Sunday, 30 August 2015

Author Interview: Lindsay J. Pryor

I love doing author interviews, they always give a wonderful insight into the ways of the writer. Today's interview is from a very talented author, who is always so lovely and friendly on social media.I am very pleased to have been given the chance to have a natter with Lindsay J. Pryor.
Hi Lindsay, thank you so much for agreeing to an interview, I am so excited to have you on my blog.

It’s mutual, Daniel – thanks so much for inviting me. I haven’t done an interview for ages! I’ve even made myself a coffee. 

So tell me a little bit about yourself, where are you from and what do you write?

I’ve been writing for over thirty years and became published three years ago. I’m an ex-special needs teacher and now a full-time author. I’m Welsh but live in the south west of England sharing a quiet life with my husband, who has been manacled to me for seventeen years, our rescue house rabbit and a plethora of woodland creatures. I’m big on wildlife and animal welfare, have an aversion to bright lights, loud noises and crowds, and am intolerant of cruelty. I’m also one of those rare species – a British paranormal romance author, though I don’t solely write in this genre. 

I love fantasy and paranormal romance novels. What is about these genres that you love writing so much?

For me, reading and writing are all about escapism and there’s no better escapism than within the speculative fiction genre. As a writer, it’s extremely challenging. You have to create an entire world and its mythology, including an internal structure of rules that ensures the world makes sense and, most importantly, is believable and that readers want to live in. I love that PNR pushes my creativity and imagination, and the freedom it subsequently brings – especially as there’s no right or wrong. I also think speculative fiction is an incredible means to explore the human condition looking from the outside in. That’s certainly one of the aspects of Blackthorn that a lot of readers have picked up on.
Writing within this genre was never a conscious choice. Because I’ve always written for the pleasure and it was a long time before I ever considered pursuing publication, I’ve always been carried by a story rather than trends or the expectations of others. You can have a lot of fun that way. 

So what can you tell me about your Blackthorn series? According to your website there will be 8 books in total. That is so exciting.

There are 8 books in the series, as you said. An overarching plot runs through them all. The story is dystopian and Gothic in premise. It’s about the third species (vampires, lycans, angels etc but with a unique twist on their mythology) forced to live in urban decay and impoverished conditions whilst being ruled with an iron fist by an oppressive and stratified human-led society.
The series focuses on the forbidden romances between four couples (who are introduced in turn in each of the first four books) and how, by their paths crossing, they set about bringing down the prejudiced system that confines them. It’s gritty and dark and is explicit in terms of sex scenes and violence so it sits within the adult PNR genre. I’ve certainly got into my fair share of trouble with some readers because my anti-heroes bend the rules of what you should and shouldn’t be allowed to get away with in paranormal romance. Oops!

Where do you find your inspiration?

Anywhere and everywhere. I’ve always got a notebook with me in case I read something, hear a song, see something in a film, overhear a conversation etc.
In the case of Blackthorn, it was inspired back in 1996 when I’d moved 300 miles away to a city where I began my teaching career. I got lost on my way home one night and ended up wandering the streets alone in the dark until I took a wrong turn into a run-down part of the city. With no one waiting for me at home (and no mobile phones back then), I was absolutely terrified. To distract myself, I plotted stories about social divide. I’d loved The Little Vampire on TV as a child and had seen The Lost Boys film so I came up with the idea of a world where the social and political divide was between humans and non-humans. As soon as I got back home a few hours later, I started developing the concept. I wrote some short stories to become familiar with the world and, within a few weeks, Blackthorn was underway. 

What can you tell me about your typical writing day and what your process is?

It depends what stage of the writing process I’m at as this affects things greatly. Typically though, my days are spent in complete silence at my computer aside from periodic wandering to stretch my legs and mull between scenes. I usually start the day with an hour spent over coffee as I go over notes. I’ll write or edit throughout the day for anything up to ten hours, trying to remember to fit in lunch as I tend to get absorbed very easily! I break it up with jumping on and off social media but, as a rule, I try to keep that restricted to an hour after I’ve finished writing, which includes replying to reader emails. I’ll always end the day with notes of what I want to work on the next day – and it all starts again. Most of my blogs and FB posts etc are posted of an evening. 

Can you tell me about your journey to publication with Bookouture? How did that all happen?

I certainly never dreamed of seeing the day a publisher would approach me rather than the other way around. Sorry, the journey isn’t a quick one! 

