About Lolli Powell:
Lolli Powell writes romances and mysteries (under the name Laurel Heidtman). She lives with her husband, four dogs, and two cats on private land inside Daniel Boone National Forest in Kentucky. A three-time graduate of Miami University of Ohio, she is retired from the 9 to 5 grind and now devotes herself to writing fiction.
What inspires you to write?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write fiction. My undergraduate degree is in English with a Creative Writing emphasis, but I never devoted myself to writing until the last couple of years. Life always seemed to get in the way. I’ve been a dancer, a police officer, a registered nurse, and a technical writer. Now that I’m retired from the 9 to 5 world , I am finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Instead of having regrets at not starting sooner, I think this was the right time. There’s something to be said for having years of experience under one’s belt.
What inspires me to write? I guess I’m just an entertainer at heart. I believe that the most important goal of a fiction writer should be to entertain readers with a good story and characters with whom they can identify. I think my varied life experience helps me do that.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m a hybrid. I start out with a general idea of the story and the characters, then outline a few chapters at a time. As I write, the outline often changes, but it still provides me with a bit of a guide.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
It’s a little creepy, but I find that the characters pretty much tell me what to write. I start out with a general idea of them, but they seem to develop on their own as I go. I know it’s just my subconscious at work, but it almost seems as if I’m channeling them.
What advice would you give other writers?
Put your butt in the chair every day and write! That’s the only way to get anything done and the only way to get better. Think about it–anything you want to do well has to develop into a habit and the only way to develop a habit is by repetition. If you are determined to get in shape, you have to exercise on a regular schedule, right? If you want to become a great quilter or painter or woodworker, you have to do it regularly to develop your skill. It’s the same with writing. Do it every day and pretty soon it will be a habit.
When you’re not writing, read. Don’t just read books about writing, read books in your genre. Get as proficient as you can in the tools of your trade. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If you know you’re weak in these areas, hire an editor or find someone you know personally who is skilled to proof your book. Too many self-published writers tell a good story and do a decent job of developing characters and pacing, but the book is so filled with grammar and punctuation issues that it turns readers off. If you wanted to build a table, you’d learn how to use woodworking tools, wouldn’t you?
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I decided to self-publish. For one thing, I’m too old to suffer through the years of rejections that most established authors have to endure. I don’t have the time and I definitely don’t have the temperament for that! Another reason is that I’m a control freak when it comes to my own life. I do not like the idea of signing over the rights to my books to someone else, and I don’t like the pitiful royalties publishers pay. I also find I enjoy figuring out how to market my books. Some writers hate that part, but so far, I like it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think self-publishing is going to continue to be a big thing, and e-books will continue growing in popularity. Young people are used to using electronic devices, but even many older people like reading on an e-reader. I’m one of them. Still, there will always be a market for print books, particularly those that contain a lot of pictures or other graphics. E-books just don’t do a good job with those.
What do you use?: Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Romances (as Lolli Powell) and mysteries (as Laurel Heidtman)
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print