April, tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?
If I had to describe myself as an author in three sentences, I would say, I love to pull on my reader’s heartstrings, as well as make them laugh. I am a DOD–Doctor of Dialogue– it’s my specialty, and I use life, and the people around me, as my inspiration.
As a writer, I could sit in my kitchen and tap away on my computer for twenty hours straight, but piles of dirty laundry or an empty refrigerator always prevails.
Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?
I have always been an avid reader, but always seems to change the plot, or the interaction between the characters in my mind, thinking, “Wouldn’t this book have been a better read if this happened?” or, “It would have been much more meaningful if this character said this during this scene.”
It got to a point where I couldn’t even enjoy a novel because I was always picking it apart. Finally, I decided to stop complaining and put my own stories to the test. When I received an incredibly positive reaction from the few I let read my first manuscript, I decided to get serious about making writing my career.
When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?
I finished my first novel in my early forties, although I started it years earlier. I was one of those people that wrote the first ten chapters, then stuffed into the bottom drawer to collect dust. I pulled it back out years later to finish, and finally gave a copy to my sisters to read. They were blown away for several reasons. First, because I hadn’t let anyone know I was writing a novel, and secondly, because they laughed as well as cried while reading my manuscript. After their reaction, I decided I better give this a go, or at least try to anyway, and worked on getting it published. The publishing industry is a hard nut to crack, but eventually I succeeded.
How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?
Writing my first story took many, many years. I wrote the first five chapters, then pushed it aside, thinking, what in the world do I know about writing a novel. The incomplete manuscript resurfaced when I turned forty, but didn’t get completed for another year after that. Although I graduated with a Bachelors in Journalism, I didn’t feel like I knew enough about writing fiction; most of my education was centered around writing hard facts in a newspaper setter. I then studied writing styles and punctuation for another several months, then rewrote the novel.
The story, on the other hand, had been totally formulated in my mind for years before I started typing out my thoughts onto the computer.
Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?
My writing process dictates my whole day. After I get my kids shooed out of the house to school, I usually eat a bowl of cereal while scrolling through my emails. I like total silence, no television, no radio, nothing but the sound of the washing machine doing its job. After eating, I make my bed and dress, then tromp back out to the kitchen where my computer is always sitting, and start writing or editing. If I have my day like I want it, I am allowed to sit all day long in my creative glory until I have to pick my son up from school.
What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?
In my debut novel, Bridge to Destiny, I used much of my real life. I had a daughter that was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of three. She had a reaction to one of her chemotherapy drugs, which caused a Thrombosis and suffered stroke-like symptoms. This is portrayed in the main character’s daughter. Consequently, the doctor treating my daughter happened to be handsome…you get the picture.
Literary Inspiration: throughout your life, what novels have lifted you, made you think, “Someday I want to create something like that . . .”
I write what I love to read–Women’s Fiction that centers around romance and is laced with drama, but I had a hard time finding books that suited my taste. For example, I love dialogue. I love reading it. I love writing it. I honestly don’t really care how the landscape looks or what the room smells like, and that seemed to be what many books I read spent their time on. It wasn’t until I read Emily Giffin and Colleen Hoover’s debut novels that I really found my piece of the pie in the reading world. They were the inspiration behind me actually sitting down and writing my first novel.
Let’s talk about romance. How do you set the mood for your characters, what do you draw from that helps your H/H achieve oneness with each other? And how much conflict do you give them, along the way?
I definitely don’t enjoy the typical romance novels; actually, they bore me to tears. Boy meets girl in first chapter, drooling then ensues, followed by mad passionate sex, with explicit details.
My heroine and hero don’t usually meet in the first chapter, and never, ever instantaneously fall madly in love. My love interest usually don’t even become acquainted until the storyline has unfolded. I also do not enjoy reading romances that are popular now days that describe sex scenes in glorified detail. I have a deep aversion to writing or reading any words that begin with the letter P that describe the male and female anatomy. What you will get in my writing is sensuality and seduction, which I feel is a much better read.
My characters will also always find themselves in a mountain of conflict. I like to drop them in a caldron full of boiling water, then see how they can climb their way back out. The more drama, the better, in my opinion.
What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?
I am relatively new to the writing industry, so I don’t have a shining moment as of yet, but my favorite part of my new career is my reader’s feedback, especially when I hear that they laughed, as well as cried, while reading my novels. If a novel can pull those two polar opposite emotions out of me, I mark it down as a top pick and share those thoughts with my family and friends. I’m hoping my readers are doing the same.
Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?
I only need two things to write….my computer and silence….oh, and an uncluttered environment.
Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?
My only time constraint I have is being a full-time mother. I never want my kids to be able to say, mom missed my game because she was writing, or I needed mom, but she was on the computer, so I do everything in my power to not let that happen. Now that they are all teenagers, this is much easier to accomplish, due to the fact that I have two driving, which has been fabulous. At the blink of an eye, they will all be in college and out of the house, so I plan on soaking in every second I have with them, each and every day.
What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?
As I said, my reader’s comments are what I thrive on, especially when they compare me to outstanding writers like Nicholas Sparks and Nora Roberts. I also love it when they give me specifics, like I cried when this happened, or I laughed when this character did this. This information gives me feedback to know what types of interaction I need to keep developing in future storylines.
What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?
One hundred percent, back cover blurbs and self- promotion. Back cover blurbs are hard for me because I don’t want to give too much of the plot away, but still want to attempt to hook the new reader. It’s a slippery slope. I am getting better at it, but still have difficulty perfecting the summary.
Self-promotion is a necessary evil in the small publishing world. I hate with a passion tooting my own horn, and that’s exactly what you have to do. Not only do you have to profess how fabulous your books are, you have to be able to promote yourself to strangers you meet day to day. Once again, I am getting slightly better at this task, but I have a long journey ahead to be able to feel like I am thoroughly using every opportunity that arises to the best of my capabilities.
How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?
My process seems to go like this…. When I get a book idea, it’s usually in broad terms. I have a list started on my Kindle Fire of all these thoughts. Then, for some reason, my brain switches to overdrive while I attempt to go to sleep at night. One of my story ideas festers in my brain and starts to bloom. I lie in bed and let the creative side of my mind do its job. Sometimes, I lie awake all night, literally, while my unconscious-self morphs my idea into a full-fledged novel. It is imperative that I write everything down as soon as I get out of bed, otherwise it disappears completely.
Tell us a little about what you’re currently working on.
I am currently working on my fourth novel that will centered around a piece of property that my father has owned for years that has been developed into a lake. The novel will be called, ‘A Gentleman’s Agreement,’ and will hopefully be published in the beginning of 2016.
Interesting facts about me:
1. I have a love/hate relationship with my name, April Marie Libs. I adore that my first name is different, but loath the jokes, “Is your middle name May?” “You just had to be born in April, right?” I also dread April fools day– I’m sure you can understand why.
2. I also love to camp, especially when my three teenagers go along, but most people say using an RV is not really camping, but I totally disagree. Camping to me is about being in the outdoors, enjoying family time, and that is exactly what we do. My favorite memories are driving to Canada to visit Niagara Falls and hiking the hills of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
3. Although I have always been anti-pet, of any sort, type of person, my children and husband talked me into getting a puppy. A second dog emerged out of the abyss. Now I talk to them like my children, love on them, and cover them with kisses. If someone heard the one-sided conversations I have with them daily, they would think I was completely insane.
4. I hate Valentine’s Day because it puts pressure on couples to “show their love for one another.” Quite honestly, I think my husband needs to show me affection on a day to day basis, and vice versa. It shouldn’t be singled out just for one day of the year. I just had a friend on Facebook list all the ways she knows her husband loves her. It was touching and endearing, and brought a tear to my eye. Now that is what Valentine’s Day should be about, not the cheesy cards and over-priced flowers.
5. If I wasn’t a writer, my dream job would be a casting director. I love to pick out actors and actresses to portray the characters in my book. Now to just get a movie deal….
April’s debut novel with Soul Mate, BRIDGE TO DESTINY:
Avery Lawson’s life, once so perfect, spins out of control, not once, but twice in twelve months. Not only does she lose the only man she has ever loved, fate threatens to take her next greatest treasure, her four-year-old daughter, Hannah.
BRIDGE TO DESTINY is a heartwarming story that chronicles the struggles a single mom has to endure with her tenacious, headstrong daughter who is fighting to regain all of her motor skills from a head injury. During her daughter’s recovery, Avery stumbles into an unforeseen relationship with her neurologist, Nathan Banst, first professionally, and then personally, when she sends him an inappropriate text message after a night out drinking. Although mortified, this pushes Avery into a more personal relationship with Nathan, but is it too soon after her husband’s death?
BUY LINK : AMAZON:
April, thanks so much for visiting with us today!