I come from Adelaide, the capital city of the state of South Australia in Australia. It’s a beautiful city, with a gorgeous coastline. It’s quiet living here, and it’s a small city, much smaller than Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
I love the coastline most, I think. It’s miles and miles of blue sea and clean white sand, there’s two beaches down the south end that are nothing but rock, but the rest of the coast is gorgeous.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a vet! Then I wanted to be a racehorse jockey. Alas, I grew too tall for the latter and didn’t have a grasp of science for the former. For a while in high school, I entertained the idea of working in the music industry, owning a record company, but I had a better grasp of writing about bands in fanzines than I did in things like accounting, hard maths and the like!
Tell us about your latest book.
“No Quarter” is the first in a series called “The Archangel Chronicles.” It is the beginning of the story of the love between Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Their romance is slow to develop and there are obstacles in the way, such as demons, fallen angels and a man who is hell-bent on instituting a New World Order and enslaving humanity while banishing angels to damnation in Hell.
Basically, it’s a love story during a battle between good and evil.
Do you have anything new in the works and can you tell us a bit about it?
The sequel, “No Surrender, No Retreat,” is out on July 25th. It picks up seventy years after the end of “No Quarter,” and Michael and Gabriel are still together, working through their relationship as well as doing their duties.
“No Shadows Fall” is the last of the series out this year; I have book four planned out, and I’ll begin writing that in November. I really love these characters and I see a few more books featuring them and their stories being written.
I’m also working on a long novella length whodunit, set in 1920, in my city of Adelaide, a novel called “Deliverance” which is about an organization that rescues people from dire situations and locations. And finally, I’m working on “City of Jade,” sequel to “City of Gold,” which is set on the Silk Road from Constantinople in Byzantium to Hangzhou in China.
Coming soon is a novella length story for the Less Than Three Press Rockstar anthology, which is a romance between two young men in a punk rock band in Australia, set in the mid-1980s.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging about writing?
Titles! I honestly find titles the hardest thing to come up with. Sometimes, such as with my short story, “City of Gold,” and the sequel I’m working on (very slowly), “City of Jade”, the titles are easy, but nine times out of ten, they’re like pulling teeth for me! It was my good friend and fellow author, Meredith Shayne who actually came up with the title of “No Quarter.” That novel went through nearly two dozen title changes while I was writing it, until she suggested that, and it fit perfectly, because Gabriel, who’s point of view the books are from, gives no quarter in war and no quarter in love.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
Oh yes. It depends how intense the block is. I’ll go and work on something completely different and come back to what I’m blocked on later, with a refreshed mind. Or, I’ll go and stand in my bathroom.
Why the bathroom, you ask? Well, I’ve nicknamed it the Room of Wisdom, aka RoW, because no matter when I’m in there or what I’m doing (brushing my teeth, washing my hair, you name it!), I always have a blast of inspiration. I don’t know why. It’s a mystery.
How did you deal with rejection letters?
I save them. Rejection letters are just as important as acceptance letters in that they’re an acknowledgement that yes, someone read your manuscript and took the time to tell you about it. I don’t take them personally at all – they aren’t supposed to be taken that way.
What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?
1. A beta reader to go over your work before you submit. A second pair of eyes to go through your manuscript is invaluable, as are the suggestions and critique. Even if you don’t agree with it or don’t follow the suggestions, it’s still invaluable to have a beta, if nothing else, to pick up errors that your own eyes may have glossed over.
2. A thick skin – because you need one when those bad reviews come in. And they *will* come in. Everyone gets bad reviews, whether they’re J. K. Rowling or Stephen King or Ray Bradbury (Rest in peace). Ignoring them is sometimes easier said than done, but having a thick skin is essential to that.
3. A Dropbox.net account or similar – on the off chance your computer decides that it’s lost the will to live, or it gets stolen (I hope this doesn’t happen to you or me or anyone, but anything is, sadly, possible). Dropbox is a great way to back up your files so they’re accessible from anywhere. It’s certainly been a godsend for me on more than one occasion, when I’ve had my computer wave the white flag of surrender and decide to go to Silicon Heaven!
