Monday, 23 March 2015

Featured Author - Natasha Lane

Natasha Lane is a born and raised Baltimorian.  Before she ever attempted writing, Natasha had a particular love for fantasy, romance and certain hybrid genres. Slowly, she began to dive into the therapy of writing. First, she wrote poems, then short stories and finally, her first novel at age 13.

Natasha has now published her first book, "A Meeting at the Grocery Store" and "Waiting for Mistletoe." She plans to explore more genres of literature and focus on continuing her work as a writer. She hopes her work will be as inspirational to her readers as her favorite authors were to her. I asked her a few questions and this is what she had to say: 

Why do you write?

Initially when I started writing my motivations were purely selfish. My childhood was very dysfunctional with many aspects of my life out of my control. Writing was a way to express all of my feelings; the feelings that no one else would listen to and that I had to hide because I needed to be strong. It was also a way to exercise control over something. I had complete domain over the plot and the characters. In this way, writing was therapeutic.

Now, my motivations have changed. Of course, I still write to express myself and allow my ideas to come to life, but I desire more than that. I want my writing to inspire people the way the authors I read inspired me. I want to give people hope, joy and epiphanies through my writing.

Which writers inspire you?

I think I’ll list the authors and the books I read by them. The list isn’t ranked.

First, is Marc Brown, writer and illustrator of the Arthur book series. I loved the books and the tv shows. Arthur and Mr. Brown really helped me develop my morals and most importantly they taught me that glasses could be cool. :-)

Second, Carolyn Mackler, author of The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things. This is one of my favorite YA novels. Thanks to Ms. Mackler I learned to love myself, not so much for how I physically looked, but simply because of who I was. I admired the main character and wanted to emulate her strength. Ms, Mackler also wrote Vegan, Virgin, Valentine. Both come highly recommended.

Third, The Giver by Lois Lowry. One of my favorite reads ever! Never be afraid to question social constructs or authority. You’ll be surprised what truths you’ll find.

George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm. Do I really have to say it? Both these books were fabulous, providing a darker and arguably more realistic side to literature. Always consider the natural tendencies of your community. Do humans naturally lean towards good or evil? And who is really in control of your life?

Finally, I have to say Lariss Ione, author of the Demonica Series. I didn’t finish the whole series (it’s on my to-do list), but if you want some hot romance look no further! I don’t know if you would label it romance, erotic or both, but either way this series kept my attention. Judge away, if you wish :-)

Extra: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

What is your favorite book and why?

Now we all know there is no such thing as a favorite book. It’s more like a wall of my favorite books…or a cave.

What do you think is the easiest thing about writing? What is the most difficult?

Imagining is the easiest. I could day dream up characters and plots all day. The difficulty arises when you try to match the right characters with the right plot. Writing becomes even more difficult with character development (caused by some new change in the plot or another character). I always wonder if my writing is obvious enough for the reader to catch, but subtle enough that I’m still showing instead of telling.

From books that have already been published by other authors, which book do you wish you had written? 

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis. I read two of the chronicles and plan to read the others. I admire this series because the book is very symbolic, meaningful and just a great read for fantasy lovers.

How do you market your books? 

Usually, through Facebook, Goodreads, review requests, pre-sale blitz and giveaways. People love giveaways and I don’t blame them. Who doesn’t love free stuff? I plan to start doing more book trailers to give something to those who are a little more visual.

Any new release? If yes, what is it about?

Currently, I am working on a science fiction short story that I hope to get published in a journal or magazine. The story is titled, Plugged In, and transports the reader to a futuristic world where the society has been divided into a corrupt social hierarchy.

The next novel I’m working on is the sequel to my first book, A Meeting at the Grocery Store. Unlike the first novel, the sequel won’t focus on Jaheim and Natalie. It will look at the side character, Ted and his love life post-heart break. I expect to have this novel written by the fall.

However, if you’re looking for something by me to get now, than my most recent work is A Cookie for Two. It’s included in the Valentine’s In Love anthology as a short story. A Cookie for Two is a sweet romance about two people who aren’t trying to fall in love, but find themselves tangled up in it together. I’ll include the blurb below.

Book blurb

Daniella’s sitting alone in a Korean restaurant after being stood up twice in two weeks. She’s irritated, confused, angry and cold because as a California girl she still hasn’t adjusted to the Michigan climate. She’s surrounded by snow, but is dreaming of warm weather and her family when someone places a steaming bowl of soup in front of her…

Book excerpt 

I walked towards Mathew’s restaurant with a scarf wrapped snuggly around my face. It wasn’t snowing, but because it was late there was a distinct chill in the air. Still, for the first time since moving to Traverse City, I felt warm. Mitch may have turned out to be a jerk, but thanks to him I found a friend in Mathew.
My first friend in Michigan.
I looked up to see Mathew waving at me from the front of his parent’s restaurant. I smiled and waved back. He leaned against the door, so I tucked my scarf in and ran towards him.
“You didn’t have to run,” he said
I panted and smiled at the same time. “I didn’t want to keep you waiting.”
He chuckled, “I wouldn’t mind.”
Then, he smiled down at me and I could feel the color rise to my cheeks. Mathew was different meaning different than California boys. First off he was as pale as the snow and his hair was dark like coal.
 I wonder if it has ever been touched by the sun.
He was tall with broad shoulders and a broad chest that smoothed down to a narrow waist. His face was very structured with clear lines of where everything was supposed to be, as if he had been pieced together in a doll shop. And then his eyes…shaped like diamonds with two small pearls of onyx in them…watching me watching him.
I didn’t want to make things awkward, but awkward was kind of my middle name and so I kept staring at him, until he looked away.
He smiled, “Next time, don’t run, okay? I’ll wait for you.”

Additional info

Book Links:
A Meeting at the Grocery Store:
Waiting for Mistletoe:
Valentine’s In Love:
A Cookie for Two:

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