Monday, September 23, 2013

Interview: L.B. Simmons

Author Interview of the Week

Meet L.B. Simmons, author of Running on Empty.

Photo by L.B. Simmons

What made you want to be an author?

I didn’t figure out until later in life that I wanted to be an author.  I know that sounds weird, because so many writers just KNOW, like from birth.  I’ve always been able to write well, but writing a novel is something that honestly seemed so inconceivable and time-consuming I never, EVER imagined I would be able to finish one.  That being said, Running on Empty started as just a way to document all the CRAZY things that have happened to me because of my kiddos. Yes, the girls in the book are MY girls.  And most everything that happened in the first chapter happened to me…toothpaste, scraping shins, children “in the TV”.  I wanted to write them all down, I guess as a form of scrapbooking?  But, as I started to think about a main character, and her love interest, with all the stories I have from my children – well, everything just fell into place. And from the moment I started the first chapter, the story unraveled and I just kept writing and writing.  It was then that I discovered that writing actually touched my soul.  There is a certain peace I have when I write that’s indescribable, a true happiness. There was definitely no turning back after that.  Since then, I released Recovery, the companion novella for Running on Empty and have started writing Running in Place, the second book in my Mending Hearts series.

Who has inspired you the most?

Wow.  There are so many amazing authors who have paved the way in the self-publishing arena.  I would have to say that Jamie McGuire definitely was an inspiration.  She was the first indie published author I read.  I still have her self-pubbed Beautiful Disaster on my “favorites – must have in paperback” shelf.  I had no idea that there was even such a thing as self-publishing at the time. And then I went to her website, stalking like any good fan (LOL), and read her story. Loved her immensely from that point on.  Still do!

Can you tell us about some of your earlier days of writing?

Well, like I said before, Running on Empty was my first attempt at writing a full length novel.  I did have the typical research papers though if you would like to talk about Freud’s Id, Ego and Superego…or the effect of the Apartheid on South Africans. 

I’ve always enjoyed writing, regardless of the topic.  I see it kind of like a puzzle, putting the words in just the right way to get your point across and make a statement.

How has your life considerably changed since you've been published?

AH! Yes.  I never imagined that Running on Empty would be read by anyone more than my family members.  You push publish and you just pray you don’t embarrass yourself, and that people don’t rip your baby to shreds after reading it.  Honestly, these books are like children to me and putting them out there for everyone to read is a scary, scary thing. But, the amount of positive feedback I received was completely overwhelming - and unexpected.  I had several people that had gone through tragic deaths reach out to me to tell me that they completely understood Alex’s struggle and fear of vulnerability, and some of them even told me it helped them move on in their lives as well.  What an AMAZING feeling that was.  To know that my writing touched people’s hearts, that they were affected by the story I had to tell, it was so surreal. Those comments changed my life forever.

Learning to juggle both my full-time career and my writing career while trying to raise a family and be a decent wife was (and still is) very challenging.  Since I work during the day, most of my book activity comes at night.  Whether it is chatting with fans, answering emails, or just writing/editing my next book, it takes away from my family quite a bit.  So, recently, I decided it would be best for me to stay home to become a full-time writer.  My family comes first, there’s no doubt about that, so – something had to give.  I pray that I made the right decision and hope the success of Running in Place will cement that decision for our family,

You just published your books Running on Empty and Recovery. Congratulations! How does it feel? 

Surreal. I can say that I am a published author.  Every single day I am still shocked that I AM AN AUTHOR!  So crazy. But, it’s been an amazing journey so far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

What can readers expect from both Running on Empty and Running in Place?

I write characters who are NOT perfect, and who made mistakes. My characters most likely will make you mad, but that’s what makes them real and to me - relatable. I like to write real people who have real issues, because if I’m going to write, I can guarantee there are lessons involved. There are lessons in both Running on Empty and in Recovery.  Several of them.  I write them as a result of mistakes that I have made in my own life, and hope to use them as a way to reach out to some readers who need to know they’re not alone in their approach to life, and others who may not even realize that they ARE making mistakes.  That’s why I write.  I not only want to touch the readers mind and heart, but their life if possible. 