Blackthorn was a writing project I built up over several years in between focusing on books I thought might get published one day (my supernatural and psychological thrillers). Back in 2007, I lost my dad to a rare form of blood cancer and one of the last things he told me was to make the most of life and to do what I really wanted with it. As a way of handling my grief, I grabbed Blackthorn out of my bottom drawer and decided to put more time into it with the focus of trying to get it published one day. 
However, as soon as I started to look around for potential publishers, I discovered the market was saturated with PNRs – mostly dominated by big, well-established names. Doors were closing everywhere to any more mention of vampires (strangely you rarely see “we are closed to stories about humans due to oversaturation in the market”). Those that were open to the genre had very specific guidelines and Blackthorn didn’t fit into any of them – certainly not with what I wanted to do with the series. Worse, were word count restrictions. My books vary between 120-140k which is quite lengthy, especially for an unproven debut author (let alone a debut series that spans a million words by the end). I resolved rejection was inevitable so I didn’t even try to get it published, deciding instead that it would continue to be a labour of love. 

I’ve subscribed to Writing magazine for years and, back in October 2010, Mills and Boon’s New Voices competition appeared on the front page calling for authors to submit the first chapter of their book for editors and readers to judge online. I wasn’t convinced it was the right outlet, especially as I checked Nocturne’s (Harlequin’s only PNR line) guidelines and Blackthorn didn’t fit. More so, as Blackthorn was my first real stab at romance I didn’t even know if I had a voice for it. At this point, I’d never shared Blackthorn with anyone so the prospect of putting it up online for all to see was terrifying. However, one of the runner-up prizes was for editorial feedback and, as any aspiring author knows, that’s gold dust. Preparing for either humiliation or annihilation, I entered in the last five minutes before the deadline. 

The comments started to come through and readers liked it. In a nutshell, Blood Roses was voted into the final by readers and editors – the only PNR to do so. Whilst waiting to see if Nocturne would want to pick it up, I entered again in 2011 with another book from the series. Again, Blackthorn made it through to the final with Blood Shadows – not only the only PNR to do it again but I was the only author to make it into the final twice. Eighteen months later, Nocturne came back rejecting Blood Roses as not being right for their list. They didn’t want to look at Blood Shadows. I was crushed. Blackthorn nearly went back in my bottom drawer but with encouragement from readers who had followed me from the competition, I decided to polish both books and sub elsewhere. 

Not long after I announced online that I was embarking on pursing publication, Oliver Rhodes made contact. He told me he was setting up Bookouture and asked if I would consider subbing to him. In a twist of fate worthy of Blackthorn, the New Voices competition had actually been his brainchild – and that was how he had discovered me. Within a couple of weeks, I was asked to be Bookouture’s launch author. The fifth book in the series will be out next month.

It was a leap of faith on both our parts. Oliver was launching his baby with an unknown PNR author (and a tough genre to crack in a US dominated market) and I was putting over sixteen years worth of hard work, as well as all my debut hopes and dreams, in the hands of just one other person. I have no regrets. 

I’ve heard that your publishers are absolute slave drivers (JOKE!! Hehe!!) What is it like to work with the team at Bookouture?

It’s all true! It’s awful, Daniel – believe the rumours! But seriously, they’re fantastic to work with. I’ll admit, it was hard work at the beginning in terms of getting Blackthorn off the ground with an unknown publisher – but it was also a massive amount of fun thanks to Oliver. He’s always been a dream to work with and, of course, I was spoilt rotten having a publisher all to myself! More importantly than anything, Oliver was an exceptional advocate for Blackthorn and got it into the hands of readers and reviewers with an amazing response – and he’s not stopped wanting the best for it since. 

I’ve been with them almost three years now and a heck of a lot has changed in that time. Bookouture has grown in terms of both the team itself and its ever-growing list of authors. They are really out there now with a fantastic reputation, which is just thrilling to see. Yes, they do have high standards and I love that about them more than anything else. From talking to other authors and my own experience with Bookouture, I haven’t yet come across another publisher that cares more about its authors and their books. 

What do your family and loved ones think of your success?

My mum’s incredibly proud. It’s not so much about the success – she’s just chuffed to see me fulfilling my life-long ambition of being able to put as much time as possible into my writing. After she had to endure my entire teenage years and into my early twenties hearing me tapping away on my electric typewriter above the family dining room, maybe it’s just relief! My sister has learning difficulties and autism but remains determined to read my books. Her summary so far is: “They have a lot of swearing in them”. Of course, my dad never saw me become published but as a self-made man who worked hard all of his life, I think he would have been proud that I took that brave step and pursued my dreams. 

My husband, well, he just brims with pride. He’s been with me through the whole of the creation of Blackthorn. He knows what it means to me and he just wants to see me happy and enjoying it. He’s my rock through every Blackthorn book and gives me tireless support in the background. He’s the real hero of Blackthorn. 