Where do you as an author draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
My only no-no’s as far as these things go are scat, necrophilia, bestiality, and golden showers. If I don’t like it, I won’t read it. But those are a big nope, you can’t make me, I won’t read or write that, nuh-uh.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?
Oh wow. Hahaha, what a great question. I guess it’s more a case of what I’ve researched, rather than what I’ve done. I’d love to be able to travel along the route of the Silk Road, for example, but that’s just not possible, considering finances and the fact that a good portion of it is in warzones.
So, let’s see. I’ve researched Soviet era sniper rifles, Mongolian male names, how to write ‘water dragon’ and ‘land turtle’ in pinyin (Latin alphabet of Mandarin Chinese), the history of Adelaide and Chinese immigration here in the 1920s, the astonishing amount of strange and unsolved murders in Adelaide also in the 1920s. Adelaide has the moniker of City of Churches and Bizarre Murders, which I always thought was a recent thing, from the 1970s. But research has showed me that no, that’s not the case, and it’s always been that way, since first settlement. Adelaide was a free colony, and, apparently, that meant to some people they were free to do whatever they liked.
I’ve also had the frustrating and fascinating job of researching the route of the Silk Road, overland, in the mid-twelfth century A.D. This was made much easier thanks to an amazing gentleman who made a Google Earth overlay with *all* the known routes of the Silk Road and the dates, places, and history. It’s a truly remarkable resource and has been invaluable to me.
Finally, the weirdest thing I’ve researched is the history of the Pie Floater, which some of my friends here in Adelaide are trying to convince me to eat. A Pie Floater is a meat pie, perhaps four inches in diameter, in a bowl then surrounded with thick, green pea soup, with a dollop of tomato sauce (similar to ketchup) on it. I think this is revolting, but I keep being told I don’t know what I’m missing. Clearly, the early residents of Adelaide thought the same thing, because I found an article from the early twentieth century calling Adelaide the “City of Pies” and declaring the wonders of the Pie Floater. They can keep it! LOL! I’ll take the pie and the sauce, but not the green pea soup!
Don’t forget to give us links to your website etc.
My twitter: http://www.twitter.com/brbsiberia
My website: http://www.ljlabarthe.com
I’ll also give away a pdf copy of the novel, “No Quarter” to one commenter. Readers worldwide are welcome to leave their email in comments for a chance to win.
“No Quarter” Blurb:
Book 1 of the Archangel Chronicles
You would never know it from his flamboyant lifestyle, but Gabriel’s not just the cheerful, fun-loving adoptive father of a pair of indulged young adult humans. He’s an Archangel, commander of Heaven’s legions of Seraphim, and despite his apparently easy virtue, he’s harboring a serious crush on his superior officer, Michael.
For years Michael has devoted himself to developing a team of humans, the Venatores, to aid in the fight against Hell. He’s been pining after Gabriel for centuries without hope, believing himself to be too serious to attract the other Archangel’s interest. He’s happy to discover that he’s wrong, but their burgeoning relationship is stymied by a major problem: an egomaniacal human is recruiting demons and fallen angels in a bid to take over the world. It’s up to Michael and Gabriel, and the rest of the Brotherhood of Archangels, to beat back the forces of Hell before the Earth is overrun.
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
“No Surrender, No Retreat” Blurb:
Book 2 of the Archangel Chronicles.
Seventy years after it began, the war between angels and demons is over. Archangels Gabriel and Michael reunite at last, but a dangerous new challenge stands in the way of their happiness: someone is kidnapping angels and selling them as trophies on the black market. When Raphael, Archangel of Healing, goes missing, his tearful lover joins with the Brotherhood of Archangels and their lieutenants to rescue him.
Without Raphael’s healing touch, disease spreads quickly through the world’s human populations. The situation only worsens when the angel Agrat is kidnapped: the number of sex crimes begins to rise and her husband, Gabriel’s lieutenant, loses himself to his grief. As they mount a rescue mission, Gabriel and Michael’s relationship will be put to the test. With the threat of the world dying around them and tragedy looming overhead, can Gabriel and Michael keep love and hope alive?
Release date: 25th July 2012.
Watch this space for details: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=116
My other titles can be found here: http://misslj-author.livejournal.com/16737.html