Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Meet author L.C. Ireland

Leslie Colleen “L.C.” Ireland is an arts specialist in Ogden, UT. By day, she works as an arts advocate and teacher for public schools. By night, she writes children’s plays and fantasy novels. She loves playing Just Dance, Pokemon Go, and any Zelda game. Her novella Shatter the Sky appears in the Magic Rising boxed set of paranormal romances, published today. 

Connect with L.C. on:

On her website.

What does LC stand for and why did you decide to use that for your byline? I was named after two of my aunts, one on my mother’s side and one on my father’s side. One aunt is named Leslie, the other’s middle name is Colleen, thus my full name is Leslie Colleen. But I’ve always gone by “L.C.” My parents brought me home from the hospital calling me L.C.

You began your writing life as a playwright. What drew you to novels? I was that kid who dreamed about writing books before I could even read. One day I realized I was already writing and publishing my own plays, so why not books? So I sat down and made myself start writing.

You write and direct plays. Have you ever acted?  I did act in grade school and a little in high school. Unfortunately, I had an “undesirable” body type and found that getting roles was really difficult no matter how hard I worked or how well I sang or acted. I found a lot more success in directing. I started directing when I was 15 and knew that was what I wanted to do for a living.

How did your play Because of Darin (co-written with elementary school students) come about? I always thought I would teach junior high or middle school. But when a job came up across the country for an elementary school drama teacher, I thought I’d apply even though I wasn’t qualified. I was asked in the phone interview if I thought it would be possible to build a drama program from scratch with very young actors.

I said, yes - it sounded like fun! I was hired an hour later. Since then, I have built quite a great program (if I do say so myself), which incorporates many opportunities for creative writing. One year, I decided to work with a fourth-grade class to write their own play. We worked together and had a fantastic time. Since then, it’s become a tradition. This year I co-wrote and published six one-act plays in cooperation with six fourth-grade classes in my district. It is a ton of work, but some much fun.

These kids come up with the craziest ideas. Because of Darin (a play about everything going wrong) is one of the wildest plays I’ve co-written with my elementary-aged co-writers.

You have two book series. Are they open ended or do you intend to stop them at a certain point—a trilogy, a duology? The Collective series will likely be a trilogy. My Fatal series is more open-ended. It could have anywhere from one book to a dozen, depending on how the story unfolds.

Why fantasy? When I was a little girl, my mother would tell me and my sister a story every night about the epic adventures of “Princess L.C. and Princess CallyAnn.” She encouraged our creativity from a young age.  One of my favorite books was The Paperbag Princess.

 I found fantasy exciting and fresh. I was a little daydreamer with my head lost in the clouds, imagining I was a mermaid every time I went swimming, pretending I saw fairies out of the corner of my eye. When I was about 8 years old, my parents bought us a Nintendo 64 and the game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. I adored that game. I played it so many times the cartridge wore out. I loved the freedom to explore this fantasy world and spent much of my time wandering around the map, making up stories.

Who are your favorite fantasy writers?  Anne McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy is one of my favorites. Shannon Hale is another author whose works I have really enjoyed. I love Brandon Sanderson’s writing style, but his books tend to be a little darker than I care for. I am most certainly a fan of noblebright fantasy, the kind of stories where goodness triumphs in the end.

Tell me about your story in MAGIC RISING. In a nutshell, what’s it about? Shatter the Sky tells the story of an important event in the history of the world that many of my other books take place in. Edith is a human who was sold to a frightening man to be his bride. She dreams of escaping and travelling the world, but fears for her life if she tries and fails.

Vadahm is a fae who is the child of an affair. He grew up with his parents resenting everything he stood for and fled his home when his mother arranged to have him killed. These two broken lives collide and change the trajectory of their world as they fight for their love that not even the gods support.

How did you learn about the boxed set?  I worked with Kenya (the organizer) on a previous box set and enjoyed the experience.

How important is your newsletter in your marketing efforts? How did you “grow” it? My marketing efforts were horribly unsuccessful before I started a newsletter. Now my newsletter is my main marketing tool. I held off on starting a newsletter for a long while because I don’t enjoy receiving mass emails. But I decided to give it a try and found some success having a newsletter.  I enjoy having direct access to my readers without the filters of social media. And I really love when readers respond with questions or feedback. Feedback from readers makes my heart sing.

Do you read other authors’ newsletters? Who do you “follow?” I don’t usually. I tend to get easily overwhelmed by the constant influx of information. To preserve my sanity, I refrain from  signing up to newsletters, not even for local businesses I frequent.

How well do you balance work/life? Do you have a set routine for writing or do you grab writing time where you can? I’m a workaholic. If it weren’t for my husband cooking and feeding me, I wouldn’t eat most days. I tend to get hyper focused about work and sometimes need to be reminded that other things exist.

As for writing routine, that varies depending on the time of year. I get more writing done during the summer when I’m not teaching. During the school year, my energy is consumed by my creatively-demanding day job, as well as writing and editing up to ten plays a year. During the school year, I often feel like I’m teetering on the edge of burn-out. My husband keeps me sane.

As for writing goals, I try to write 500 words a day. Sometimes I far surpass that and sometimes I fall short. On average, I write about 10k words a month.

How easy is coming up with titles for you? Ugh! I hate this part. I’m always second-guessing myself. Fortunately, I have beta readers who are happy to weigh in and some writer friends who will help me narrow it down.

Do you listen to music while you work? Or do you need silence? I definitely need silence to write. Even the sound of the dishwasher can distract me. I will listen to music as a warm-up and just let my mind wander and daydream before I write, but when I’m actually writing, silence is best. If the music has lyrics, I won’t get anything written at all (except maybe a transcription of the lyrics).

What’s next? I have a new series launching in April that I am really excited about. This series is inspired by fairy tales and features strong female leads. The first book, Horrid, has already received rave reviews from advanced readers. I am so excited to launch it!

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