So what’s next for Lindsay J. Pryor?

I have three more Blackthorn books to write (I can’t even bear to think of it finishing at the moment). Then I’ll either be returning to one of the supernatural thrillers I was working on before Blackthorn was published, or stepping out of ‘the realm’ for a while to work on one of my psychological thrillers, or I’ll be developing another speculative fiction series I have notes on. I think it’s going to be a terrifying time when Blackthorn finishes but, hopefully, very exciting too.

The Fun Stuff:

What is your favourite TV show right now?

The Walking Dead. I had it recommended to me by a lot of my readers, but I’ve never been into the whole zombie remit so was a bit dismissive (I know, I’m ashamed of myself). I’m also highly-squeamish and shy away from violence; I recoil at the sight of blood let alone any kind of mulchy gore. But at the end of last year, I decided to give it a go. I am SO glad I did. TWD must be one the THE best TV series ever. The writing is exquisite – enviably brilliant. The characters are beyond superb. The deeper you get, the more you care. It’s the one TV show I watch in absolute silence from beginning to end. It’s simply addictive. 

Which Salvatore Brother do you prefer Damon or Stephan? I’m A Damon lover myself.

Oh, Daniel, I’m so with you! Damon every time! I love an anti-hero – in and outside of romance. They make for such brilliant characters. I think it’s the unpredictability of not knowing if they’ll do the right or wrong thing. Though I must admit, I have had moments of swinging towards Team Stefan when he’s brought out his darker side. 

Who is your ultimate celebrity crush?

I’m rubbish at crushing. I certainly don’t have a celebrity crush. I’m more likely to fall for a character. For a long time it was Mitchell from Being Human UK (played by Irish actor, Aidan Turner) – the ultimate tortured hero with that lashing of unpredictability but a good heart beneath it. Now I have a weakness for Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead. I don’t think a more perfect hero has ever been created. At first I didn’t get why a lot of my readers were Daryl-crushing then, by the end of season two, I’d finally got it. Oh, this is excluding the whole squirrel issue. TWD fans will know what I mean by that. 

Who are your favourite authors?

I usually get asked who my favourite PNR authors are and it’s always really embarrassing when I have to admit I don’t read PNR very much. It’s because I can’t get into other PNR books when I’m writing my own, though I do now have a teetering pile of recommended reads for when Blackthorn finishes. I’m a big thriller and horror reader. James Herbert, Stephen King and James Patterson appear on my shelves the most. I also adore Anne Rice and I’ve got a thing for Chuck Palahniuk too. I’m a magnet for supernatural thrillers so was delighted when Bookouture signed Caroline Mitchell and introduced the genre onto their list.

Which book from another author do you wish you had written?

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. That woman was a genius and way beyond her years and her time. What she created at the age of 19 (21 when it was published) that now echoes so many issues that we face today is just incredible. I’m in awe of her. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Lindsay. You are wonderful.

It was completely my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me, Daniel. Sorry I forgot to bring biscuits…

You can pre-order the latest in the Blackthorn series 'Blood Dark' from the following links:

About Lindsay:

Lindsay J. Pryor writes dark, intense, multi-layered Gothic dark paranormal romance set in the dystopian world of Blackthorn.
Discovered after being a twice-finalist in an international romance writing competiton, Lindsay’s Blackthorn really captured the imagination of her publisher as a fantastically vivid and complex world, one which readers will utterly lose themselves in. She paints this multi-layered world effortlessly, and uses it as the setting for intense forbidden romances.
With six-figure sales, Blackthorn regularly tops Amazon’s U.S. and U.K Gothic romance charts. Books from her series have also reached number 1 in four sub-genres of paranormal romance, as well as being a number 1 ‘Most Wished For’ paranormal romance on Amazon UK. She has been a Top 50 bestseller (#47) in’s main kindle charts and has skirted the Top 100 on Amazon UK. The first three Blackthorn books have since become available on audio via Tantor Media.
Lindsay has been creating stories since she was nine years old, when she quickly decided that fantasy was more interesting than reality. She thought she’d grow out of it but, more than thirty years later, writing remains her passion.
Lindsay holds an honours science degree in Psychology and Communication, is a qualified Psychology lecturer and English teacher. She taught for eighteen years, primarily to improve literacy for children with special needs, before becoming a full-time author. She’s intrigued by mythology, likes to relax watching films and her favourite box sets, and is a keen supporter of animal welfare. Lindsay was born and grew up in South Wales but now lives in the South West of England with her husband of seventeen years, their rescue bunny, and a plethora of wild woodland creatures.

You can find out more about Lindsay and her books via the following links: