Larion Wills, a multi-genre author, also writes under the name of Larriane Wills. From the present, to the past in historical westerns, to far in the future with science fiction, she holds up to her tag given to her by one of her publishers of ‘two names, one author, thousands of stories’, although not all of them are in print, yet. Born in Oklahoma but raised in Arizona she feels a native to the state and has settled in the high desert country. In a quiet, rural area with a family who tolerates her writer’s single-mindedness, she presents us with a collection of unique contemporary romances, many laced with paranormal settings, all with strong characterizations and suspenseful plots, capable of dragging you into a story in a genre you thought you didn’t care for. Under her other pen of Larriane she writes science fiction and fantasy. At her website, http://www.larriane.com , you can keep abreast of releases under both pen names, keep up with new releases through various publishers.
Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have always been a storyteller, to myself, from the time I was a child. I talked the stories out making my mother think I was conversing with an invisible friend. I started putting the stories on paper at about 21, really terrible writing, btw. I keep it just to look at once in a while and see how much better I’ve gotten. I did not, until about 15 years ago get serious about pursuing publishing. I had played around with the idea a couple of times but never followed through. It was easy to discourage me. One of the first ones I tried was one of those sucker you in for editing and having no intention of ever publishing for you. I didn’t learn about those until later. My problem then was cost. I told him my ego didn’t match my finances to take advantage of his offer. His response was it was after all it was only commercial, not literature. Spiteful or what?
It was years before I tried again after the kids—all grown and no longer one of my excuses–and my husband who had shared time with my writing for years, all insisted I do something. By then I had a computer so could no longer use I’m a lousy typist as an excuse. I no longer worked outside of the home. Another excuse shot down. I discovered everything is done online, so the cost of printing and postage for hard copies, etc, although minor, wasn’t a good excuse anymore, either. The only reason that held me back was plain old fear of rejection. My skin had gotten a little thicker through the years, enough I thought I could take it.
My first efforts, hard copies to agents, made me doubt that. I’d read, you see, that publishers didn’t want anyone who didn’t have an agent, and agents didn’t want anyone who hadn’t already been published. Another of my don’t bother you’ll never be accepted excuses. One agent, bless her heart, edited three pages for me. I took one glancing look at all those red marks, tossed to pages away, and told my husband I was too old to learn all of that. Highschool English didn’t cover it. The pages laid there for three days, waiting for me to get brave again. The first thing I noticed was the reoccurring symbols. I was doing the same things over and over. I took the first one, looked up what it was for and what I needed to do to change it and went through the entire manuscript. I made corrections for that one, then the second, then the third until I had everyone of those red marks cleared. That manuscript was accepted by the first publisher I sent it to and I’ve had only rejection since then and only because of a content conflict. My first publisher gave me the tag of Two names, one author, thousands of stories. I got off track for several years doing editing for others, not giving myself enough time to work on my own. I’m back. I’ve missed it, and Deadly Precious is just the beginning.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I’ve been told I have a strange sense of humor. Would that count?
What’s strange about your humor?
I think things are funny that no one else seems to. I think it’s because I think of the results of what I see or hear, and that’s what I laugh at. The one person who out and out told me I had a strange sense of humor was telling me how sad it was that her boyfriend had flown in from Mexico and the airlines had lost his suitcase—full of marijuana. I told her he couldn’t very well go file a claim to have it found and laughed. See, this is one of those if you have to explain, it isn’t funny, at least not to others. What I pictured was him dumb enough to go in and fill out a claim, listing a suitcase full of illegal drugs as the contents and what would happen to him. Funny to me, but it wasn’t to her. She was offended that I wasn’t sympathetic to his financial loss. Sometimes, life just bites you on the butt. *Lol.
Tell us something really interesting that’s happened to you!
How not to celebrate the first contract attached.
What are some of your pet peeves?
