Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Layla Dorine

1. When/why did you decide to become a writer? *

I always loved the book The Outsiders, and when I was about 12 I learned that the author S.E. Hinton, had written it when she was just 15. I thought it was so awesome that someone not much older than me had written something so wonderfully cool and thought provoking and emotionally deep. I decided then that I was going to write a book, and promptly got started on it. I made it something like 3 or 4 chapters before abandoning it, in truth, it read more like Outsider fan fiction before the invention of fan fiction, but I still have those pages somewhere. I got hooked on words at a very young age and wrote a lot of poetry and song lyrics in middle school and high school but I always wanted to try my hand at novel writing and when my son, who is now almost 20, was little, I started working on stories again, though it would take well over a decade before I was ever comfortable enough to show anyone my work. I used to play make believe a lot when I was little, I was an only child, and sometimes, my fantasy world characters were my only companions. It got to a point where I just wanted to share the worlds I created and the adventures that were unfolding in them. 

2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today? *

Oh wow, aside from S.E. Hinton, Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, I also enjoyed the Laura Inglas Wilder books, Charles Dickens, Robert Frost, Robert Lewis Stevenson, Mark Twain, and many other classical writers. I loved poetry, and read Dickinson, Poe, Browning, Lord Byron, Shelly, Keats, Yeats, E.E. Cummings, Tolkin, Walt Whitman, and Jack Kerouac and Jim Morrison's Poetry. Today, I'm a huge fan of Charlie Cochet's Thirds Series, I read a lot of Paranormal Romance, I love dragons, shifters, anything along those lines, I love the Black Dagger Brotherhood Book, I love the Harry Potter Series, I read mangas, like saiyuki, and Wolf's Rain, Priest, and Crying Freeman. I love the Darkness comics, Nightwing, some Batmans and Punisher, I'm also a big fan of Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martain. 

3. What was the inspiration behind your latest release? *

My upcoming release, Serpent's Kiss, is a M/M snake shapeshifter romance, with a bunch of political intrigue added in. I was inspired, primarily, by my love of the naga mythology and wanting to put my own twist on the myths. In the world of the Serpenmatas, one can be a pure blood, with the ability to shift between human and snake cleanly, or one can have mixed human and snake features at all times. Some can even appear so monstrous that there is no way for them to pass as humans even with personal illusions in place. Shapeshifters and the ability to take another form have always fascinated me, and through the years I've spent a lot of time reading and researching mythology on skinwalkers and shapeshifters. Somewhere in all of that research, the characters began talking and Zaiden and Darian's story began to unfold. 

4. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life? *

There is something of my personality in all of my characters. There is always something drawn from the people I've met in my travels and the places that I've been. In this case, the idea that Darian has found himself outcast from his family because of their fear of his visions, was drawn from watching the way family members tend to pull back from those who are different from themselves or who buck convention. I wanted to show Darian becoming part of a different tribe, finding his place in their world, coming into his own, embracing who he was, and finding love too. I think the quest for happiness and happily ever after is one that we can all relate to, especially those who have had doors slammed in their faces or been shunned by those who were supposed to love and care for them. 

5. Why do you write in your chosen genre? What other genres would you like to try your hand at? *

I write LGBTQ stories because my characters fall on the spectrum, that's who they are, and though at first, I was kind of hesitant to explore that with them, I've found it to be soul cleansing and cathartic. In the course of my writing I was finally able to come out and admit my own bisexuality. It also opened the door for my daughter to come out to me, when she asked what I wrote and I replied with honesty. I believe that all love should be celebrated. I believe that every character should have the opportunity for their story to be told, no matter who they are or who they choose to love. In my novels I have had Bisexual characters, a transgender character, gay characters, a lesbian character, straight characters, Pan characters, and in two current WIPs, I've got Gender Fluid characters who surprised me at first, when I was writing and they made their pronoun preferences known. I've written contemporary, paranormal, a tough of science fiction, an urban drama, a novel featuring a dirtbike racer and one that would be considered a historical fantasy. I try to keep an open mind and look at the world the characters are showing me, embrace it and see where it takes me. As to a genre I haven't written but would like to, I think the only one that would fit the bill would be high fantasy. 

6. What would you do if you were your main character? *

Wow, awesome question. If I were Darian in Serpent's Kiss, I think I might think twice about leaving my guns behind. I think I would be as leery of Zaiden's intentions as he was in the course of the story, and I think I may have had to do some negotiating to ensure my own safety before i got in the car at the start of the trip. Actually, I might have gone on vacation and made it more difficult for them to find me, but that would have delayed the inevitable, I think and maybe even made things more difficult for he and Zaiden in the end. I'd like to think I would have been a bit more willing to help though, that I could have tried to see my powers through their eyes and been a bit more willing to learn about them and their world before being so testy. 

7. Will we ever see these characters again? *

Never say never. While this was written as a stand alone, it would be fun to revisit them again, maybe a few years after the end of Serpent's Kiss to see how much the bond between them has grown and how Darian is fitting in at the compound. 

8. Would you like to see this book as a film or TV show? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters? *

Wow, with the creation of shows like Shadow Hunters and the like, I could see this as a TV show or even a film, that would be interesting. CG has come so far, as have makeup and effects that I think the characters could be portrayed correctly. I would love to see Jason Mamoa play Zaiden, and as for Darian, it would be cool to see him played by Charlie Hunnam or Chris Hemsworth. 

9. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?

Still writing books, still exploring worlds, still traveling and researching and meeting new people and searching for new things to inspire me, researching and attending workshops, taking photographs and learning with every new story. I would love to see myself with a series under my belt and that high fantasy novel written too. 

10. Is there anything you haven't touched on that you'd like readers to know about your book? *

Just that the politics is as important as the romance, and that overall, the culture of the characters is very important to the story as well. 

11. What would you be doing if you weren't writing? *

Wildlife/nature photography, which I actually do as a hobby and freelance submitting pieces to magazines both online and print. I'd likely create more digital art too, or reform a band, I've always loved music. One thing I do know for certain is that it would be something creative. 

12. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next? *

Several things actually. A romance featuring a rocker and his bodyguard, another story in which a marketing executive falls for the escort who he hires to accompany him to his companies winter gala, and lastly, a novel about returning home to find oneself and in the process, finding love with the half-brother of one's ex. 

13. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with? *

Jim Morrison, on song lyrics and poetry. That would be the epic be all end all for me. On novels, Tolkien, on that high fantasy piece. 

14. What are three things that may surprise your readers to know about you? *

I love motorcycles and rock bands, I am super into camping, hiking, fishing, canoeing, just all of those outdoor things, and I love to spend time learning about haunted places and reading ghost stories. 

15. Please list your links where readers can find you online and purchase your works. *

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