#WriterWednesday- Interview with L.V. Lewis!

Today I introduce you to my good friend, L.V. Lewis. No doubt many of you may have heard of her best selling parody, 50 Shades of Jungle Fever, now get to know the author!

Welcome, L.V.!

What inspired you to write?

My inspiration to write comes from a love I developed of the written word which began when I was in elementary school. I became a voracious reader at a very early age and would lose myself in the worlds built by authors I admired at the time. Since then, I’ve read thousands of books by various authors. When self-publishing became a possibility, I was buoyed by the success stories I kept hearing  about other authors. And once I read some indie books, I became convinced I could write something similar if not better in some cases.

What genre do you write? Did you choose it, or did it choose you?

My current genre is erotic romance, although I’m lumped right in there under erotica most of the time, so I just claim that, too, even though there is a distinct difference between the two. And it definitely chose me, because until E.L. James did her thing I had no desire to write erotica.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Because I have a full time job, my writing schedule is insane. I would love nothing better than to write full time, however, working sometimes sixty hours a week doesn’t lend itself to a good writing schedule. Basically, I steal time to write around all the other hats I wear as career woman, wife, mother, and mentor to teenage girls. I used to write better in the wee hours of the morning after the house was quiet, but as I get older, I can’t seem to pull the all-nighters anymore, so now I write in the evenings, usually after dinner and exercise is done.  Sometimes I go until bedtime and other times not. Then during the day, I sneak moments when I’m on break at work, if I hear a scene in my head.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I have to be in the male character’s head to write the best sex scenes. I really don’t know what that is, but I find myself thinking what the guy is thinking and building the scene first from his point of view.

Are you a pantser or plotter?

I’m unapologetically a pantser. I can’t write from a rigid outline to save my life. However, I do have a loose outline that I try to follow, but if often doesn’t turn out the way I’ve written it. Maybe this is one of the reasons I suffer from writer’s block so much.

Are your stories based on experiences based on someone you know, or are events in your own life reflected in the characters/stories you write? Can you share an example?

Actually Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever is very loosely based on Fifty Shades of Grey, so not so much in that story is it based on any events I or anyone I know has experienced. However, I will say that Keisha’s mother, Clara Lee Beale, sounds like the actress Jenifer Lewis in my head. Also, myself and many college-educated African American women may have experienced life such as Keisha knows it. Unless we’re born with silver spoons in our mouths, the majority of women come from middle-class working families like Keisha’s, and have had some of the same experiences she’s seen in life. Many of my readers have written me to say how they either have known someone like Keisha or she resonates with them personally.

Do you have any suggestions to help new authors become a better writer? If so, what are they?

My advice to new authors would be to study craft, study craft, study craft. Then hire the best damn editor you can afford, and have a professional graphic artist make you a kick-ass cover.  I read too many indie books that are riddled with grammatical errors, and that also break every cardinal rule of fiction writing. One in particular I just read was raved about by my friends, but then when I read it, I found it sorely lacking. The plot was quite convoluted and the story extremely melodramatic. The characters in many instances did things that were completely out of character. The point of view from which the story was told was far from clean and the characters did a lot of “head-hopping.” Often times I wasn’t sure whose thoughts or dialogue I was reading. A good book shouldn’t leave you confused or going “why is this happening?” This book needed a professional editor who could edit it for both content and structure. The story really had good bones, but was not executed well.

I follow my own advice and know that I’ve not yet “arrived.” So, I do craft exercises and study whenever I can because I don’t know everything about the craft of fiction writing yet. However, as I’ve often heard said, I know just enough to be dangerous, and the more I learn about craft makes me a book critic of the highest order. Because I am a published author,  when I read now, I’m always picking the book apart, because I either want to learn from a book that is done well, or want to remember what not to do when it isn’t done well.

MJ: Great advice, all the way around!

Are you self-pubbed, indie pubbed, or traditionally pubbed?

I am self-pubbed, proud, and wearing the tee shirt, flying my freak flag high, and all that jazz! I love having the creative control over my book as a self-publisher. I’m not saying I wouldn’t consider traditionally publishing if the opportunity presented itself. When that happens, I hope I’m in a place to negotiate a really stellar deal for myself, because I’m not sure there is a traditional publisher who can guarantee me a 70% royalty rate on my e-books.

What are your current projects?

I’m THIS close to finishing Exit Strategy and my cover reveal for it is right around the corner, then a few weeks after the cover reveal I’m hoping to have it debut. I’m also working on a kinky novella series with a group of writer friends that we hope to publish in time to hit around or before the Christmas holidays. I also have three other works-in-progress that I put on hold to finish Exit Strategy, that I hope to pick up again soon. I’d like to work on the 3rd book in the Ghetto Girl Quadrilogy in tandem with these works if at all possible, but that will depend on my work schedule and a lot of other variables. My other three works-in-progress are not erotic romance or erotica, they’re more contemporary romance and women’s lit.

50SoJF - The Block

Keisha Beale is a quarter of a million dollars away from realizing her dream of opening her own recording studio. A botched attempt at securing the funding required from venture capitalist Tristan White leaves her without many options… until Tristan White makes an indecent proposal. As Keisha navigates the treacherous environment of the billionaire’s secret kinky lifestyle, she discovers surprising things about herself and unleashes demons from her past she thought were long resolved.

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About the Author: 

L. V. Lewis is a married mother of four who lives in South Georgia, and works in the Florida Panhandle. A new author who decided that stories like Fifty Shades of Grey needed a little more diversity and comedy in them, she penned Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever as a parodied response to those wildly popular books from a woman of color.

A voracious readers since kidnergarten, L. V. loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine. She and her husband are political junkies, a hobby that is time consuming, but free. Now that Lewis has young adults who think they don’t need their parents anymore, she has taken up the time-draining career of writing. However, she is happy to report that, for once, her extra-curricular activity costs far less than her husband’s. Her love for writing is only eclipsed by her love for her family.

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