Q. Tell us about yourself as a person.
I’ve been married for almost 25 years and am the mom of two nearly grown daughters. We live in Kansas, home of Dorothy and wheat. Long before I moved to Kansas, I fell in love with The Wizard of Oz, so it’s kind of fitting I ended up here. I love reading, baking, crafting, Doctor Who (10 is the best Doctor, and I will fight you on this) and baseball. I’m a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan but have adopted the Kansas City Royals as my second team. One of the best moments of my life was getting to go to the first game of the 2014 World Series with my dad. I’m active in my church and head up a ministry that packs weekend food bags for high school kids who need it.
Q. How did you get into writing?
I don’t really know when I started writing. From the time I could form words with a pencil, I would write little stories. When I went to college, I majored in journalism but in my journalism career, I really did more editing than writing. When my kids were little, I wrote a daily devotional type blog and a couple of short books along the same lines but never really got serious about being an author. We sent our oldest daughter off to college last fall, and I decided that if I was ever going to write a novel that was the time, so for 2019, I set two goals — run a 5K and finish a novel. I ran that 5K and finished the first draft of my novel in the same week last November.
Q. What do you write?
I write Young Adult Dystopian. It’s one of my favorite genres to read so when I sat down to write a novel, it was a natural place to start.
Q. Who are some of your favorite well-known authors?
Hmm. I have a bunch. Like a lot of YA authors, J.K. Rowling is one of my favorites. I’m also a big fan of C.S. Lewis — both his fiction and non-fiction. Suzanne Collins, Joelle Charbonneau, and Neal Shusterman rank high on my list for YA Dystopian. L.M. Montgomery, who wrote Anne of Green Gables, is one of my all-time favorites. And I’ve recently become a fan of Winston Graham who wrote the Poldark novels. He creates amazing three-dimensional characters who are likeable despite their flaws.
Q. Any indie authors you especially like?
I just started reading a book by Kate Myers that I’m really enjoying. A.G. Riddle’s books are great — although I’m not sure he’s a true indie. I also enjoy Mark Dawson’s books.
Q. Traditional publishing vs self-publishing: which do you think is better?
I think they each serve their purpose. Traditional publishing is great for books with a wide audience and that hit the current trends. It’s also good for authors who don’t want to have to deal with the business side of things. Indie publishing is fantastic for those publishing in a niche or who want to control all the decisions themselves. I chose indie because I wanted to hold onto creative control of my books and it’s a much shorter timeline from finishing writing to publication.
Q. Where do you get your ideas from?
The idea for my latest book actually came from my daughter asking a random question one day. She asked, “What do you think people in the future would think if all they found from us was a random photo?” My brain spun that question into a 400-page novel.
Ideas can come from anywhere. Something someone says, issues in the world, life experiences. I don’t generally sit down and think “I need an idea.” Mostly things I don’t even know I’m thinking about percolate in the back of my brain until one day an idea pushes it’s way to the front and says, “That’s a brilliant idea for a book!’
Q. What helps you write? Music, doodling, etc? What about tools like Word, dictionaries, etc?
I’m not a music person when I write. I find it distracting. I have an office in my house where I look out on my backyard. I pretty much plop myself in my chair and write. If I get stuck, I’ll pull out old-fashioned paper and pen and try to create an outline of where I am and where I want to go. I find the act of scribbling my thoughts on paper usually breaks loose whatever has me stuck. I start all my books with a brief outline written in a notebook before I move to writing on a computer.
I love Scrivener as a writing tool but other than that, I don’t use much else. I might Google something if I’m trying to figure out the science behind a technology I want to use in my book, but usually it’s just me and the words.
Q. Do you follow traditional guidelines when it comes to writing, or is there anything in particular you do different?
I’m not sure I even know what traditional guidelines are. 😂 I try to stick within the normal conventions of the English language unless there’s a good reason for breaking them. I’ve been a copy editor for more than 20 years so breaking grammar rules is hard for me.
As far as story goes, I like the Save the Cat method for creating story beats. I try to hit the tropes of the genre but still keep readers guessing what’s going to happen next. I think the trick is to make the story format familiar while making the story itself something new, if that makes sense.
Q. What do you bring to the table that’s different from other authors?
That’s an interesting question. We all like to think we’re telling new stories, but the truth is that there are only so many plot lines to go around. It’s how you tell the story that makes you unique.
I guess what I bring to the table is a desire to get people to think about what’s currently going on in the world while getting lost in the world I’ve created. As a mom, one of the biggest things I wanted to teach my kids was to think for themselves and not just blindly follow others. And I think, I hope, that same message comes through in my books.
This is one of my favorite things ever about the limited number of plots.
Q. What would you advise newbie indie authors to do different?
I’m kind of a newbie myself, but I would say my best piece of advice would be to not be afraid to put your story out into the world. You don’t know if it’s any good until you let others have a look at it.
That being said, put out a professional product. Pay for a good cover and if you can’t afford editing, get some really good beta readers. And be open to feedback. Nothing is as good as you think it is the first time around. Editing makes it better.
Q. Final moment to give a shout out to anyone in particular and tell us how we can follow you and your work.
I’d just like to thank my daughters. They have been my biggest cheerleaders and have been telling me for years that I could write a book. They definitely believed in me long before I believed in myself.
You can find The Lost Years on Amazon (available in paperback, Kindle and part of Kindle Unlimited).
And the second book in The Palumbra Chronicles series is called The Hub and it’s available for pre-order.
You can follow me on Facebook and Instagram under L.D. Fairchild.
And if you want to read the free prequel to The Lost Years, you can sign up for my newsletter.