Thursday, April 2, 2015

Laekan's week: auhtor Interview @LaekanZeaKemp

Day 3.

If you missed the previous days go here: DAY 1  |  DAY 2

And now it's time to get to know the master mind behind the books: Laekan Zea Kemp.
RUTH: How did you come up with the idea for The Girl in Between series?
LAEKAN: I started working on this novel in April of last year and, to be honest, I can't really remember where the original idea came from. Probably because I can't really remember what the original idea even was. I know that it started out as a contemporary standalone and I'd been really interested in exploring dual narrative again but I suppose the story started out the way all of my stories have--with the central relationship. It isn't always a love story that's central to my novels but I do like to focus on human relationships, whether that's familial or within the context of first love. The characters always come to me first and the various means of torturing them always comes later.

RUTH: Is book three the last one or are you planning to write more books in this series?
LAEKAN: There will actually be four books in the series. The Girl In Between was originally meant to be a standalone novel and then it became two books, which became three, and even though there's enough crazy stuff going on in this paranormal world to fill a hundred novels, I've got to cut myself off at four. The actual ending hasn't exactly revealed itself to me yet but I'm pretty confident that things will come to a complete and definite end by the final chapter of the fourth book. It just feels like it's time to put these characters to rest, and even though I've learned by now that plans always have a way of changing, I'm pretty confident that in this final book I'll be able to do just that.

RUTH: How was to write about a patient of Klein-Levin Syndrome? Did you have to do a lot of research?
LAEKAN: Klein-Levin syndrome is a very mysterious disease, one that not a lot of people have heard of. As a writer, this definitely worked in my favor, and I was able to modify and expand on things in a way that really blurred the lines of reality, but still, hopefully, felt believable. It's always tricky when you're writing about something technical or scientific because it does require extensive research and knowledgeable execution in order for that part of the story to ring true. Luckily, The Girl In Between is set in a paranormal world so I could take some liberties here and there, and because Bryn suffers from a unique form of the disease, I was able to alter the symptoms so that they were more directly related to the plot.

RUTH: Did you write all books at once or you went book by book? 
LAEKAN: I write in a very linear fashion. I know some people can hop around between different chapters and different scenes, sometimes even different novels, but I prefer to work from point A to point B so that every scene feels like it's naturally building on the last. This being my first series, I definitely needed to spend that extra time writing the novels back to back in order to get a good grasp on the story's overarching identity. The Girl In Between actually started out as a contemporary novel with hints of magical realism, which is light years away from the genre it is now. This story went through so many reincarnations and I re-wrote the entire thing from scratch several times. If I had published it over a year ago when I'd originally planned it never would have had the chance to evolve into the story it is now. It killed me not to follow through on my original deadline, but in my gut I knew that this story was meant to be something much bigger. Luckily I had the patience to see it come to fruition in the right way.

RUTH: How long took you to write each book?
LAEKAN: Having written six novels at this point, I actually have a pretty accurate calculation of how long it takes me to complete a story from start to finish, which is about 8 months. The Girl In Between series has been no different. I took breaks between drafts but it took me about three seasons to finish each of them...sometimes longer. I re-wrote the first novel from scratch several times but once I finally realized the series' identity I was able to get back on track and keep my usual time limits.

RUTH: What’s your favorite writing scenario?
LAEKAN: I definitely love writing that is emotionally charged, so high intensity make or break moments that are full of turmoil are definitely my favorite scenes to write. Whether I'm working on a scene in a contemporary novel or a paranormal romance the most important thing to me is that it makes the reader feel something. The first step in achieving that is writing something that makes me feel something, which can definitely make for an exhausting experience, especially since I often read my novels dozens of times before they're published. If a scene can make me cringe or shed a tear, that's a total thrill for me. It's the reason why I write at all.

RUTH: Are you working in any other story beside The Girl in Between? 
LAEKAN: I started my next contemporary romance novel last spring but haven't had a chance to continue working on it since The Girl In Between series evolved into four books. I've been totally absorbed in this project for the past two years but I'm definitely ready to revisit the "real world" setting of contemporary fiction and work on something a tad bit lighter than The Girl In Between. The first draft of the finale has turned out to be much darker than I originally anticipated so I'll definitely need a good quirky love story to help me recover. Pen & Xander is the working title and it centers around two main characters who happen to work at the same restaurant. It's inspired by all of my boyfriend's hilarious, and sometimes horrific, stories from his days working in the restaurant business and even though it'll be the most comedic project I've ever worked on (surprise, I'm actually pretty hilarious), it'll still be a character-driven story with a lot of depth and a lot of conflict.

Thank you so much for your time!!!
Laekan Zea KempLaekan is a writer and explorer extraordinaire who grew up in the flatlands of West Texas. She graduated from Texas Tech with a BA in Creative Writing and is the author of the multi-cultural New Adult novels The Things They Didn't Bury, Orphans of Paradise, and Breathing Ghosts. Follow her adventures here on Goodreads, on her blog, or on twitter.

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