For the next in the series of interviews I’m pleased to bring you Lani Woodland, author of the Yara Silva Trilogy. The first book in the series, INTRINSICAL, came out last year, and the second book INDELIBLE comes out this month. I’ve been lucky enough to know Lani for a few years now, and she’s an awesome person and great writer. She has a fresh take on the paranormal genre with the Yara series, and I’m looking forward to reading INDELIBLE when it comes out. Speaking of which, she just finished up the trailer for the new book, and you can watch it below.
Looks good, right? Now on to the interview!
First, tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like to read, watch movies and spend time with my family and friends.
When did you start writing?
I started writing when I was in elementary school. I used to make up plays and have my friends act them out for me. I’ve been creating stories and characters ever since then.
Do you have formal training in writing?
Not really. I am taking a writing class and I attend lots of conferences and writing workshops but I don’t have a degree in writing.
Do you write free-hand or on the computer?
I have horrible handwriting. If I wrote it out, I wouldn’t be able to read what I wrote. I use a computer.
Who are some of your favorite authors and/or writing influences?
Wow. That is hard. I don’t know that I have just one. I love Libba Bray, Jane Austen, and Georgette Hyer, just to name a few.
What’s your favorite book?
Gah! I can’t answer that! I can give you a list maybe of a few of my favorites. Here are a few, not including classic books:
A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY by Libba Bray
HOW TO TAKE THE EX- OUT OF EX-BOYFRIEND by Janette Rallison
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth
THE LADY JULIA books by Deanna Rayborn
MERCY THOMPSON books by Patricia Briggs
What’s your favorite genre to read?
I love paranormal books. I also love books that have romance in them.
What draws you to paranormal stories?
I like to read about impossible things and magic. It’s a nice escape. I have always loved ghost stories and books with magical elements. I think it all actually started with the Disney movie Escape to Witch Mountain. I saw it when I was really little and I loved that the kids had magical abilities.
How did you first get the idea for Yara’s story?
It was inspired by the X-Files. Cherie was my Mulder and Yara my Scully. Obviously the characters are way different from Mulder and Scully but that’s where the basic idea came from. I was a big fan and went to visit the Queen Mary where an episode was filmed. It’s an old ocean liner museum/hotel in Long Beach. The first class swimming pool there is creepy and I wondered what Mulder and Scully would do if they visited the pool. That is where the original idea came from.
Was INTRINSICAL written with a trilogy in mind?
INTRINSICAL was actually two books combined into one. When I was looking for an agent, one told me I couldn’t end the book on such a cliffhanger because there was no guarantee about getting the second book picked up. So I combined my two books into one. When I was asked to write a sequel, I had to come up with a new idea, since I had written all my second book ideas into the first. I had two threads I knew I would use, and so the whole book started with two sentences. I had to work from there and because of the major plot point I had in book one, I had to work hard to make the second book worth reading.
Is there anything easier about writing a sequel?
It was easy in the fact that I knew the characters and had already established my mythology.
Yes. I had a pretty major event happen in INTRINSICAL. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to top it. Also the second book is so different from the first book and I was worried that maybe it was too different. But I ended up loving it more than INTRINSICAL.
Any lessons you learned from writing the first that you implemented in the second?
Only that beta-readers are important.
Who is your favorite character to write, and why?
I love writing my scenes with Yara and Brent. I think they have fun chemistry.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, who?
I do. I listen to all kinds. My husband and I have a very eclectic music library.
How much of yourself do you see in Yara or the other characters you write?
There are a few things. Yara hates crafts and craves mangoes. Cherie is disorganized. Cherie and Yara both love Miguel’s and chocolate. But personality-wise, I don’t think I’ve put much of myself into the characters. Maybe I should ask my friends.
Does your own high school experience relate in any way to that of your characters?
Not really. Well, except Cherie, Brent and Steve being on the cross-country team. Oh and the fact that they live in Corona. But no, I didn’t have any ghostly adventures.
Without giving away anything, are we looking at a completely new bad guy for Indelible?
You may see Thomas again . . . and there is a new ghost and a mysterious guy who Yara meets who seems to know a lot about her.
Do you know what your next project for after the Yara Silva trilogy is?
I’m working on a new series with my friend Melonie. The first book is called PIECES OF JADE.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Keep writing. I think it can be discouraging sometimes. The best thing to do is just to keep going and keep writing.
And finally, and probably most importantly, favorite superhero?
Wonder Woman. I used to love She-Ra but Wonder Woman was my hero. I used to have her Underroos.
Thanks so much to Lani for taking the time to do this interview. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. INDELIBLE will be out this month (check Lani’s blog post about it for more details) but in the meantime grab INTRINSICAL for a fun and creepy ghost story, and check out Lani on twitter too!