About Lela Markham:
Hi, my name is Lela Markham and I told stories from the time I could talk. I eventually started writing them down and publishing some of them.
I’ve been a journalist, worked construction and outside sales, been an administrator for a mental health center for more than a decade and now work in transportation.
In 2015, I fulfilled a lifelong dream to become a published novelist. Currently, I’m focusing on epic fantasy and dystopian thrillers, but I write other genres. Watch this space.
When I’m not writing, I pursue the adventure of a lifetime in Alaska with my risk-taker husband, two fearless offspring and a sentient husky who keeps a yellow Lab as a pet.
What inspires you to write?
Human narratives fascinate me. We strive to be better than what we are and yet we are so often far less than we were made to be. It is that struggle that inspires me to write my characters’ stories. I often describe my writing process as putting into words what my characters tell me about their lives.
Tell us about your writing process.
My writing always starts with a character who often starts talking to me while I’m doing something unrelated to writing — filing at my money job or driving to Anchorage from my home in Fairbanks (380 miles). If the character hangs around and tells a decent story, I eventually get around to seeing if he or she would fit into a setting I feel like writing about. If the scene comes together, then I will decide what the purpose (the end) of the book will be and loosely plot out how I mean to get there. So, I am both a seat-of-the-pants writer and an outliner. Usually, I just list the major plot points at the end of the Word document I’m writing. As I fill in sections, I move to the next plot point. Nothing is set in stone until the rough draft is complete and even then, I will expand some sections on rewrite. I see plot as a braided river. There are multiple ways to get where I want to go and sometimes the side journeys are far more scenic than the straightest route.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I listen to my characters. I have, as part of creative writing exercises, tries to talk to them, but that’s largely been unsuccessful. They tell me their stories and I write them down. If they stop telling me their story, they almost always die in the book. If they don’t like a way I’m trying to take their character, they will express their displease by not talking to me until I revise my direction. It is really a fairly one-way discussion.
What advice would you give other writers?
I’ve learned that people are fascinating and crappy to one another and that villains can have redeeming qualities while heroes definitely need faults. None of us is perfectly anything and the minute that I as a writer try to make a character perfect, I discover I’m writing boring garbage that I wouldn’t want to read.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I chose to self-publish. I basically just got tired of being told “It’s a great book, but you need to define your audience better and write to them.” I just didn’t feel that was right for me. With self-publishing, I don’t have to conform to a market share analysis.
Of course, self-publishing means I have to work that much harder to be a professional at publishing. Not only do I have to write a great book, I have to edit and proof read it. I have to decide whether beta-readers are giving me good advice and which advice to incorporate into the book. I have to choose cover art and write blurbs. And, hardest of all, I have to market my books myself. And I have to do this while also writing the next book.
I would advise new authors to realize that success takes time and commitment and the willingness to stick with something even when you don’t see immediate success. Be patient and write the book you want to read.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think publishing is going through a huge transition right now as traditional publishing has lost its death grip on the industry to the new self-publishing field. Some of this was the inevitable result of tradition publishers insisting that writers must write to certain genres with an eye to the “hot” markets, a system that restricted a lot of writers out of the market and, frankly, as a reader, left a lot of readers bored. Self-publishing somewhat broke that blockade, though it really has a long way to go, mainly owing to inattention to detail and lack of professionalism. I don’t think the resurgence of self-publishing means that traditional publishers are going away. I think the two groups are going to adapt to one another and it is entirely possible that many new independent publishing houses will arise that are smaller and more competitive, more willing to work with independent authors in a changing environment.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: I’ve published in epic fantasy and dystopian, but I also write mysteries, YA, and paranormal. Most of my books have some element of faith in them, but I do not consider myself a Christian-genre author.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.