My hair, (see attached) my hearing and why people insist on talking to you when you tell them you can’t understand them, people that insist on driving the speed limit in a no passing zone when I’m in a hurry, people that cut in line, rude people, people that are mean to animals, etc
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Oklahoma and the family moved to Arizona when I was three. I still live in Arizona, although as a family we did try Oregon and Montana. Loved both states, but we followed the work and the last go round, settled here to stay. We live in the high desert, almost at a mile high, in a rural area with a 15-minute drive to the nearest store and post office.
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Probably not any different than today. I mean, how much can you do in a day.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Horrible. I’m too much of a soft touch.
Do you have a favorite movie?
You may find this odd, but my favorites, currently, are the Star Wars and Marvels. When I watch a movie or read a book, I want a happy ever after ending. There’s all the heartache and violence I want on the news. I like some humor mixed in, no matter how serious, and I don’t want it so complicated if someone interrupts me—I won’t even tell you his name but he’s a master at it—and a miss a few minutes, I’ve lost what’s going on. During this paragraph he’s interrupted me twice. *lol.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Deadly Precious, of course, with Daisy Ridley as Letitia. I don’t know about Drew. There are so many good looking tall, dark, and handsome actors, but she has that childlike quality of Letitia.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I like humming birds, but I doubt they have anything to do with my writing although I do flutter around a lot.
How long have you been writing?
I started putting stories on paper at when I was about 21. They went into a drawer until the drawers wouldn’t hold more. Then into a closet. I into digging some of those out to freshen and publish and at the same time, write more. Deadly Precious in a new one. Before that, Die, Sweet Di was one I wrote several years ago. Bringing those up to date is what I mean by freshening. Some were written before cell phones. I can’t have my readers wondering why the hero wasn’t called for help when the car broke down in the forest, or at least mention they don’t have a signal. Maybe I shouldn’t have told you that. *lol
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I usually start with one or two characters then add as I need for the growing story.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I research before, during, and after, especially for historicals. I make sure they aren’t shooting a gun that hasn’t been invented yet or wearing a style that is not right for the time I have them in. Like freshening some of those manuscripts in the closet, what I wrote even ten years ago has to be updated or a date stated so the reader knows clearly what time period it’s in.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
It’s tough to get any kind of special recognition with so many ebook publishers flooding the market and–not to make enemies–with many of them of such poor quality. No writer can depend on just good writing to get the attention. You have to promo, and I’ll be blunt and honest when I say it is not one of my favorite things to do. That’s my second get back on track objective, doing it anyway to let people know what I have to offer.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I used to be an avid reader. Friday was my shopping day and included the purchase or 4 or 5 books. I say used to be. Anymore, I shop when I can’t avoid the trip any longer. As to what I read, I read the same way I write, in a variety of genres. I spend the weekend reading and started my Monday off working again. The last few years my reading has been limited to what I’ve edited for others. However, this year I’ve cut back on editing for others devoted more time to myself and my own work. That’s why I’m here today. Reading for pleasure again is on my to do list.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
Again, I have to chuckle. I have an extreme hearing loss, not deaf, but there’s not that much I hear anymore. either. My husband runs the tv and most of the time, I don’t hear it at all. When I watch, I read captions. I have a hearing assist device I have to plug into my ear to hear him clearly enough when he speaks to me to know what he’s saying which makes the tv too loud, and I take the plug out as soon as he’s finished. Noise, which I’m not used to hearing anymore, is annoying, because it’s only partial. I can hear the dog bark, though, and the smoke alarm go off. Without the hearing assist, speech is just noise. So is music. Even with the device it’s difficult to have a conversation and takes a lot of repeating for me to get it all. Since my loss isn’t symmetric, hearing aids don’t work well for me at all.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Only one at a time, and it gets my full attention.
If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?
