I’ve known Angel Lawson in one way or another for a long time. She can be surprisingly shy so I arranged this interview where she’d be most comfortable; her couch by herself away from all her familial distractions, hoping for her to really open up to me about her writing process. I should’ve known better. Kidding! She shared some insight to her writing process and the village that helps keep her Writing Village in order. I hope you enjoy.
TB – So first off, congratulations on your book! This is really exciting. Now, am I correct in saying that you’re giving away the e-book version for free(!!!) of Wraith this weekend?
AL – Yes! It’s my birthday and in the Angel Lawson house you have to pick a birthday to give away stuff instead of receiving stuff. So if the kids can do it then so can I.
TB – That’s pretty generous. How does that work?
AL – Go to Amazon and download the book to any Kindle receptive product (kindle, computer, iPhone, iPad)
TB – How long was the process of doing the book? I mean, coming up with the idea, doing a first draft, editing, finalizing, getting it turned into an e-book, cover design, etc. How long did that take?
AL – It took me about 6 months to fully write and edit the book. Then I shelved it for a while, wrote another book and then went back and re-edited again. The second edit took me all of spring break last year. The formatting process took about 2 months but I was relying on awesome free labor so that may be different than other people. I made the cover so that took me a couple hours once I had the idea together.
TB – Did you have any preconceived notions going into it for the time and effort it would take?
AL – No. I had written some before but nothing on this large of a scale. I kind of tried to have a deadline. I started in the winter and knew it had to be completed (draft wise) before summer starts since I work more in the summer and the kids are home from school.
TB – What is a usual writing day for Angel Lawson like? Do you have a set number of pages that you try to get accomplished a day?
AL – No. I really only actively write a couple days a week due to my schedule and ADD (self-diagnosed) if I can get focused I can usually write a 2k word chapter draft in one setting (maybe 3 hours) then I will go back in the next day or so to review it and make small edits. I can write about 5-6k words per week if I’m in the middle of it all.
TB – Were your friends surprised when they found out that you were writing?
AL – Ha! Lots still do not know. The others? I’m not sure. It was a gradual process. I suspect no one really puts much past me.
TB – Writing is such an independent thing, but you had a good number of people help you out, right?
AL – Yes, it is widely known that it takes a village to help me do anything.
TB – How do you go about picking people to help you?
AL – Well, when you have readers the first thing you want is people to tell you, “it’s awesome”, so that you are motivated to keep going. You want them to be critical but you also pick people who are your “audience” and will typically like what you are trying to say. The second wave you hope will be more opinionated on storyline and plot. Then comes the edits aka: Grammar Nazi’s. Those are a breed of people all on their own. Scary but necessary.
TB – Stephen King, in his book On Writing, says, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Would you say you agree with that?
AL – Yes. The more you read the more you open your brain. The more you write the better you get at it.
TB – What are you currently reading?
AL – Starring Sally J. Friedman, As Herself-Judy Blume. This was one of my favorite books as a kid. Recently, for my Retro-Bookclub, we picked Forever, by Judy Blume and I was at the used bookstore and found this book. I remembered it and had merged it in my mind with a different book from my childhood (Goodbye, Glamour Girl) that was based in the 1940s in NYC. When I saw the book and read the back I got so excited that I had found it again. I was one of those kids who had books that were equal to my friends. It was like reuniting with my best friend from the 4th grade.
TB – All right, let’s move off of the book for a little bit. Talk to me about your overwhelming awesomosity. It can’t be easy to carry that burden every day.
AL – It’s hard. I do my best.
TB – You’re quite the humble one. I’m going to pull us back into writing, because honestly, I don’t know if people can handle too much Awesome at one time. I like the graffiti motif on the cover and the way Connor is into it in a non-destructive kind of way. Did you consider having him be the kind of guy that goes and tags places other than the waterworks ruins? Would it have made him a considerably different character?
AL – I think Connor is more of an artist than an actual tagger. Plus, he’s not really in the position to draw a lot of attention to himself (especially the illegal kind). The Ruins give him a safe place to create.
TB –What kind of research did you do for Wraith?
TB – Okay, moving on. Your main character, Jane Watts, is a good character. She’s strong, but not in an unbelievable way. The way other characters in the book react to her is pretty harsh. She’s alone a lot of the time in the book, with the exception of Evan, and eventually Connor. Did you find it challenging to have to focus so much on her internal dialogues?
AL – I prefer to write dialogue all the time. I worry that the internal stuff is boring and too telling and not showing. But Jane is alone a lot, so it has to happen.
TB – Would you sell the rights to the book to be made into a movie?
AL – Duh. *I get to pick Connor
TB – What if the person that bought it turned it into a cheesy Lifetime made for TV movie?
AL – Have we met? I love cheesy Lifetime movies. OMG, maybe Valerie Bertinelli can play Aunt Jeanie. That would be awesome. Betty White for the grandma?
TB – Would you put any stipulations that you got to be involved in the casting?
AL – *see above
TB – Do you listen to music when you write? Are there any certain songs that you associate with this story?
AL – Depends on the story and what I’m into at the time. I think I listened to the score and soundtrack from Remember Me when I wrote this as that was released around that time. The one I just completed was a lot of the Vampire Diaries Soundtrack. I’m mentally working on a new book and it’s all Explosions in the Sky.
TB – Anything new your readers can look forward to in the near future from Angel Lawson?
AL – I have one book in edits. Another one, a collaboration, is 95% done. A couple milling in my brain to work on next.
TB – Do you hope to make writing your full time job ever?
AL – Nah. I like part time jobs.
TB – Thanks for taking the time to talk to me and my 6 followers. Maybe I can mooch off your followers once this comes out. Ha ha ha. (seriously). Any parting words of wisdom?
AL – Don’t fight the awesome.
TB – One last question: Would consider trying to get a table at Dragon*Con to promote and sell your books?
AL – Maybe. I’m not sure it’s cost effective, but I would love to do any kind of author panel or signing.
Angel Lawson, besides being a conduit of higher than average Awesomeness is an artist, mom, entrepreneur, and a surprisingly good clogger; although you shouldn’t ask her to show you because it would just be a waste of your time. Check out her blog at http://succumbingtomyawesomeness.wordpress.com/