Author Interview: L. Gourley

Author Interview: Indie Book Spotlight

Follow L. Gourley on Twitter!

1.      Paperback, hardback, audiobook?

I need to go paperback for this. I’ll tend to sit somewhere for hours in awkward positions reading, so paperbacks are less likely to dig into me and interrupt the reading session! 

2.      Pick a genre, any genre!

Unsurprisingly, I’m a fan of fantasy. I include most sub-genres in that, but I’m a particular fan of low/mid fantasy because I like seeing how worlds collide and finding fantasy “explanations” for everyday things in peoples’ lore. 

3.      What is the first book you remember reading?

When I was four or five, I read The Cat in the Hat by myself one night and I was so proud I went into school the next morning and told my teacher (after telling my mum, of course). She gave me a little box of books and I became absolutely obsessed with reading. 

4.      What book shaped your childhood most?

I’m going to skip this question because I dislike the answer now!

5.      When did you first start writing?

I guess in some capacity I’ve always enjoyed creative writing. I won “star writer” in school quite often, but I remember even as young as ten I’d sit and scribble what has since evolved into my first book, Incipience!

6.      What made you want to write? Does it still hold true?

That’s such an interesting question, and the honest answer is I don’t know. It’s always seemed like the counterpart to my love of reading; just the whole concept of creating and sharing of stories. As an adult, it’s become a very cathartic process that lets me channel different things into something creative. Maybe that’s what it’s always been and I was just too young to realise!

7.      What book/poem are you most proud of creating?

I’m really proud of finishing Incipience. I wrote it during a period of scarily poor mental health, heading into the start of the pandemic, and then had to self-publish completely unexpectedly with no experience. The poem at the very start also holds particular significance, as it was written as a promise to myself that I’d hold on to the belief the future would be better than the place I was in when it was written, and keep fighting for that future.

8.      Did you publish your first book or is it for your eyes only?

The very first concept of what eventually became my first book was written as a child and was very different so I guess in that respect it was for my eyes only. 

9.      How many books/collections have you published so far?

Just one! I released it in summer 2021 and am currently writing the sequel. 

10.   What genres do you write in (or hope to)?

Fantasy, with the hope to move into horror one day! I’d love to write a [supernatural] horror novel, or maybe work with someone to create a graphic novel in that genre. I think that would be really cool.

11.   Do you do research for your writing or is it all in your head?

Mostly in my head, but I’ll occasionally look something up if it infringes on something pre-existing or to get a better description/understanding of something. 

12.   To plan, or not to plan your plot?

Generally speaking, I don’t plan. I did try but it didn’t really work. I let things work out as they go, and sometimes I see things play out in my head if it’s a particularly important scene. This also means I don’t write in any kind of order so the whole thing is basically chaos. 

13.   What route of publishing have you chosen? Do you plan to stick with it?

Self-publishing is a lot of hard work but it gives so much creative control and I think that’s so important for people who are writing stories for themselves or to channel their own experiences or emotions. It means we don’t need to dilute or edit our work, or make it more palatable for traditional markets. It also keeps us in control of narratives relating to our identities which is essential for marginalised authors.

14.   If you could live inside another author’s universe, which one would you pick? (Ex: Middle Earth, Narnia, etc.)

Can I please move to the Shire and eat 2 breakfasts every morning and live in a hobbit hole?

15.   Do you currently have a WIP?

The sequel to Incipience is currently in progress. More information on that coming soon …

16.   Tell me about the character you’ve created who is dearest to your heart.

Amariel Beltura. My voice of reason and protector of my MC and her brother who are both sarcastic, moderately traumatised, and bordering on chaotic. He comes into the Robereuns’ life (William’s for a second time) and is what each of them need. A source of comfort and love for William, and a teacher and brother-figure for Kali. We all need an Amariel in our lives.

17.   What do you consider your *current* magnum opus?

I only have one book so far, so it defaults to that through sheer technicality. It’s my first book though, so as proud of it as I am, I think my magnum opus is still a bit in the future.

18.   Do you have a favourite romance in your books? Or, if yours features no romance, tell us about your favourite character friendship!

I love Kali and Anissa (Kanissa). Best friends initially, I really see them as perfect for each other as the series moves on (although the verdict is still out on if they’ll officially end up togther by the series end because Kali is stubborn and I’m a sucker for sapphic angst). I was also questioning my own sexuality as I started writing Incipience, so although William and Amariel are romantically involved, writing sapphic characters really helped me work through it all. It was a way of letting me process it from a distance (instead of obsessing over if I was “bi enough” to be “really bisexual” as I had been doing) and therefore actually means quite a lot to me on a personal level. 

19.   Do you listen to music as you write? Recommend a favourite writing song.

need music to write. I have specific playlists based on the tone I’m going for, the scene I am writing or character I’m channeling. I actually made character playlists for some of the main Incipience characters based on their personality, plot, and music I think they’d listen to. I listen to angsty metalcore which is perfect for channeling my angsty rage monster MC, Kali.

20.   Do you have any character art for your books, whether by you or another artist? (Be sure to credit/link if you can!)

None currently, but I’ve made little character cards based on their star signs which are currently live on the instagram page. 

21.   If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?

Absolutely everyone has opinions on writing, and on what makes a good writer. Don’t get yourself all twisted up in these so-called rules. Write what you feel, what you’d want to read, and then trust in a good editor to catch any glaring transgressions.

22.   Have you entered any writer contests? Tell us about your experience!

I’m really boring, I’ve not entered any yet. Sorry, that was a rubbish answer!

23.   Who are your top 5-10 favourite writers?

I feel like my mental health really disrupted my ability to concentrate outside of work and writing, and I’m just now finally starting to get back into reading; I fear my answers may be a little basic or limited as a result since I did the bulk of my reading years ago as a teenager. But I want to rave about Zin E. Rocklyn, who is a wonderful writer and who edited Incipience for me! I also like Aiden Thomas, Cassandra Clare, Anne Rice, and Neal Shusterman. 

24.   Link us your book/twitter/goodreads or wherever we can best connect with you!

I’m active mostly on Twitter and Instagram, as well as having an author profile on Goodreads.

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