First tell us a little bit about yourself, and who you are:
A: Well, simply put I’m a multi-genre author, an entrepreneur and a mother. I’ve been writing everything from original stories to poetry to fan fiction since I was in school and up until I took a year of Creative Writing in college I was self taught. I’ve also taken Media Communications in college and gotten heavier into graphic design because of what I learned and I’ve made it the focus of one of my businesses.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
A: I know so many talented writers in my personal life that would never be given a chance or taken seriously because they never went to college and learned how to write correctly. Yet, they are talented all the same and I want to help those people get recognized. I want to help those people break into the business and do what they love. As for myself, I only want to full time, make a good living doing what I love and for people to love my creations. My biggest dream is to see one of my novel series turned into a movie franchise. To be able to see my characters on screen portraying my ideas and my story well, as a writer there is nothing like it. It would be like the kid from the ghetto who loves football growing up to be in the NFL and winning the Super Bowl. That is how it would feel to me.
Which writers inspire you?
A: Ted Dekker, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth.
So, what have you written?
A: I’ve written poems that were published on poetry.com years ago. I haven’t published any novels as of yet, but I am working on one at the moment that is a sci-fi/fantasy/romance. Hoping to have it published in the next couple of months. I’ve written a ton of material but none of it has been public.
Where can we buy or see them?
A: Since nothing is published the best option is to follow my Facebook pages, Author Lu Groblebe. It will have the latest updates on the novel release date as well as exclusive material like teasers and book trailers. As a follower, you’d be the first to know. But there is also a couple of chapter previews posted on the page as well.
Who is your favorite character, and why?
A: Favorite character of another person’s work I would say would be Katniss Everdeen. I admired her nobility despite some of her darker traits and I actually loved her more because she was a very notably flawed. She was more relatable for me, seemed more human and not romanticized. Also, her battle with PTSD struck home with me, as I suffer from it also. It isn’t often we see a character suffer from mental illness. Favorite character of my own would be really difficult to answer. It would be a toss up between my current WIP lead female Circe, and a mother and a daughter from another series I plan to release in the future. All my characters have a little of me in them and each is a different part. These three characters though are probably the closest to my own likeness but exaggerated versions but still can be admired for who they are, what they endure and how they serve those around them along the way.
What is your current project about, and when do you think it will be ready for the public?
A: Orion: The Dhantri Chronicles introduces a three-four novel series which begins in Washington, DC in 2058. Twenty eight years before a peaceful, non violent alien race called the Dhantri landed in the United States and some were taken captive for testing and interrogation while a group of five escaped. Government officials who became aware of the landing acted quickly to mask the event from the public as nothing but a meteor crash. Right after though, a secret government Bureau of alien hunters was created as a branch of the FBI. Felipe Cisneros now heads the EXT Bureau with his son Marcin, Marcin’s best friend Marshall and Marcin’s childhood friend/fiancé Violet as his star employees.
Since that first landing twenty eight years ago, other Dhantri groups have landed secretly with the help of Nelieve—the Dhantri’s princess turned Queen—who’s given them new identities and the means to blend in as just another human. They are capable because of their ability to adapt their appearance to resemble the humans. Seir’ska Sve’ta was one of them, fifteen years ago. When she and her parents landed when she was five, they were ambushed and her parents were taken captive by the humans. Seir’ska narrowly escaped with Nelieve’s help and as a friend to Seir’ska’s parents, adopted her as her own and raised her.
Seir’ska—renamed Circe after her identity change—is twenty when the story opens. She is a socially awkward college student in her senior year of college in nonprofit management. Circe doesn’t allow herself to get close to anyone for fear of them discovering her secret and exposing her. She fears more for the others of her kind though than herself. However, for fifteen years she has been haunted by her parents’ abduction and wants to find them. Although Nelieve—now called Nelle—shares in this experience with her as her parents—the Dhantris’ leaders—were the first to be taken. However, doesn’t share in Circe’s desire to find them.
Marcin is a foul mouthed, ill tempered, workaholic, engaged to his childhood friend Violet, who he isn’t in love with and constantly fights with. His entire life has been mapped out for him by his father, the only parent he’s had to raise him since he was ten when his mother was taken and killed by the Dhantri. He mercilessly hunts them due to this.
His father is a tyrant and an over achiever and has fought to make Marcin in his likeness. Marcin has been a winner, and had the very best in life, thanks to his father but with no say of his own. This includes his circle of friends and his fiancé. Marshall, who has always been second to Marcin in everything they’ve done together and more like a brother than a friend and Violet, a grade A beauty who could easily have passed for a supermodel with an entitled attitude to match.
Everything in his life is going right except where his feelings for Violet are concerned. He spends countless nights reading over a file from the EXT bureau that is a recount of the first landing. As with many of those nights, he is confronted for his workaholic tendencies by Violet who is badgering him about their upcoming nuptials and lands him on the couch for the night.
We also meet Nelieve, Circe’s adopted mother and the newly inaugurated Queen of the Dhantri who has a lost many loved ones in her selfless acts of bravery to help her people land safely on Earth and adjust to their new lives. It’s because of her courage that she personally is wanted by the EXT Bureau and there is a reward for her capture. She dyes her hair to match Circe as a disguise and has reservations about taking any action to save those that have been captured, including her own parents.
A normal day catapults both sides into the beginning of an altercation.
What genre do you write in?
