It's an honor to have L. Carroll grant the first interview on her Lor Mandela: Four Hundred Days virtual tour, which begins today and runs through July 15, the official release date of Four Hundred Days.
1. Without giving away the entire story, give our readers an overview of your new book, Lor Mandela - Four Hundred Days
Here it is…straight from the back of the book.
When Audril, the heiress to the Lor Mandelan throne, sneaks away to Earth to save one of her dearest friends, she finds that a power hungry tyrant from her own world has begun systematically obliterating towns and cities to get her to turn herself over to him.
On Earth, she meets a wildly eccentric old lady named Teedee Venilworth whose imaginary butler/fiancé supposedly holds the key to her success. But how can someone help if he doesn't exist? Could it be that creatures who dwell in shadow are not exclusive to Lor Mandela?
Book number two in the Lor Mandela Series, Lor Mandela – Four Hundred Days, is an action-packed whirlwind of intrigue and fantasy. Join the extraordinary characters from the first book, (both the good and the evil), as they traverse the haunted corridors of Alcatraz Penitentiary, travel via portal to an ancient castle on the cliff shores of Ireland, and meet a foreboding race of mystic warriors known as the Solom.
Soar on the back of a large horse-like creature to the Northern High Forests and discover that on the picturesque world of Lor Mandela, your friends can become foes, your enemies your allies, and just because someone dies, it doesn’t always mean that they’re dead.
2. How long did it take you to write this book?
Hours… No, I'm just kidding. It took about fourteen months from start to finish. I guess I'm getting better. The first book in the series took six years! At this rate, maybe book #3 WILL only take hours!
3. What inspired you to write the Lor Mandela series?
I hate to sound cliché, but I had a dream. The dream was about a young woman kicking some major trash in a battle, but as the battle took a tragic turn, everyone, except the woman, disappeared.
You know how, after some dreams, it takes a minute to figure out whether it really happened or not? It was one of those! Anyway, whilst I was lying there--sorting fantasy from reality--the thought occurred to me that the scene would make a pretty cool start to a movie…or book. My immediate next thought was, "I wonder if I could write a book?"
Ironically, that battle scenario isn't the start of the series. As the story evolved, it got pushed to the middle of book #1; it's still one of my favorite chapters, though!
4. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Actually, this is the question I get asked the most by people after they've read Destruction from Twins. To be honest, I don't really know. This stuff just sort of comes to me, so maybe mental illness isn't too far off!
5. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That writing is HARD! If you don't believe me, just try it! I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for authors.
6. What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
Well, it used to be the chapter I mentioned before--the one with the young woman at the battle--Chapter 16 in Destruction from Twins, "The Journal of Kahlie". But after writing Four Hundred Days, my new fave is probably Chapter 12 "Teedee Venilworth". This chapter introduces a new character, (always fun), who holds a very special place in my heart.
When I was growing up, I had a great-aunt that everyone called Aunt Teetee. She was one of the dearest people in the world to me. I would spend weeks at her house--even though we lived only 30 minutes apart--and she always made me feel like a princess. While she was never nearlyas eccentric as Teedee in my book, her house was decorated almost entirely in pink and red, she collected dolls, and would (along with my grandma) throw amazing dinner parties, with fine china, polished silver and place cards. She passed away when I was fourteen, but she's never left me. She was my inspiration for Teedee Venilworth. In this chapter, Aunt Teetee lives on.
7. What were the hardest parts of writing your book? The easiest?
The hardest thing for me is finding the right words. If you've never written, you probably won't understand. But, you know that sound a teenager makes when she feels insulted? Put it into one word. (Oh, and you can't use "scoff" because you just used it two sentences back.). Sometimes it can be so frustrating!
The easiest part is probably coming up with characters. I get a basic idea for one, lean back in my chair, close my eyes, and let my imagination go. I don't write a word until I can see them clearly in my head.
8. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your overall writing projects?
Like I said before, just finding the perfect word. Oh, and also, getting the other seven people and the dog who live in my house to be quiet so I can hear myself think.
9. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh my goodness! I have so many! I love Jane Austen and her clever and accurate character portrayals; Lucy Maud Montgomery is so descriptive; Og Mandino teaches in rich, exquisite parables. But, I think if I had to pick one, it would be the speculative fiction guru extraordinaire… JK Rowling. I love books where you not only feel what's going on; you can visualize it with clarity. No one, in my opinion, paints as vivid pictures as she does.
10. How do you market your book(s)?
Yikes! I think it's more like, "How do I not market my books?" Let's see… I've donated them to libraries; I sell them at my husband's restaurant (which, incidentally, has been my most productive effort); I've had book signings; I've handed out thousands of bookmarks; I spend hours on social networking sites; I've sent out countless copies for review; I've given copies to bookstores, etc…etc…etc!
Funny story…I've had a couple of people on Twitter accuse me of spamming, and I don't blame them. There have been days where I've literally sent out 100+ tweets. There are millions of books out there. When you're indie, and don't have an entire promotional team in your corner, marketing has to be constant and persistent.
11. Do you use social media to promote your work? If so, how?
See question 10. Actually, social media is the basis for my marketing campaign. My books are geared to the young adult market…find me a person between 13 and 30 who isn't on Facebook; there aren't many out there. I'd be missing out if I didn't use social media. The trick is this: (and it's a lesson I've just learned) It's better to have someone, other than yourself, talk about your books. When I tweet about Lor Mandela a billion times a day, it looks like spam; when someone else does, it looks like a glowing recommendation from a credible source. Makes sense…it just took me a couple of years to figure it out. Anyone want to tweet for me?
12. Where can your books be purchased?
Here are the links for Lor Mandela: Destruction from Twins. By the way, Four Hundred Days will be available on Smashwords and CreateSpace exclusively for the first few days following release. It takes a week or two for new books published on these sites to filter out to the other distribution channels such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble
In ebook formats: Smashwords or Barnes and Noble
In paperback:CreateSpace or Amazon