To kick it off, I've recently discovered a special blog called Clean Indie Reads. It was started by Lia London, and as soon as I read it, I got in touch with Lia and asked her if she would come and answer some questions for me about what she means by Clean Reads and Flinch Free Fiction as the heading of the blog calls it. Luckily, she doesn't get seasick, so she agreed to come and sit with me while we roll around in the wind.
|Lia London in happy mode|
So without further ado, welcome Lia!
VP. Lia, firstly, I know you are a writer yourself, so how long have you been writing and what is your particular genre?
LL. Well, I've actually been writing for public consumption since grade school (let's just say 35 years ago) where I began with skits for school assemblies and poetry for competitions. In college, I wrote a full-length comic musical that was performed by a local children's theater. Comic or inspirational scripts dominated my writing until about four years ago when I began writing novels. I haven't focused on a single genre, but looking forward to the "to be written" pile, I favor young adult fantasy and Brit-style comedies.
VP. That's special! So what books did you read when you were growing up and what was it you loved about them?
LL. I loved the Chronicles of Narnia and the whole Oz series. I loved being transported to another world with new ways of doing things and new creatures. They fired up my imagination and helped me envision magical things all around me.
VP. That explains the love of YA and Brit humour then! How many books have you written, and which is your personal favourite?
LL. I've written four that are published, and have another one due out within a month. The personal favorite varies depending on the mood because they are all so different. Today, I'll say it's Magian High.
VP. I'm glad to hear someone else doesn't keep to one style either. Do you have any anecdotes about what made you start writing a particular book?
LL. Yes, actually. The Fargenstropple case came about because I needed to learn how to format books for kindles, but I didn't want to use my debut novel (The Circle of Law) as the test dummy because it was my "baby". Fargenstropple was actually the product of an experiment in collaborative fiction, like a choose-your-own-ending story with my readers bossing me along. It served its purpose as a manuscript to learn formatting, but it also ended up being the book that most makes me giggle.
VP. That must have been really good fun to do, but then given what you did there, what do you feel is most important when you start a new writing project? Getting it right, or getting it written?
LL. Getting it written. Even if you go back and change everything. Writing it helps you know it--in particular, it helps you know your characters, and I've always said the characters need to do the writing for you. When I've written enough, I trust my characters enough to take over the reins, and they really take me places.
VP. Isn't it amazing how they can do that? I could talk about that for hours, but back to the core reason for asking you here, Lia, tell me what inspired you to start the Clean Indie Reads book blog?
LL. Once I became an indie author, I began reading indie books, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of story-telling I found. I wanted my friends who were skeptical of self-published books to see what was out there, but I wanted to be able to recommend the books without reservation. Since I know I'm not the only one who doesn't appreciate overly graphic images being implanted in my brain, I set out to highlight the awesome books that wouldn't have that drawback, hence the Flinch Free Fiction. I featured writers like Elise Stokes, Michelle Isenhoff and Alan Tucker, and it just grew from there.
VP. I think a lot of people I know feel the same way too. As a reviewer, then what do you think is important when writing an honest review?
LL. That's a two-parter. I need to speak to the needs of the potential reader to let them know if this book is a good read within its genre and for its target audience. It drives me nuts when reviewers rip apart a book that was clearly never intended for them in the first place. I also want to let the writer know what specifically made me enjoy the book. If an author writes a crapola book, and I don't even finish the book, then I don't write a review. I won't review anything that I haven't finished cover to cover.
VP. That's important isn't it? I know authors submit books to CIR to be presented on the blog with a 'weberview' but do publishers or distributors ever ask you to review books for them?
LL. Not yet. I would love that job! Do you know where I can apply?
VP. Aha, maybe you'll need to read some of the next weberviews here on the barge to get the answer to that one! One more question, Lia, in this digital age, do you mostly read paperbacks or e-books these days?
LL. I actually only recently broke down and bought a kindle because so many indie books were only available in e-book form. Right now, I mostly read e-books because they're cheaper. However, if I love an e-book, and it's available in paperback, I buy the paperback for my shelves. It's like a seal of honor when a book makes it to my shelves because it means it's a keeper to be treated with respect. Books are like gold in my house.
VP. Oh yes, I've started doing that too! And lastly, before we go out for a walk round the harbour, what do you do in your free time when you aren't writing and blogging?
LL. That's a trick question, isn't it? The writing and blogging is what fills my free time. It brings me great joy to keep my mind active and interact with the awesome people who come to my site and participate in Clean Indie Reads. But... the answer you probably want is that I practice Taekwondo and read (though never at the same time).
VP. Haha, I'd love to see that! Okay Lia, we'd best get off here before we're both seasick! It's a stormy day out there.
LL. Thanks Val. This was a great opportunity and I hope some of your readers will come and visit my blog. They can find the links to the blog and her FB pages here:
|When the rocking got too much|