A: All of them. I’ve written as a hobby in a variety of genres already and I have an open mind so I never rule anything out. I would say my strength and interest lies most in fantasy/sci-fi but all my stories center around a romance of some sort.
How much research do you do?
A: Tons. I consider myself thorough and interested in making my stories believeable and legitimate. It’s a peeve of mine when I read something that isn’t.
Have you ever co-written any of your work?
A: When I wrote as a hobby, I did a lot of it. An actual novel though, no.
When did you decide to become a writer?
A: I had been back and forth with the idea for a few years. It was always something I was good at and enjoyed. I tended to get lost in it. I made the actual decision in late 2012, but I lacked the confidence I’d have any success as even an indie author. Last year, I got serious and there’s no turning back for me now.
Why do you write?
A: I write to create what isn’t possible or doesn’t exist in the real world. I write to express what no one will listen to when I speak. I write for happily ever afters that don’t happen in reality. I write to be a better version of myself. I write to stand up against injustice. I write to send a message that needs to be heard. I bleed ink. Sometimes it feels there is more of me in my writing than in the physical version of me. I can open up and be myself more on paper than anywhere else.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
A: Currently part time but if I could write full time, I would without question. I hope one day, it will be possible.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
A: As often as I can which is generally every day even if only editing or not for long periods.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
A: No. When I began writing Orion I was hitting a chapter, to a chapter and a half a day. But then life got busy with work and school so I slowed down quite a bit but I still make sure to accomplish something every day even if it’s just editing.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
A: I typically write on my iPad or laptop but occasionally I write on my phone. Rarely though as it isn’t entirely easy with the model of the phone. It just depends.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
A: From the same place I write recreationally. I began writing in school, but in adulthood I started text based roleplay where I learned to write stories and develop characters and that’s whers most of my work comes from.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
A: I tried just winging it and it worked for awhile but it started to become a problem when a particular part of the story needed to be changed. I felt like clutter to me and it became overwhelming. I had started an outline already too but I hadn’t finished it when I began writing. When I got to the point I couldn’t wing it anymore, I went back to my outline and began working on developing it so that I knew the direction of the story. My next novel will undoubtedly follow an outline.
What do you think is the biggest challenge about writing, or that writers face?
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
How do you handle Writer’s Block? Do you have any techniques, or tips you would like to share on tackling Writer’s Block?
A: A few different things actually. First choice is always to try and write myself out of it. I’m a firm believer that writing is the best solution. Many great writers have encouraged writers to write their way out of writer’s block. It usually works for me. Even if it means I put down the project I’m writing on and write something different. It gets the creative juices flowing. It doesn’t have to be good, it just has to make you write and more importantly, think. But at times, I’ll step away and maybe research on a topic my book covers. Also, story generators are helpful. They get you thinking too. Anything that makes me think will be beneficial.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
A: Either, I don’t have a preference between physical copy and ebook. However I will choose paper back over hard back every time.
What book/s are you reading at present?
A: Four. The fourth, bonus book of the Divergent series.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
A: I do my own proofreading and editing at the moment but when I am able to have someone do those for me, I will. It’s not something I believe I am well suited for, being my own writing. I always fear I won’t catch an error.
Tell us a little bit about your book covers: Did you design them, or have them designed?
A: The cover for Orion was designed by someone, Alora Kate. I intended to design my own and had been playing with a few design possibilities when I ran across a premade cover she had and it called to me. I couldn’t turn away from it. Though I do know how to design covers and like to make my own, I’m not opposed to using someone else’s work. I believe in supporting the indie community as much as possible. I will probably have Alora design the rest of the covers for The Dhantri Chronicles to ensure they work together as a unit.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
A: I do. I know that color is everything. Certain colors are eye catching, as we were taught in the Media Communications course I took. I know my cover doesn’t fit the eye catching criteria, but it fits the story and that means the most to me. I cannot sacrifice what I truly want to represent my book and my story, just to fit into a mold. I think my story stands well enough on its own and speaks for itself.
How are you publishing this book and why?
A: That is yet to be seen actually. At this moment I intend to publish independently. However, that can change as I am submitting a query to Orion this week. It really just depends on what they say and how long it takes them to answer me. If I finish the book before they answer, it will be published independently.
How do you market your books?
A: Mostly Facebook at this moment but I’m looking for other outlets.
Would you or do you use a PR agency?
A: No. I’d like to but I don’t have the means.
Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Which social network works best for you?
A: Facebook for sure. It’s where I have the largest network of authors and spend the largest amount of my social media time there.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
A: I don’t have a press release yet but I am considering one when I release the book.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
A: No but that is definitely something in the works.
What do you think of “trailers” for books? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book/s?
A: I love them. I actually make them myself.
Do you ever do giveaways, or free download days?
A: I fully intend to after the book is released.
What is your favourite motivational phrase.
A: One that I came up with myself during a really dark period a few years ago. “You have to fall before you can fully stand. You have to hit rock bottom before you can ever climb a mountain.”
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: As cliche’ as it sounds, don’t quit. Hone your craft as often as you can, network with other authors and watch them, engage with them. Whatever crumbs of advice and guidance they are willing to give you, take it and apply it. Also, don’t be discouraged by negative reviews, they happen to everyone. Some of them will be down right hateful but that’s a reflection of them, not you. Keep going, and don’t let negative words sit in your head. Get rid of them and stay focused.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
A: I am mainly on Facebook so it will be the quickest route to connecting to me. I do have other social media accounts elsewhere but Facebook is where I spend the most time.