Over at the Playground I am trying something a little different. In order to truly capture the essence of what the blog is about, I have taken a break from doing a randomly selected spotlight contests and will be choosing authors myself that I feel fit the ethos of the blog. Just in time for that, I read the post-apocalyptic short story Hope by Lydia Sherrer, which I loved and reviewed earlier in the blog, what better opportunity therefore to hand pick a spotlight author?
As well as the sort story writing, Lydia is also the author of a modern fantasy series, The Lily Singer Adventures.
Q: For those that are new to Lydia Sherrer, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your books?
Lydia: I'm a perfectionist, workaholic geek meister who spends her time making up stories, then thinking up terrible things for her characters to go through to make them better people. Oh, and snarky humour. I spend a significant amount of time thinking up snarky things for my characters to say. When i'm not writing (50% of my time) or trying to market my writing (60% of my time) I spend time gaming with my husband (20% of my time), Playing my Ocarina (10% of my time) and cooking (1% of my time, though I wish it were 0%). You've probably realized by now that all those percentages don't add up. Welcome to my life.
My debut series, "Love, Lies, and Hocus Pocus - the Lily Singer Adventures," is a modern magical fantasy full of adventure, the aforementioned snarky humour, tea, books, and a talking cat. Lily is a wizard and archivist who just wants to be left alone to take care of the library at Agnes Scott, an all women's college in Atlanta. Sebastian is a ne'er-do-well witch who thinks rules are more like guidelines and his favourite thing to do is pop in on Lily and raise her blood pressure. Many shenanigans ensure. Despite their opposing personalities, they watch each other's back while Lily searches for clues about her mysterious past, and Sebastian struggles to face the demons in his (like, literally, there are demons there).
If either I, or my books intrigue you, you can find out more at www.lydiasherrer.com
Q: At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Lydia: Around age 20, after I'd spent so much time writing I decided it would be a waste of my time to not do something constructive with it.
Q: Do you need peace and quiet to write or do you have a playlist to keep you going? If you do, would you share it with us?
Lydia: I almost always need music playing. It gets me in the mood. These days I mostly listen to epic music mixes on youtube, but I do have a soft spot for the band Two Steps from Hell. If I ever need to write something dark and depressing, I listen to the Hunger Games soundtrack (all 4 movies). That is seriously of the most haunting and tragic stories I've come across in a while. The music reflects it.
Q: Are you characters always a complete work of fiction or is there an element of someone you know to start the idea rolling?
Lydia: Writers write what they know. Every place and character I've ever written springs out of someone or something I already know, or have come to know through research. Many characteristics from my family and friends show up in my characters, because those are the types of people I know well, understand, and can write authentically about.
Q: What are your experiences of being an Indie Author, do you feel that social media is a help or a distraction to your writing?
Lydia: I love being an Indie Author. The creative freedom and autonomy is amazing, thought the responsibilities that go along with it can be crushing at times. Social media is absolutely essential to survival as an Indie Author. Though of course I catch myself browsing Facebook or Twitter when I should be writing, I find that the connections and relationships I make on social media always feed back into the wonderful life I have as an Indie Author and help build bridges that help me down the road. But yes, I admit to getting on Facebook for a particular marketing task and realizing after twenty minutes of mindless browsing that I have absolutely no idea why I got on in the first place.
Q: What are you currently working on or is it a secret?
Lydia: I actually just finished a two month writing spree, and the result is the third book in the Lily Singer Adventures! It is a bit longer than I'd planned for, but I'm sure my readers will cheer at that. Next up is book four of that series, which along with book three will be coming out Spring 2017. I also have a dark scifi/fantasy series in the wings (vampires, political subterfuge, and two orphan sisters who kick everyone's collective butt to protect each other) which I hope to start publishing in 2018. Oh, and I just finished polishing a dystopian scifi short story about retribution and depravity of human nature which I'll be putting up sometime in August. I'm all over the place, I know, but I'm happiest when I'm over-worked and sleep-deprived. Feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to up will it all lydiasherrer.com/subscribe/
Q: There is a bit of a leap between your modern fantasy series and the dystopian world of Hope, is it difficult as a writer to switch genres, or is it best to experiment?
Lydia: I can only speak for me, as each writer is unique in their methods and thought process. For me, switching genres isn't a problem, it's switching characters that is tricky. To write well, I have to get in my characters' heads, or else I wont know what they should be thinking, doing, and saying. I find it best to finish a work, or at least get to a good stopping place, before hopping over to something different. For instance, I wanted to finish the Lily Singer Adventures Book 3 (last Friday), before I went back today to my scifi dystopian short.
Q: If you could be any character you have written, who would you choose?
Lydia: None of them, actually. I like my life just fine, and the type of character I'd prefer to be is horribly unrealistic and would make a terrible book (a super overpowered, badass fighter who kicks all butts, never loses, and makes out with the hot guy at the end. Very satisfying but terrible writing material).
If you forced me at gunpoint to be one of my characters, I'd pick the talking cat Sir Edgar Allan Kipling from my Lily Singer Adventures series. Being a cat would be awesome, since I'd always be right, could get into anything, and would have an unending supply of food and adoring fans. Sounds like the life, right?
Q: What are you currently reading?
Lydia: The Bands of Mourning, by Brandon Sanderson. I really like the way he mixes science and fantasy in his Mistborm books and he is very good at writing relatable, likeable characters.
Q: Fictional Dinner Party - give me 5 fictional characters of authors who you have as dinner companions.
Lydian: All authors. While I enjoy fantasy and fiction, I enjoy them because of what they teach me about myself and the world around me, not because I'd rather be in them than in realisty. The authors who wrote the stories that changed my life are the true heroes: JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, Terry Pratchett, Tamora Pierce, and Robin McKinley.
Thanks so much Lydia for answering our questions! I am very much looking forward to your new series starting in 2018, and I hope for continuing success with your Lily Singer Adventures!