Today I’m pleased to bring you an interview with Layla Dorine. Layla has a wonderful new holiday story out so make sure to check out the details below.
Thank you so much for having me on your blog today, Nic. Its always fun to talk about my stories and writing process. I loved the selection of questions.
Thanks, Layla, and welcome. I’d love to know more about your writing. What comes first, the plot or the character?
Usually it’s the character, a nagging voice in my head that just won’t go away. But sometimes I dream portions of a story, or find myself thinking about something, and that becomes the jumping off point. I have to say it really depends on the story and the situation. The ones that spring up from a dream or an idea are harder to write than those that are character driven. I feel like the character is essential to fully get into the mindset of before I sit down to write a story, so when I end up with a thought or an idea first, I usually just end up writing it down and sitting on it until the characters start forming in my head and open up and talk to me.
What is the key theme and/or message in your new releases?
My most recent short story release, A Season of New Beginnings, is my first holiday story. I love Christmas and I thought it would be fun to write something that embodied the spirit of the season. I found myself thinking back to a Christmas I spent in Memphis about twelve years ago. I was down on Beale Street, listening to the music pouring out of the clubs and bars and I wandered in and sat awhile, watching people dance and laugh and enjoy the festivities. After awhile though, I noticed that there were a few people who didn’t look like they were having a good time. It made me wonder what they were even doing there. That memory came back when I started thinking about writing a holiday story, and I found myself wanting to give one of those individuals a happy ending, and thus, A Season of New Beginnings was born. The main themes of the book are to make time for someone if you really care about having that person in your life, and to not judge someone too harshly, until you learn what they are all about, sometimes their stories might not only surprise you, but teach a lesson too.
That sounds a wise message. Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?
I always write to music or some soft, and this being a holiday story and trying to stay in the mood of the season, I played a lot of Trans-Siberian Orchestra while working on this one. I use music as a means of focusing and getting in and staying in the mood of a piece. ‘Wizards in Winter’ was a particular favorite for writing this piece, along with ‘Carol of the Bells,’ and ‘O’ Come all ye Faithful.’
I think listening to carols is wonderful for getting in to the spirit of holiday stories too. Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
Yes, actually, I’ve been working on a story featuring an advertising executive and the escort he hires to attend his companies winter gala with him. Slowly, through a series events they attend, they come to know one another, and long to see one another outside of the context of escort/client. In the process, both learn important things about themselves, their motivations and what drives them, as well as how their goals and choices have shaped and molded their lives.
I love the sound of that one and look forward to reading the story, When you’re writing an emotionally draining (or sexy, or sad, etc) scene, how do you get in the mood?
Mood music, or movies, but the movie part is rare. If I have to get into a mood to write a scene, then I need the house to be quiet and unstressful so I can tap into the feeling that I need. What that usually entails is napping during the day so I can stay up well past when everyone else goes to sleep. Once I get set up, usually with a tablet and paper in a comfortable easy chair with the music on, I start to think about the feelings and emotions that are wrapped up in the scene and how I want to convey them to the reader. Once I can really feel that emotion, I start jotting it down on the page. All of my first drafts are hand written, it’s just a closer connection, for me, and it takes away the distraction of using a computer.
Which of your books were the most enjoyable to write?
Guitars and Cages and its sequel Guitars and Choices were by far, the most fun despite that they are also my darkest two pieces of writing. That was primarily due to the fact that I was writing with characters I had been developing for almost twenty years at the time Guitars and Cages were written. Asher, the main character, is a mixture of so many people I have known over the years and experiences I’ve had, so writing his story has been, in many ways, a coping and even healing mechanism for me to get past some of the things I’ve lived or witnessed. While that might sound painful rather than enjoyable, I have to say that there were so many moments of laughter and reflection that really made the harder parts worth while. I’m looking forward to the next three books in the series.
Thanks for answering my questions, Layla, and all the best for the festive season.
A Season of New Beginnings
Joshua just wants to be alone. Happy holidays be damned; the last place he wants to be is at a Christmas Eve party surrounded by overly jolly friends. After a breakup with his boyfriend, Clay, he’s having a hard time watching other people be merry when all he wants is to drown himself in booze.
If it wasn’t for a promise to two dear friends, he’d have been home on his couch watching the least festive thing possible. Instead, he’s got to deal with flamboyant Desi flirting up a storm with him. Only Desi has a past too, and his own pain, as well as a bit of unsolicited advice for Joshua that could turn his bleak night into a bright future.
Click here to buy from Amazon.
About the Author
LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.
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