I recently made the acquaintance of romance novelist Aimee Laine at the Clarity of Night blog contest. Have you started noticing a trend? Yes, many of my literary acquaintances have been through Clarity of Night--it's just that awesome. Here is Aimee's sharp and lovely entry in the most recent CoN contest: "Twisted Fairytale."
Aimee Laine's debut paranormal romance Little White Lies was published in July by J.Taylor Publishing. It features a powerful shapeshifter and a menace that forces her to team up with the boy she once loved, who is now all grown up and doesn't know her in her current face. Oh, the anguish. It's a quick, fast-paced, touching read.
Here's more about Aimee herself:
Aimee is a romantic at heart and a southern transplant with a bit of the accent (but not a whole bunch). She's married to her high school sweetheart, and with him, she's produced three native North Carolinians, two of whom share the same DNA.
With an MBA and a degree in Applied Mathematics, there’s absolutely no reason she should be writing romance novels. Then again, she shouldn't need a calculator to add two numbers, either ... but she does.
Herewith, an interview with the savvy and prolific Aimee Laine:
Did you pick your genre(s) or did your genre(s)pick you?
Oh, my genre picked me. There is no question about that. I am made for the mysterious nature of romance. Though most of mine classified as paranormal romance (because there is *something* otherworldly in all of them) I'm really much more in line with suspense and mystery, weaving romance into all the plot elements.
What, if anything, has surprised you about the publishing industry?
Honestly, it's not the publishing industry that surprises me anymore. It is pretty much a tried and true group that only does things one way. It's the use of technology that surprises me and the fact that authors have SO many more possibilities when it comes to their work now. We aren't limited to waiting 10 years in the hopes that an agent will pick up an author and an editor will pick up a story and a publisher will actually publish. We're in a whole new arena of 'entrpreneurism' when it comes to books. Now, it's up to authors to run their businesses toward success. That's what has changed. As one with an entrepreneurial spirit and background, this is what I think is so amazing.
You’re a professional photographer as well as anovelist. How do those roles influence each other?
They are both art. One is crafted with imagery through the lens of a camera and the other with the placement of words on a paper. I honestly don't think I would have moved into writing without having first experienced life as a photographer and experienced the lives of OTHERS through that lens. I learned so much about other people in the last 6 years that being able to translate my 'view' onto paper has been incredibly fun.
What’s your best advice for balancing your workand your personal life?
Prioritize. Some days, writing will be my priority. Other days my kids. Moments happen. I have to take them when I can get them. I also work full time (the corporate, paycheck gig) and so I have to balance that too. I'm very adept at juggling and multi-tasking and switching what I need to do when. If my kids need me, I will be there for them. If they don't, I will take every opportunity to write or to talk with my photography clients or to spend time with my hubby. It's about not leaving a moment free that could have been used. Time is a commodity. I do what I love during the time I have. And I type freakishly fast, so that helps a lot, too.
Who are your favorite writers of all time? Why?
I'm not one of those people who'd followed 'the great classical writers' and wish I could write like them. I sometimes, don't even remember the names of writers who've written great stories because I'm so enthralled with the story itself. I'll go searching for books by using the titles of ones I've read to FIND the author. Yes, I know I'm bad, but it's who I am. I remember actions, not static stuff. I'll remember those stories. As for the stories, I have a shelf full of Nora Roberts and JD Robb (remember, I said my genre picked me). I have Debbie MacComber, Stephenie Meyer, JK Rowling, Kristin Hannah, Lolly Winston, Sharon McCrumb, Judy Blume, Nicholas Sparks (even though I can't read his anymore. Refer to my being a romance lover). These are all just books I've loved so much that I have them and know their stories.
How do you deal with your inner editor/critic?
She and I do not agree on anything! In this little writing challenge I accepted with a writer-friend of mine, I had 25,000 words to get to the final and win. I was always right with her and even ahead of the game until one day, I realized I had a plot error in my story and my muse went on vacation. At that point, my inner editor took over. I cannot write on if I have a major error like that. So I stopped to fix it and my friend went on to ... well ... win. :) So, as you can see, my inner editor has massive control over me.
Unfortunately, that same inner editor has massive control over what I read, too. There are some lazy writing issues I can overcome, but not many and I'm finding more and more that I just can't get past some of the blatant errors that are occurring in published works. Unfortunately, I'm seeing it even more in self-published works -- the few I've tried at the suggestion of friends or family. It makes me wonder if editors have lost their inner editor. Are we pushing so fast to get books out that we're forgetting to fix the writing? So anyway, my inner editor and I are always at war with each other. If the story, however, is that great? Then I win the battle ... for that moment.
Do you have a favorite character or scene from one of your books?
My all time favorite character thus far is Mac Thorne. She's a character I created for a YA trilogy and in Book 1 currently called After Dark, she is who I wanted to be as a teen. She's a mix between Charley Randall (my main character from Little White Lies) and my more serene characters in other books, but brought back down to 18 years old. Mac has something about her makes me want to hug her and punch her all at the same time. I absolutely love her and can't wait to share her with the world, but I have to write book 2 and let book 1 simmer a little longer before I can do that.
As a writer, what has been your best moment sofar?
The day a blog reviewer said she loved my book and the day a random person on the street walked into my office with a copy and said, "will you sign this" and I went, Yes! That was my crowning moment.
What advice do you have for newbie writers?
Don't publish just to publish. Don't wait for an agent to pick you up because you think that's the only way. Write more. Write often. Write a lot and get REALY feedback. Use a critiquing site or partner or group. Take feedback early and often and infuse that into your work. It takes time to find your voice. It takes time to find your style. It takes work, but it's so fulfilling.
What’s next for you?
Well ... I just announced that my book Hide & Seek, the first in the Games of Zeus series will be out in March! Yeah! And I'm finishing up Cael and Lily's story (Book two in the Mimics of Rune series -- behind Little White Lies). And I have 7 other books that could go after that, but we'll see what will come next after those.
To find out more about Aimee Laine, visit her at www.aimeelaine.com.