Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.

The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Elisabeth Gifford is LadyDi! Please email my assistant Amy with your mailing address. (amy@litfusegroup.com)

This week L.K. Malone is in the Spotlight! To win a copy of her new YA fiction book, The Mirror of N’de,  leave a comment on this post! Be sure to read to the bottom – L.K. Malone is giving away a $50 Amazon.com gift certificate during her virtual book tour for The Mirror of N’de!

Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? 

I am blessed with an extended family, which includes a wonderful mom and stepmom, half a dozen half-and-step-sibs, two lovely young women I met through the Denver Kids mentoring program, and a small bestiary of finned, feathered, and furred creatures.

Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?

Sadly, yes, and it’s a difficult squeeze. Too often, by the end of a hard work day or week, I’m too brain fried to be very effective at writing.

And share something about your writing. What’s your genre(s), your areas of interest . . .

I read about anything I can get my hands on, and my writing interests are just as varied. My first writing credit was a feature article for the Rocky Mountain News. Then I published a short story in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Years later, Kregel Publications accepted Divided Loyalties, which is a romance/political thriller. The Mirror of N’de, my new release, is a young adult fantasy.

How did you get started writing? Did you have a dream of being a published author? 

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a story going through my head. When I was very young and I was sent to bed before I was tired, I used to script episodes of my favorite TV shows in my mind. But the desire to be a published author came later in life after I realized that my original dreams of being in music or theater required more talent and dedication than I actually possessed.

After you started writing seriously, how long was it before you were published? 

I’m still not sure I’m a serious writer. I write mostly to please myself—it’s how I work through problems and how I entertain myself. And I’ve produced reams of dreck that will never see the light of day. On those few occasions when I’ve turned out something that I thought might be worth sharing, it’s usually been accepted for publication.

Aside from a cup of good, strong coffee, what helps you get all of your “brain cylinders” firing so you can write well? Do you have any favorite places and routines when you write? How many hours a day do you spend writing? 

Oh, if only I could be so disciplined! Seriously, the only way I know to write is to glue the seat of my pants to the chair and peck at the keyboard until something makes sense. I know I’m writing effectively if I start to visualize the scene as if I’m either living it or seeing it played out on a movie screen. There doesn’t seem to be any particular formula for getting into that zone. Some days I can peck all day and have nothing to show at the end of the day. Other days I force myself to quit writing in the wee hours of the morning with the story still churning through my brain.

What has been the biggest help to you in the journey to publication? Writers’ conferences? Writing groups? Your mom as your first draft reader?

I’m a huge advocate of critique groups. Some years ago I hosted a writer’s workshop in my house. Nowadays I’m an avid member of critiquecircle.com. If I have a project going that isn’t just for me, I need feedback from other writers to help me stay objective and see the bigger picture. I also need help from more detail-oriented people to catch the little nit-picky things that I’ll miss, no matter how many times I proofread.

Is the “writer’s life” what you thought it would be?

No. I can’t speak for the lives of all types of writers (playwrights, script writers, etc.), but the novelist’s life is nothing like I imagined. I used to have this idea it would be something like what you see on the TV show Castle. But that’s not reality. I read somewhere that the average published novel makes its author about $5,000. And here’s the real shocker: I saw a blog by an author who got a book on the bestseller list, who cleared all of $24,000 her first year. Most novelists will never quit their day jobs, or will need to take on commercial writing projects (copy editing, etc.) to pay the bills.

What are your biggest distractions? 

TV (when I get home at night, I really just want to veg). Reading (same thing). Family and friends (when I’m in writing mode, I feel terribly guilty at the way I neglect the folks I love).

What do you least like about being a writer? Most like? 

Jessamyn West is quoted as saying that, “Writing is a solitary occupation. Family, friends, and society are the natural enemies of the writer. He must be alone, uninterrupted, and slightly savage if he is to sustain and complete an undertaking.” What I like least about writing is the fact that I have to choose between spending time with the people I love and the passion that gives meaning to my life. It’s nearly impossible to find balance, especially as some members of my family become more needful of my time and help.

What I most like is when inspiration hits, and the plot elements and characters are just jumping off the screen at me. There’s nothing like the feeling that I’ve created something wonderful, even if two days later I reread it and decide that it’s really not as good as I thought.

What is the role and importance of an agent? 

I’ve never had one, so I don’t know. I did run my last contract past an attorney/agent, and I think she recommended some changes that were worthwhile, so I think there’s something to be said for at least gaining the counsel of people who have more experience in the business.

What advice would you give to new writers? 

If writing isn’t the way God speaks to you, it won’t be the way he works through you. If it isn’t the passion of your life, it’s probably because it’s a work of the flesh. The wildly successful novelists like J.K. Rowling, Tim LaHaye, and Stephen King who rake in lots of money for their work are basically the Powerball winners of the fiction-writing world, and even their work wouldn’t be so popular if they weren’t writing for the love of it. So write because you love it or don’t bother.

Pretend I’m a customer at a bookstore looking for a good book. Give me a one or two sentence promo to convince me to buy your book. 

The Mirror of N’de is a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening story of magic, mystery, betrayal, and grace. If I’ve accomplished what I set out to do, it’s also the kind of book that readers of all ages will return to, to mine up all the little hidden puns and spiritual messages tucked away behind the story.

What’s on the book horizon for you? 

There’s a sequel to The Mirror of N’de, though at this point there’s no guarantee it will find a place on bookstore shelves. Beyond that, I have no clue. I guess we’ll see where God leads.

Last question, how can readers find you and your books?

I am on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter @ElKayMalone. Divided Loyalties is still available through online booksellers, and The Mirror of N’de just released to stores this month!

Thank you for sharing your writing life with my bleaders! (blog + readers = bleaders)

Bleaders—I love it.
Thanks for giving me this opportunity!

Tell your friends!

Tweet or post about The Mirror of N’de and you could win $50 to Amazon.com.

To enter all you have to do is send a tweet (using @litfuse) about The Mirror of N’de or share about it on Facebook!

If you tweet we’ll capture your entry when you use @litfuse. If you share it on Facebook or your blog, just email us and let us know (ckrumm@litfusegroup.com). Easy.

Not sure what to tweet/post? Here’s an idea:

TWEET THIS: New YA fantasy – The Mirror of N’de – compelling narrative and creative characters! @litfuse RT for $50 to @amazon http://ow.ly/7AWGT

FACEBOOK THIS: Don’t miss this debut YA fantasy story: Crafting powerful narrative and creative characters, author L. K. Malone spins a compelling tale that combines exciting entertainment and the Christian story. In The Mirror of N’de, readers will empathize with the desires of an oppressed people, will anger at the affliction of a cruel adversary, and ultimately rejoice with the revelation of a Savior. Share this for a chance at $50 to Amazon.com http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13440685

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