TBM: How do you imagine the ideal reader of your book?
LVL: I imagine the ideal reader of my book as someone who champions ethnically diverse stories without judgment. My perfect reader would not be intimidated by a main character or supporting character who doesn’t look like her/him and would in fact embrace the story because they are ready for something different.
TBM: How was the writer inside of you born?
LVL: The writer inside me was born when I was a teenager. For years I’d been happily immersing myself into the worlds created by books. Early in my life I found that reading was the balm I needed to escape the harsh realities of life. When I was sixteen, I wrote a short romance which was accepted by a now defunct publication. That was the event that convinced me I had the wherewithal to write the types of books I loved.
TBM: What genres do you work with and why are you attracted to these forms of writing?
LVL: I wrote my first contemporary erotic romance on a dare, because of the EL James phenomenon, let’s be real! Now that I’ve experienced this genre, I may eventually write more, but my interest is now leaning more toward women’s fiction, mainstream literary and historical paranormal romance.
TBM: As a reader, what elements of a story do you love, or do you hate?
LVL: I love surprising stories that don’t always conform to formula, especially those that push the envelope. If the stories take the same form in a series time after time and the only thing that changes are the main characters and the setting, I will soon grow bored and stop reading them. This has happened to me with some very prominent authors.
TBM: What inspired you to write Redeeming The Amazon and what do you hope your readers will take away from this book?
LVL: Primarily, Redeeming The Amazon was written as part of a series by three other authors and myself. We became acquainted as Indie Authors and began corresponding with one another on almost a daily basis. One night we decided that perhaps we should begin a series that was set in one place whose characters were linked in some unique way, thus was born the Den of Sin series set in New Orleans. When I began to brainstorm my particular story for this series I chose to write about these main characters who were both maimed physically in some way, yet were pursuing intimacy with a significant other despite their bodies not being as pristine as they once were. I made Karen a breast cancer survivor because I have many friends and acquaintances who have fought breast cancer and won, so I wanted Karen to be their champion although going in she wasn’t quite as confident in her sexuality post-surgery. Then Paul, a former Marine who’d lost his leg in Afghanistan, I felt was a great character to help Karen deal with her body image issues. I hope readers will take away that romance heroes and heroines don’t always have to be perfect specimens physically, but they can be perfect for each other emotionally and romantically.
TBM: How long did it take you to write this book and what did you do the day that you finished it?
LVL: I don’t remember exactly how much time it took, but I remember us discussing the concept in late summer and the books were published in December. I think I spent approximately 6 weeks in actual writing time. When I was finished, there was so much to be done with getting all the other facets of the book publishing process done, I really didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate completion.
TBM: What would you like to say to your readers?
LVL: I just want to say to my readers that I cherish each and every one of you, especially those who have remained loyal despite my decision to change genres. It was a difficult decision which was partially based on my family situation and partially on my desire to write something which can reach a wider audience. The contemporary erotic romance audience is vast, so this is no slight against them, I just had to move in the direction which my muse was going.
TBM: If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything in Redeeming The Amazon?
LVL: Yes, if I had it to do all over again, I would make the novella a full-on novel, because it was really a story that contained a scope that could have been widened considerably.
TBM: Lastly, a direct message to the readers, about why they should read Redeeming The Amazon.
LVL: Readers should read Redeeming The Amazon if they like unique, sexy stories with unconventional characters in them. Karen and Paul are an ethnically diverse couple who just happen to both have body parts that were physically removed. This is a story for people who have had the same experience, or people who are interested in temporarily entering the worlds of two people who have had this experience. This is an opportunity for the reader to root for these characters to overcome body image issues and emotional issues, and perhaps find love.