What has been the best experience so far on your journey as an author?

The amazing relationships I’ve built with my readers.  I love chatting with them and I love discussing not only my books, but ALL books.  I still read a lot, and I really enjoy recommending books and discussing them whenever possible.  Also, I have formed some lifelong friendships with other authors during this amazing journey.  Just knowing that there is someone who has been where I am, who understands the fears I have, and can help me with questions I may have - because I still have them like every single day – just knowing they’re there is so comforting. We beta read each other’s books, challenge each other’s ideas, root each other on, and love and support each other because we are bonded by our writing.  I love it and I love each one of them with ALL of my heart.

Can you give us some insight on any upcoming projects?

Well, Running in Place is currently underway.  I am so excited for Tatum and Noah’s story.  They are amazing already and I am totally in love with both of them.  I can say that Tatum is crazy, outgoing, and kind of boisterous at times, and Noah is very intense, always in his mind (when he’s not flirting with bar patrons) and just really balances Tatum. Well, they balance each other.  She brings him out of his “serious shell”.   ;)

What advice can you give to any upcoming authors?

Well, the number one thing I would like to share is it takes TIME to get where you want to be.  If you release a book, don’t expect it to fly to number one.  Most authors, and I know there are exceptions, need to build their fan base.  So, you release a book.  It doesn’t get to number one, but you get readers.  Those readers spread the word about your book over TIME.  Then you get more readers. Your fan base may have doubled or even tripled by the time of your next release, which will help build excitement and promotion for your next book.  The more books you release, the more readers you can reach.  

Another thing is interact with your readers.  Set up an author page, twitter account, a blog, a website – whatever you can do.  Make yourself available to them.  

THE BLOGS!  I would be NOTHING without the support of all of the wonderful blogs who help me promote my books.  Those who read and review, share teasers, allow me to participate in their giveaways with my books – these are all avenues for promotion and to help get my name to new readers.  Follow the blogs, interact with them, support them, ask them to be on your cover reveal and blog tours.  Get to know them because they are your lifeline in the self-pub industry. 

The last thing is to remember why you started writing in the first place.  Not everyone is going to love and rave about your book.  Be prepared for it and don’t take it personally.  There are so many different tastes out there when it comes to the readers, which means not everyone is going to do a back flip over your book. The main thing is, put your best work out there and have faith in your writing.  You wrote a book!  Be proud of yourself!  If someone doesn’t get your book, that’s okay.  It happens to EVERYONE! Let it go and continue writing.  You can’t please everyone, so don’t expect to.  Write what’s in YOUR heart for YOU and no one else.

That’s my Writing 101 course.  LOL!

Thanks so much, L.B. Simmons for interviewing with us! Don't forget to follow her outlets listed below!
L.B. Simmons Website

Cover by Okay Creations
Want to get your hands on a copy of her books? Click the links below!

 had the perfect life. Beautiful and loving husband.Three gorgeous little girls. Successful career. The only thing missing was the white picket fence. I really wanted that fence. Three years ago, I lost that life. I lost my husband. And I lost myself. But, eventually, I found my way through the darkness. I’ve made peace with my new life. I have my girls, and that’s all that matters. They are my world. I have no illusions of ever falling in love again or getting whisked away on a white horse. But then he came back into my life. On a freakin’ motorcycle. There’s no way I’ll let him turn my life completely upside down. Absolutely no way. The question is… How long can I keep pretending that I’m happy with my life being right-side up?

Want to get your hands on Running on Empty? Click here! Or here!

Cover by Okay Creations
I have the perfect life. I’ve finally found my happy ending. I fought through the loss of one husband, lucky enough to be given a second chance at a lifetime of happiness. Settling into our new lives, however, may not be as easy as it seems. What really happens after the fairytale ending? What happens after the prince rescues the princess? After he sweeps her off her feet and carries her off into the sunset? Do they truly live happily ever after? Well… This is our story.

Want to get your hands on a copy of Recovery? Click the links below!

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