Monday, 30 March 2015

Guest Author Interview - Laurel Heidtman/ Lolli Powell

Mystery author Laurel Heidtman and romance author Lolli Powel (they are the same person) join me in this week's Guest Author Interview:

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m an indie author (sounds so much better than self-published, doesn’t it?!) who writes mysteries under the name Laurel Heidtman and romances under the name Lolli Powell. My husband and I live on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in the state of Kentucky, USA, with four dogs and two cats (all rescues or abandoned animals who found us).

What inspired you to start writing?
I wanted to be a novelist for as long as I can remember, but I only devoted myself to it seriously in the last couple of years after retiring from the nine-to-five life. As for my inspiration, I think it’s genetic. My mother told me that before I could read I made up stories based on the pictures in books. Sounds like a born storyteller to me!

You write books in two genres - what drew you to them?
I enjoy reading all genres (with the possible except of techno-thrillers), but mysteries are my favorite so it was only natural to begin with what I most enjoy reading. However, I also like romance, horror, and some science-fiction. I think writing in different genres challenges me as a writer. While I write in two genres now, I’m not ruling out trying others in the future.

Where do your best ideas come from?
My subconscious as represented by my characters. Seriously, it’s rare that I can point to some external trigger. I usually start with just a germ of an idea that I think might make a good story, but as I begin, the characters “tell” me what to write. Sometimes I feel like I’m simply channeling them. That’s my subconscious at work.

That said, I don’t doubt that some of those “germs” are a result of an experience or a news story or something I’ve read. My subconscious stores it away, chews on it for a while, lets it ripen and—voila—I have the start of a story.

With my first romance, The Boy Next Door, I tried something I’d read about called “what if.” You take your idea, then keep saying “what if” to add more layers to the story. I started with the germ of an idea about a relationship between an older woman and a younger man, then said “what if she had been his babysitter” and “what if she had an ex who was causing problems” and “what if the woman’s adult daughter also had the hots for the younger man” and “what if there was another sexy and more appropriate man who was interested in the woman?” After I did that, the book just about wrote itself.

If you could spend a day with anyone from history, who would it be and why?
This was a tough question for me. I thought and thought about different famous people, but no one stood out. Then I realized I would most like to meet any of the “regular” folk from any time in history.

What was the last book you read?
Everybody Takes the Money by indie author Diane Patterson. It’s the third book in the Drusilla Thorne series, all of which are a great read.

What makes you stand out as a writer?
That’s a difficult question to answer. Maybe my varied life experience? My family was very poor when I was growing up in the fifties. We had electricity and a party-line phone, but no indoor plumbing, no TV, and little money. Fortunately we lived in the country and had chickens and a garden, so we never wanted for food. And there were always books in the house.

I worked my way through my undergrad degree (English with a creative writing emphasis—what else?) by being an exotic dancer (sounds better than “stripper,” doesn’t it?!) and bartender. It took me eight years of attending part-time during the late sixties and early/mid seventies to get my degree.

After graduation, I took a civil service exam and became a police officer. Ten years later, I went to graduate school for technical writing, worked briefly at a steel company, then went back to school for an associate degree in nursing.

I was a registered nurse on psychiatric and substance abuse units for a little over four years, then saw an ad for a technical writer for a company that wrote software for large court systems—a nice blend of my law enforcement background and my technical writing degree. I did that for 11 years before I retired.

All professions have a culture of their own and I’ve been immersed in several. I think that helps make my writing and characters realistic. Sometimes I regret that I didn’t devote myself to fiction writing when I was younger, but I think maybe this was the right time after all.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on a novel called Bad Girls, the second in my Eden mystery series. I can tell you how that idea came about. Over a million young people run away every year in the U.S., many of them females. And when a young woman with a history of alcohol/drug problems and a history of running away disappears, the natural assumption is that she’s disappeared of her own volition. But what if she didn’t? What if someone is preying on the “bad girls,” because he knows not as much effort is put into looking for them?

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
My latest release is a romantic intrigue titled The Wrong Kind of Man. It’s about a widow whose husband was exposed as a criminal and killed in jail. She comes home to the small Indiana town where she grew up, determined to live a quiet life. That quiet is shattered when she finds herself attracted to a friend of her ne’er-do-well uncle. She is certain the two of them are the burglars who attempted a break-in at a house outside of town, but even though he’s the wrong kind of man, she still wants him. She soon realizes the homeowner is not the innocent victim he seemed to be, leading her to believe her uncle and the man she can’t get out of her head are involved in organized crime.

You can read an excerpt, as well as more about it and my other books at either of my websites: http://www.laurelheidtman.com or http://www.lollipowell.com.

Click here to buy The Wrong Kind of Man from Amazon

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