For the money, Lord of the Rings. Loved the movies.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I really prefer pen and paper but for convenience’s sake I am working on doing it on the computer. Once I have something in a hard copy, it takes me nearly as long to type into the computer as it did to write it. Doing it once would save a lot of time, but the words don’t flow from my brain to the keyboard as smoothly as they do through my arm for some reason.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
If you mean one of my books, I have so many. I think Sarah from It’s Still Tomorrow. She makes me laugh, but she’s tough when you cross her. I can remember what inspired that one, too. *hehe
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I really think becoming an author, meaning write down the stories running through your head, isn’t really a choice. You do it whether you intend to publish or not. If you’re giving author the definition of a published writer, then that is a choice. I pursued publishing both because my family and friends kept urging me to do so and because I wanted to share my stories. It’s right for me.
Do you have any advice to offer for new authors?
I’m going to steal a line. Just do it. I procrastinated for years over tackling publishing. Once I admitted to myself it was based on simple fear of rejection, rejections telling me I was no good at writing, and I decided I could take it, it didn’t take much to get my foot in the door. I owed a lot to one agent who took the time to edit three pages of the manuscript I sent to her in hopes of finding someone to do the work of submitting for me. Those corrections provided me with the information I needed, showed me what I was doing wrong, and the first submit afterward, to a publisher, was my first acceptance. Don’t give up because of setbacks. The only way you will ever succeed is to keep trying and accept that there will be disappointments along the way. When you hold that first book in your hands, you’ll feel like it was all worth it.
What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
No, chapters, no outline. Sometimes I start in the middle, sometimes the end, and sometimes even the beginning. It all depends on what that first instead of or what if hits me and takes me from there. I work either way, back to the front to get my characters where I started or foreward to get them where I want to go. Works for me even if it sounds scattered to others.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Talking too much. *lol. I say that as an editor. New authors have tendency to want to tell everything, making a sentence 4 or 5 lines long with tmi. I have a hard time convincing some that one or two descriptions of a room are more than enough for a reader to picture in their minds, and it’s never is going to be what the writer sees anyway. Learn the difference between telling and showing and understand pov. Study the suggestions and corrections so you don’t keep making the same mistakes. Most important, self-edit. It is not an editor’s job to rewrite or correct what you’re too lazy to do yourself.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Someone disrupting my train of thought. My family all know what it means when I hold one finger up. Wait a minute until I finish this sentence. Okay, sometimes it’s a paragraph, but they wait. Bless them for their patience.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I hope what they want is what I deliver. I’m not fond of formulas, and I don’t think any of mine fit nicely into any one category, but they’re interesting, not boring, and when I’m on, you don’t guess the ending.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Don’t wait so long to get brave.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from other genders?
It’s no secret men don’t think the way women do. I have to base my characters on what I see around me and watch in movies and tv, and read, analysis it, and go from there.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Generally speaking, a couple of weeks for the first draft. I edit and revise after that until I feel it’s clean enough to submit, a process that probably takes a couple of months because it does me good to take a few days away from it off and on before I go at it again. Longer than many other authors, I know, but part of my working process is seeking perfection even though I know it’s impossible. One other little tidbit here, ebooks have a bad rep for being poor quality. I’d like to build that up by starting with better work and not depending on hurry up editing. What’s saddens me is the growing poor quality that’s coming from the big publishers now. I’ve seen work that would never have made it through any of the independent companies I edit for and I’m not talking about the story. One time half a paragraph was missing and then repeated. No excuse for that. A simple proofread would have caught it.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not block, exactly. I’m more a mood person. If I’m not in the mood, nothing flows. If I am, nothing else interferes or if anything does, I get cranky. I read Stephen Kings’ how to write book. I couldn’t write the way he does, on a nine to five schedule. I go to bed with the story the last thing on my mind and wake up to the first thing on my mind. There’s no shutting my head off because of what time the clock says. If I’m in the mood, it flows, but on the other hand, if something else is nagging at me, there’s no sense wasting my time sitting at the computer.
Do you get inspiration to write each different story?
Oh, yes, from everything, everywhere.
What inspired you to write this book?
