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What if you could only touch your lover one night of the year? Halloween night is all you have when in a relationship with a ghost.
Drew Jessop wants a life without ghosts. He doesn’t want to see, hear, or talk to them. Ignoring them should be relatively simple. But Drew soon finds that Benji Richards, an eternally gorgeous ghost from the fifties, is not so easy to ignore.
Halloween night is approaching and both Drew and Benji know what it could mean for them. From sunset to sunrise, it is the one night of the year when a mortal can feel the touch of a ghost.
Hi everyone, please join me in giving L.M. Brown, author of Touch of a Ghost a big welcome today. Tell us, can you remember if there was a moment when you decided you wanted to be a writer?
Despite my dreadful memory when it comes to most things, I do remember this vividly. It was back in school when I was thirteen years old. My English teacher would give us creative writing assignments and, each week, someone was tortured by having their work read out to the class. When mine was chosen, I was embarrassed — especially since I had written way more than the minimum requirement for the assignment. The bell rang before the teachergot to the end of the story, I had waffled on so much. After the class, one of the other students, who wasn’t a particular friend of mine, approached me and asked to read the end of the story since they enjoyed it so much. That was when I decided I wanted to be a writer, though it was a long time before I actually achieved it.
That’s rather flattering and certainly a great incentive to pursue this kind of dream. So, having decided to be a writer, what inspired you to write your first book?
Like many writers, I found myself writing a lot of fanfiction, mainly in the Harry Potter fandom. From there I discovered “slash” fanfiction and wrote what turned out to be an epically long (400,000 words) story about Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. I know, I know, the pairing has been done to death, but yes, I jumped on the bandwagon.
After this story was finally done, I realized I had been neglecting my original stories and went back to writing those, determined to get some of my half written pieces finished. At around the same time I saw an open call for ghost stories and decided to concentrate on polishing up Touch of a Ghost for that open call, just to see whether I could really do what I had dreamed about for so long. The story was accepted and I have been writing original stories ever since. Though I occasionally do wander back to the world of fandom.
That’s an impressive word count and I’m thinking it doesn’t matter what inspires you as long as you’re inspired! We’re certainly glad you tried your hand at this particular call *grin*. Having written the book, how did it feel to finish your first book?
It felt great. Even if it had never been accepted for publication, actually finishing a story is quite an achievement for a procrastinator like me.
That’s certainly a true enough answer. Many people never finish their work and that is a huge achievement all on its own! Here’s a great one, is there a certain song or soundtrack you listen to while writing?
Although some of my stories are inspired by particular songs, I wouldn’t say I write to them. I tend to put my iPod on shuffle so I don’t have to mess about with picking songs or tracks when I am busy writing. My iPod has all sorts on it, from 50s tracks right through to present day. Though the era with the most tracks from it is definitely the 80s.
I have to say, I’m a big fan of music going back to through the ages (all the way back to be sure) but the 60s are my personal favourite. Hmm, what was the most terrifying thing about submitting your first book?
I submitted my first book and immediately thought “what the hell have I done?” I never imagined it would be accepted and braced myself for weeks of waiting to hear back from the publisher. To find a contract in my inbox less than 24 hours later was a huge shock. I am kind of glad they responded so quickly, so I had less time to go through the terrifying ordeal of waiting and wondering if I had done the right thing.
I think when you’ve written something great, it’s always fantastic to have that recognised! Hopefully it will be something that encourages you to keep doing submitting. I’m wondering, was it easy to tell your friends and family that you were writing romance? What was their reaction?
Only a couple of close friends know I write and they haven’t really had much of a reaction to it at all. They are not big readers and while they did give me a quick “congrats” on my first book, they don’t know I am still writing since I am kind of reluctant to bore them with the details. I have found only those who know the pleasure of losing themselves in a book can truly understand the excitement of becoming a published writer.
I have to confess I don’t understand people who don’t love reading as much as I do, so I completely understand what you mean. Having been accepted, did you find it hard having to edit or make changes to your “baby”?
The first time I saw the work of an editor on one of my stories it was actually not so bad. Having heard plenty of horror stories by this point, I expected worse and breathed a sigh of relief. Then, during the second round of edits, I suddenly got a new editor who wanted a lot of changes made. It was hard to see so many criticisms of my story. I shut down the document for a day and went back to it with fresh eyes and a determination to learn from the experience.
Thankfully, every editor I have had has been a pleasure to work with and I like to try to learn from them to make my stories better. I trust their judgment and try not to go all diva on them, though I do stand my ground and explain the rationale behind something if a suggested change is one which will substantially change the story/characters. I hope my editors enjoy working with me too, as I do think that a good relationship between editors and authors makes for a better story in the end.
Although I gripe and moan about edits – just like every other author I know – I actually don’t mind doing them. Even if I would rather be out in the sunshine instead of stuck inside on the computer on the hottest days of the year!
I think that’s an important way to look at it. I agree that if you feel that a change will alter something fundamental about the storyline or a character… you have to stand your ground. Having cracked the submitting and the editing, what would you say is the hardest part of being published for you?
Definitely the bad reviews. When you are an unknown author, it is pretty hard to get reviews for your stories at all, so when I get the bad ones it hits me pretty hard. I actually don’t go looking for reviews at all now, and even went so far as to delete my Goodreads account since I found going there killed any inclination I have to write.
I agree that bad reviews can be difficult to deal with, but I hope that you will reactivate your Goodreads account so that people can also find ways to leave good reviews and also to interact with you in a positive way. You need to remember that bad reviews are merely opinion and it’s important to experience both the good and the bad. Here’s one I like, if you were given one wish, what would you do with it? (No, you can’t cure diseases or solve world peace…but for the rest… go nuts)
I would wish to be able to write full time. Or to win the lottery of course, which would enable me to write full time. Totally selfish, but every minute I spend at the soul-sucking evil day job (as I lovingly refer to it) is a minute I could have spent telling my characters’ stories.
Oh believe me, you’re not the first to wish that!!! So what advice would you give an aspiring writer?
Don’t give up at the first hurdle.
Try to write something every day, even if it is only a few hundred words.
Set up a blog so readers can find you.
And most importantly, when you are asked this question in an interview – take your own advice!
That’s great advice! Hmm, if you weren’t writing, what other artistic outlet do you think you’d have?
Like Drew from Touch of a Ghost, I love photography. I like to capture moments and places on film and, when I am out and about, I make sure to have my camera with me. I can’t say that I have any great talent in photography but I can usually manage to point it and click without too much going wrong. All the flowery photos on my blog (the header and titles of different types of blog post) were taken by myself.
That’s definitely a rewarding passtime. I find that being able to compose a photo and have it look exactly how you pictures fills my need to get things right better than blundering about with a paintbrush would *grin*. Do you have a secret skill that you can share with us?
I’m not so sure it is a skill so much as a necessity, but I have perfected the not-so-secret knack of writing whilst being held prisoner by one or both of my cats. They have discovered that sitting on my chest and trapping my arms is not sufficient to stop me from tapping away at the keyboard.
That’s certainly a great secret skill and one that I have yet to perfect! Tell me, what has been the strangest place that inspiration has struck and how did you deal with it?
I don’t think that inspiration has ever struck me in a particularly strange place, though it does tend to hit at inconvenient times. I now learn to carry a notepad and pen with me, as well as keeping one beside the bed (midnight inspiration just when I am falling asleep is especially common). You don’t want to wake up the next morning and realize the brilliant idea you had at 2 am has now completely slipped your mind.
True enough! The biggest lie we ever tell ourselves is “I’ll remember that later”!! I like this one… If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?
The ability to fly. Whether it is to get something from the shelf that is just out of reach or to soar up into the clouds with the birds, this is the super power I would like. Well, it is today, I may change my mind on this one at any given time because other powers are pretty tempting too. The one I would never want is the power to read minds though – I would rather not know what is going on in another person’s head, any more than I would want someone snooping through mine.
I LIKE that!! Hmm, lastly, do you have any movies or television shows which inspire you?
I love television shows and movies that are of the paranormal/sci-fi variety. I love exploring ideas stemming from “What ifs?” Whether it’s the existence of ghosts, demons and angels (I am a huge Supernatural fan!) or the mysteries of the depths of the oceans (am I the only one who remembers Seaquest DSV?) I can pretty much find inspiration in most programmes I watch.
Seaquest DSV was one of my FAVOURITE shows… funny how I’ve wondered if anyone else had every watched it *grin*.
Thank you so much for joining us today! I hope that you’ll all go and order your copy now!
Until next time…