the last.

Get people to critique your work and listen to what they have to say. Keep what resonates with you and release the negativity.

Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you'd known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.
Don’t put off your dreams. Live them now. Never doubt what you’re capable of, just go for it Americanflag

Of course, of course. A lifetime waiting is a lifetime wasted. Where can you be found on the web?

It was wonderful hosting you for Orangeberry, Lara! Thank you so much for joining us, and good luck with the rest of the tour.