Today I have Lori Titus with me talking about her latest book, which she has co-written with another good friend of mine Author Crystal Connor "The Guardians of Man" as well as some about herself.
1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
I am from Los Angeles, but these days I live in Central California. I have written stories since I was a kid, and once I grew up I put it on the back burner for a lot of years, trying to find out what my true vocation was. Turns out it was always about telling stories and listening to people tell me about themselves. My sister and I both wrote stories and poetry for pleasure. My mom used to sew and design clothing, so you can say we were a pretty creative family.
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Writing really is my biggest hobby, but I love music too. I love a lot of different genres. One day it will be alternative, another day R&B, sometimes the most mindless pop. I like some goth and some electronica. I like classical sometimes, and depending on which singer, some country.
3. Where do you get your ideas from?
Lots of places. Sometimes just things I hear on the news, or a snatch of conversation that I overhear. My favorite are the ideas that just seem to present themselves out of nowhere.
4. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, which would be your favorite and why?
This is such a hard question! I love my stories for different reasons. I will say that for now, The Creed of Cain, the project I am working on right now, is my favorite, because it combines many different things I have learned about life and storytelling in general.
5. Does any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
Most of my stories rely heavily upon my imagination. There are bits of real life experiences in some of them. One of my stories incorporates tragedies from several different families into one. But there are no characters that are wholesale copied from real life.
6. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
I would love to write straightforward romance one day.
7. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
There are so many great writers, and I’m always trying to get to more of them. Lately I am enjoying Laini Taylor’s books. She has a wonderful way with imagery and phrasing. I’m looking forward to the new Tananarive Due.
8. Who are your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
Favorite female! That’s a crowded category. I love Marradith Ryder, and in many ways she is my favorite. I admire her courage despite the fact that a lot of the time she doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she manages to feel her way through life. I love Luella Drake, because in some ways she symbolizes the strength of women from a bygone era, especially women of color.
9. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
I think the hardest part of writing are the things that come after your book is written- promotions, book signings, marketing. All are necessary to success, and it can be difficult when working with a limited budget. And finding the time to write is always an issue. You have to create the time!
10. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Everyone tells you to read as much as you can get your hands on, and that’s always good. I had a well-known author tell me once to also watch as many movies as you can. These are other forms of storytelling, and this can help you to use visualization in your own work. My most personal advice is to write - a lot. About whatever moves you. Journals, snippets of music, ideas about things or people. Seek out what you’re not finding in other people’s stories and put that into your work. Write for a while before you show anyone your work, learn your craft. When you’re ready, get the support of someone who knows how to edit and take their advice.
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
My latest novel available right now is called The Guardians of Man, which was co-authored with Crystal Connor under the pen name Connor Titus. It’s an apocalyptic novel about a small town already cut off from the world by the mountains. When a geomagnetic storm takes computer systems and the power grid offline, things go bad very quickly. But the resourceful people of The Keep are standing on the line of the ultimate battle, foretold in sacred text that has been hidden among them.
Excerpt of The Guardians of Man:
The train’s heavy engines stuttered, shaking Len awake. It was as dark inside the cabin as it was outside, when he reached for his phone he found it dead. No one knew what was going on but there wasn’t a sense of panic. He heard someone grumbling about dated American technology, and another disgruntled passenger suggested that this wouldn’t happen in Japan with the bullet train. Len smiled and shook his head.
The Amtrak coasted fifteen miles before it came to a full stop. People stood to stretch their legs, mulled around, and wondered aloud about the obvious power outage that had caused the train to stop, the lights to go out and the phones to die. Though the lack of cell phone services was the largest of their concerns at the moment none of the passengers could have known, that in the next few seconds, hundreds of them would be dead.
Because of the loss of engines the fighter jet racing to slam into the train was mute. It crashed like a falling star.
Len would remember the explosions later in flashes; flame, heat, and all sound suddenly gone, his eardrums pounding, only adding to his sense of confusion. The ground quaked as metal and fire became one with Earth, destroying those in its fiery wake. He pitched forward, not sure of where he was going, only that he must move or die. He would remember the sight and scent of men on fire, how they lit like roman candles, columns of light in the otherwise complete darkness.
I have a new book coming out on July 15th, 2015 that is available for pre-order. It’s called The Bell House, and I am excited that it will finally be out. The story is about two half-sisters, their uneasy relationship, and the family history that haunts them, both literally and figuratively. I call it a Southern Gothic horror story with a twist. There’s an abundance of secrets and drama that will keep you interested. It was a really fun story to write, and I am hoping my readers will like it just as much.
Excerpt of The Bell House:
My name is Diana Bell.
I went to the funeral of my sister’s husband. I could barely reach her with the gaggle of people around. They came in their shiny BMWs, men wearing suits, little women wearing heels and too-tight skirts under their tailored blazers.
I hate bourgeois black folk.
My sister looked dazed, like a drowning swimmer not sure which strokes will pull her up to the surface for air.
Jenna is my half-sister, and we share one bond now. We’re both motherless.
Jenna had her mother a lot longer than I did. Mine came in and out of my life like a ghost with blurred eyes that laughed hard and screamed too easily. Even when she was alive, my mother was pushing the edges of everything. Life. Enjoyment. Pain. And in the end it got her, and then she was gone.
I’m told Jenna took care of her mother, Louise, through two bouts of cancer and the eventual destruction that followed. In the end, the old woman had been so bad that she couldn’t walk, could barely see, and didn’t remember anything other than her daughter.
I can be found on Twitter as @Loribeth215
Link to my flash fiction website: Flashes in the Dark: www.flashesinthedark.com