Warrior's Rise, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Warrior's Rise?
LJ DELEON: Warrior’s Rise takes place, here, now, and on Earth. But not the Earth we know...or is it? Reviewers have called it a fantasy romance, a paranormal romance, and an urban fantasy romance. It actually crosses all three genres.
Now, with the rise of the Dark Lord and his demons roaming Earth, human norm society has been turned on its head. Belief systems are in turmoil. It’s become a world where the young Eagle Scout next door just might be a were-eagle, or your favorite running back is a werewolf, or—gasp—your benign-looking Senator is a black magick mage. And humans who have always viewed themselves as being at top food chain suddenly discover themselves prey.
Warrior’s Rise asks the question, can the norms pull together and work with non-humans to save not only Earth, but also Otherworld?
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
LJ DELEON: I write autobiographies for each of my characters. I have my characters write about their lives from their earliest years to age twenty-five. That’s the age when an individual’s knee-jerk, gut reactions are fully formed. I also watch people and listen to how they speak.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
LJ DELEON: My ideal reader is someone that wants to be entertained when reading, who likes to explore new ideas, and can suspend disbelief. Warrior’s Rise is the first book in the Warriors For Light Series. Book 2, Dragon Child has just been released. This series deals with the eternal struggle of good versus evil and the multiple shades of gray that exist in war. The stories are about humans, were-animals, demons, archangels, and Fae, to name a few. There are good and bad on both sides. So, readers need not only to accept, at least for as long as they are reading the story, these beings exist, but that life or if you like, fate, has a warped sense of humor.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
LJ DELEON: I started late writing my stories. I always knew I was a storyteller, but didn’t think of myself as a writer. I found when I didn’t like how a book, TV show, or film ended, I rewrote it. Then, when stationed at the US Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, I read a truly awful book and said, “I can do better than that.” A year later, my effort was lining the litter box. But I was hooked and kept writing, taking workshops, and writing.
I kept at it and have had, and still have, work published under two other pen names. But when it came time to write the Warriors For Light series and my futuristic series, The Turner Chronicles, I decided to write under my own name. I suspect Warrior’s Rise and Dragon Child, along with the other books in both series, have been percolating in my brain for most of my life. I grew up reading fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. They were my favorites.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
LJ DELEON: I plot and write autobiographies for my characters. This allows me to know their voices when I start to write the novel and cuts down on the rewrites and edits. I also plot out all my key points, although some change during the writing. Because I write fantasy romance, urban fantasy, and futuristic romance, which some call cyberpunk, I create a bible for each of the worlds my characters inhabit. In the Warriors for Light series, I have four worlds: Earth, Otherworld, the Abyss, and hIfreann, where the Goddess and her Paladins—the Seraphim—and the Saraph dragons live. I spreadsheet my characters, who comes from where, and who fights for which side. I also spreadsheet my scenes, whose point of view dominates and what’s the key point of the scene.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
LJ DELEON: Oh, gee, now this one is tough. You have to understand, they’ll have to pry my Kindle from my cold, dead hands. But a few of them through the years have been: Issac Asimov—especially his Foundation series, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, and Madeleine L'Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time series. In recent years it has been Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and a newcomer, KH LeMoyne.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
LJ DELEON: I wish I’d written the first three books of Asimov’s Foundation series. I can still pick up a copy and, if asked to find a specific passage, go straight to it.
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
LJ DELEON: I’ve been so busy writing, I honestly forgot about premarketing. I’ve started a blog at http://www.warriorsforlight.com and am giving interviews, doing podcasts, getting my work reviewed, which is both thrilling and terrifying, and guest blogging. I’ve created a Facebook Fan page and Twitter account. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m still learning how to navigate through social media. Maybe because I worked for the CIA, I have trouble putting myself out publically. For years it was drummed into me, never put anything in writing you aren’t will to see on the front page of tomorrow’s Washington Post, above the fold.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
LJ DELEON: Kindle has leveled the playing field for writers. It's no longer about how you get your work published, but how good your published work is. Also, after the third rejection that said, “I love your writing, the book grabbed me, your world building is excellent, but I’m afraid I have to pass on this because it doesn’t fit our line,” I decided, I know there are readers out there who will love this story. So, here I am. However, to ensure quality work, I have a great outside editor and a fantastic cover artist, both of which I think are critical. My competition for the reader’s dollar isn’t just NY traditionally published authors, but small press and indie authors, too. The key to have readers return to my books is to produce not only a good story, but one that is well-written and not filled with grammar and punctuation errors. Nothing will turn readers away faster than a story that has these errors.
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
LJ DELEON: Research what is involved in bringing out a book as an indie. Treat your writing and indie publishing as a business, because it is. Edit, proofread, have a critique partner read, comment, and edit your work. Then edit again and hire an editor with experience in your genre and have a quality cover done by a trained graphic artist. Mine is an accomplished artist and the head artist for several small presses. As with any business, you have to pay money to get quality work. Readers want a good product for their money. Give them what they want, and you will sell. It’s also important to set realistic goals and have a five-year plan. Don’t expect to be an overnight sensation. Very few of us will be like Amanda Hocking. And finally, don’t give up.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
LJ DeLeon is an Army brat and a world-traveled former CIA Intelligence Analyst who has seen enough of this world to appreciate other worlds. Working for the CIA was great training for writing fantasy romance, paranormal romance, and futuristic romance. It also helped in understanding the warrior mentality. Amazing how real life and fiction overlap. You can visit LJ at http://www.ljdeleon.com or read LJ's blog and learn all about the Warriors For Light at http://www.warriorsforlight.com.
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