Her home was based on where I lived in Oregon. One of the characters was based on a thoughtless, arrogant group of prominent members of the town in Oregon and how cruel there were to a friend. They invited her to share a lunch with them and then tore her apart, telling her everything that was wrong with her when she had never down anything to harm any of them. They were like those ugly, teenage girls in high school. In Deadly Precious, Letitia was a victim of that town’s uglies and hearing them gossip in the café affected the relationship between her and Drew more than once. I’m not going to tell you if they were right or wrong though, and of course, the incident that started my tale had nothing to do with where I ended up.
What can we expect from you in the future?
More and more. Working on a three part, sweet romance now.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Not in this one.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Deadly Precious?
The two main characters are Drew and Letitia. Drew is consumed with hatred and seeking revenge against his father, who claims Drew is a bastard resulting from his wife being unfaithful. She wasn’t. A severe reaction to a drug, administered by a doctor, causes him to hallucinate. He wandered into Letitia’s house, thought she someone else, someone he once loved, and he, in his mind, makes love to her. In reality, he stumbled, knocked her down, and stunned her too badly for her to fight him off. This is not described in the book, just referred to.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I sort of answered this above in what inspired it, but that was the little kernel that started it. Why it went the direction it did afterward, I don’t know.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
Picked them out of thin air.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Getting back into writing after too long editing for others and not working my own stories.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
Hate drives Drew, but Letitia keeps interfering with that. She’s pregnant as a result of his attention—nicely put—and refuses to let him pay for it. That’s his conscious excuse for going back again and again, to force her to accept. To begin, Drew thinks she’s a personality blank, that she a bit slow minded, and despite a warning he gets from her ex-husband refuses to believe she’s a threat to him.
How did you come up with the title of the book?
He refuses to believe she’s a threat to him, but is there more under that bland personality driven by her desire for revenge or has she discovered how rich he is and wants more than he’s willing to give her?
Who designed your book covers?
Ashley Redbird Designs. She did a beautiful job. I love it. I need him to star in the movie with Daisey in answer to the question below.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Have to laugh with that question. I’ve had publishers tell me to stop. I still edit books I wrote years ago in my head.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Daisey Ridley for Letitia She is the lead character, and she has a child-like, naïve quality that nearly drives Drew crazy, thinking to begin with that she was simple minded for taking his attack on her so casually.
How did you come up with name of this book?
Title choosing is hard. I wanted to catch the reader’s attention, at the same time give an indication of what the story is about. If the title caught them and then they read the blurb, they know there are contradictions in Letitia—Precious—that could be deadly. That’s what I was aiming for, anyway.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
Both, although some of the characteristics are amped for effect. In Deadly Precious a minor character is from a life experience, the gossiping neighbor. I used to live in a very small, farm village in Oregon. A friend had been invited to lunch with some of the elite. She was happy about it, feeling she’d been accepted. They spend the entire time telling her everything she did wrong, from talking to strangers to a friendship with me because I was ten years younger. I really dislike that kind of thing and made the examples in Deadly Precious as offensive as possible to pass on a don’t be like that message, I hoped.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
Occasionally the story gets away from me and I have to backtrack. It hurts to discard what I’ve written but if it doesn’t fit where the story is going, it doesn’t fit.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
I can’t do that. Reading Deadly Precious isn’t a must read. Nothing is going to fall apart or not work right. You aren’t going to miss something that will change your life. That isn’t what would sell it. You’re just going to enjoy it. It has to be a wanna read. If you’d like to read something that isn’t a formula, isn’t the same basic plots you’ve read over and over, is some what out of the box, then you want to read Deadly Precious. I want all those things when I read, and I write that way.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Oh, heavens yes. I still have a closet full and a dozen or so that have been lost. I started writing a long time ago. I’ve only been publishing for about 15 years now.
If your book had a candle, what scent would it be?
Something spicy to remind you of Drew.
What did you edit out of this book?
Some violent scenes. They weren’t necessary to move the story or add to the plot.