Recently we enjoyed the pleasure of interrogating interviewing one of our favorite authors and tweeps, Keri Lake! Keri is the author of Halos: Somnium, the fantastic (and steamy) first novel of her Halos series. She very graciously agreed to to subject herself to questioning as she put the finishing touches on her upcoming novel, Soul Avenged, the first of her Sons of Wrath series.
On to the inquisition!
Q Demons and Angels, what about them intrigues you?
It’s the dualism of good versus evil that has always intrigued me. And growing up, I had the belief that they were these two extremes – angels were perfect, untouchable entities and demons, these monstrous creatures that lurked in nightmares. It’s difficult to relate to something that is completely good or evil. When I write, my demons have a conscience and my angels are flawed.
Q Your next book, Soul Avenged is nearing publication. How did the idea come about? What was the inspiration?
I can’t pinpoint exactly what gave rise to this story. I’ve always wanted to write something set in Detroit – something dark and gothic, centered around one of my favorite topics – vengeance. And sometime last year, I’m not sure why, I was hit by dialogue from a feisty little thing who I’ve come to know as my MC, Ayden. Next came the idea of these (wrath) demon brothers who own a Detroit casino. I merged the two together. This story just sort of evolved from that point and the more I tried to ignore it, the louder it rattled in my brain. I was forced to write it down and once I started, I couldn’t stop. In just a little over a month, the first draft of Soul Avenged was written. Its sort of an Underworld meets The Crow meets BDB kinda story.
Q You have said that you don’t outline but use note cards. Do you know the whole story before you write it or does it surprise you along the way?
This is going to sound crazy, but no, I have no idea what the story is going to become when I start writing it. I’ve tried to be organized and plot it out from beginning to end, but I end up spinning my wheels. Keeping to an outline limits my creativity with the plot. It boxes me inside of an idea that becomes difficult to explore beyond. I will jot a few notes, I might write some ideas down, maybe even a scene or two. But I never get organized and outline. It works for many writers though. Just not for me.
Q Can you share with us a typical day in the writing life of Keri Lake?
A typical day is getting up anywhere between 3:30-4:00 am and writing until I’m forced to stop and get on with the day. Then I’m usually back to it at about 7:00pm. I don’t always have these long stretches of writing necessarily. Sometimes I’m sitting, staring off, imagining the scene or listening to music before I get started. There’s a lot of quiet time and thinking, which is what I love most about writing.
Q When you read books, what turns you on about an author’s writing? What turns you off?
I love a book that makes me want to crawl inside the pages and stay there a while. Anything with a lot of tension and descriptive writing (that doesn’t affect the pace) keeps me engaged. Turns offs are books that have not been edited. I give writers a lot of credit when they have the perseverance to finish a book – it’s not easy. However, when you put a novel out there, it should represent your best, most polished work. It’s never going to be perfect, but it’s so worth having another set of eyes on it. I have a lot of respect for editors.
Q Do you have any hard-won wisdom to share with authors struggling with their work?
Just keep chipping away at it. Writing fiction is one of those passions that can almost seem ridiculous if you begin to weigh it against the real world. It’s easy to get caught up in thoughts of, ‘what the hell am I doing?’ But stories are what people escape to when real life becomes overwhelming. In a way, we are creating these secret passages for readers to slip into and leave their stressful circumstances for a while.
Q Now for some fun questions! If you could have your dream vacation to anywhere (real or imaginary) where would you go and what would you do there?
Hmmmmm…my dream vacation is pretty simple actually. I’ve been to a few exotic places, but the North Carolina coast is where I’ve ever fully relaxed and let loose. I’d grab an adirondack chair, plant myself at the water’s edge and stare off at the ocean for hours.
If I had to choose somewhere besides North Carolina though, I would love to visit Australia, Brazil or Italy someday. Have not been to any of those places…yet!
Q What is your favorite guilty pleasure?
Fried food. I’m so bad about this. I try not to eat it too often but damn, it tastes so good. And dark chocolate too. Mmmm.
Q In your opinion who are the top three greatest characters of all time (not counting your own)?
Oh man, what an intimidating question! Right now I’m reading a pretty cool character – Tonio Treschi from “Cry to Heaven” (Anne Rice). But really, in my mind, this would be trying to imagine a world without these three characters. I know as soon as I type them I’ll be thinking, Oh but what about…
My top three would be:
- Dracula (Dracula, Bram Stoker)
- Egaeus (Berenice, Edgar Allan Poe)
- Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne)
Q What is one weird fact about you that no one would ever suspect?
This is going to be a weird one too…I love alternative music. Hell, I usually tweet some kind of music once a week. I like ‘mainstream’ alternative (NIN, Paramore, Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys) but I also like to seek out lesser-known bands too. However…I’ve always been a fan of Prince. Darling Nikki, When Doves Cry, Purple Rain, Erotic City – all still favorites of mine.
Thanks Keri! Can’t wait to read Soul Avenged!