Twitter Interview with Author Lorena Gay
June 14, 2012
Conducted by Fiona Leonard
Lots of people talk about writing a book but never do it. Author @lorenagay, however, has done just that. Over the last few months, her novel On the Cusp of the Earth has appeared in regular installments on Eat Your Serial, a publishing domain that’s bringing back serialized novels (http://eatyourserial.com/serial/on-the-cusp-of-the-earth/). This evening, I’m talking to @lorenagay about her novel, her publishing experience, and plans for the future.
@FionaJLeonard: Welcome Lorena!
@LorenaGay: Thanks, Fiona! Excited to be here.
FL: OK given that this interview is taking place across two continents we should probably start with some introductions. I’m talking to @lorenagay from Ghana, West Africa. Lorena, you’re in Portland now, but on the move soon?
LG: Yes, I’m in Portland, Oregon now, but next month I’m moving to New York City.
FL: Seems like travel and writing have always been a part of your life. How did you get into writing?
LG: I learned to read early on and loved it, but I wanted to create my own stories. I started writing a chapter book at age 8.
FL: What was it about? Do you still have it?
LG: It was about a boy on a little league baseball team. I played a lot of sports as a kid. Yes, it’s in my basement in a box.
FL: (I dread anyone ever finding the romance novel I wrote in my teens…)
LG: Oh, the writing isn’t very good But the title was good. I called it Baseballs Don’t Bounce.
FL: Seems like great titles are a talent of yours! Can you tell us a bit about On the Cusp of the Earth?
LG: Well, it’s about a young engineer with a dark past who is trying to reinvent herself. Then she falls for her mysterious coworker. They find themselves on the run while on a business trip together to Moscow, and discover the other is not who they thought.
FL: So what inspired you to write this novel? Were you on business in Moscow at the time?!
LG: I wish! No, I’ve not been to Russia before. It’s on the list. I was inspired while commuting home listening to the Amélie soundtrack. There’s a track, #11, that had me imagine two people on the run together in a war in the snow. And it grew from there…
FL: Is music an integral part of your writing process? I know some writers use specific music to inspire/get into the setting.
LG: Definitely! I listen to single songs over and over again for hours while writing. I listen to a lot of scores while writing.
FL: If you want to check out the track @lorenagay was inspired by you can find it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RD3WwM6l1J0
LG: Actually, I just did a blog post about my “playlist” when writing or getting inspiration for scenes…
FL: Love it – a tweet interview that comes with its own soundtrack!
LG: We do what we can…
FL: Your lead character is an engineer with bipolar disorder. What sort of research did you do to understand her personality?
LG: Well, I used to work for a defense company, so I have a lot of engineer friends to observe and talk to about technology. In 2006 I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, so I’ve been researching that for years already. Emma has bipolar I disorder. Bipolar I & II are different in that type I is marked by higher intensity levels of mania and depression. Type II is more chillaxed.
FL: What was it like exploring something you have personal experience with, through a fictional character?
LG: Emma starts out medicated, so her actions are controlled, but then she loses her meds and things unravel. It was hard to figure out how to portray her reactions and thought processes realistically based on that, her awful past and her love for Ruel. Sometimes I would just become very overwhelmed with how many things influenced her decision-making. It was definitely hard to do.
FL: If writing a realistic portrayal of her reactions/thought process was the tough part, which chapters did you enjoy writing most?
LG: I really enjoyed writing the middle of the book…chapters 7-13. The cliffhangers were so fun and the research was interesting. I was writing about a tiny village in Romania that only had websites in Romanian, so it was a good use of my experience with romance languages.
FL: Why did you choose to publish as a serial?
LG: I started the book in December 2008 and heard about @eatyourserial in 2010. I really just wanted a way to finish this book.
FL: In my experience, Indie Publishing involves a steep learning curve. What lessons have you learned?
LG: Planning. I thought I had outlined my book enough, but when you’re down to the wire each week, it has to be meticulous. The book went a totally different direction than I initially planned, which caused a ton of writer’s block around chapter 16.
FL: Do you have any tips or resources you’ve found that you could recommend to other writers?
LG: I definitely recommend writing. I know it sounds trite, but it’s the only way you can improve and know your output capacity. And I’m indebted to my husband for being my cheerleader. I think everyone needs someone to keep them on task. Novels are long.
FL: I agree! Writer’s partners have to be patient!
FL: I’m nearly to the end of my interview with @lorenagay, does anyone have a question to ask Lorena?
@Sj_niuph: Have you started any new work?
LG: I’m working on finalizing some short stories to send to literary journals right now, and hashing out a concept for a script.
@Rachel_B123: Yes, can you tell us the info about how to buy the book?
FL: Great question @Rachel_B123! @lorenagay where can people find you?
LG: You can find me at: http://www.lorena-aline.com, like me at http://www.facebook.com/lorenagay or http://lorenagay.tumblr.com. And, Rachel, you can pre-order the novel at http://www.eatyourserial.com/preorder
@SisterPenguin: How important are distractions to the process?
LG: Distractions… are a delicious evil. They can inspire, but they can also derail.
@Sj_niuph: Were you exhausted or euphoric when you finished the novel?
LG: Sj, I was both. I was working on a Doctor Who story at the same time as finishing the final chapter. So, exhausting, but great. From chapter 12 onward, I was writing a chapter per week while working my full time job, which I do not recommend to anyone.
@Operarose: what is your favourite writing-time snack to munch on?
LG: Opera, I usually drink coffee while writing.
@Operarose: Twitter: a help or hindrance to writers?
LG: Twitter is the biggest help!!! Haha, the writing community I’ve met via twitter enabled me to get through this book. #amwriting
FL: Ok last question – If your novel is made into a movie, who will play Ruel and Emma? (cos we know you’ve thought about it!)
LG: I think about it always, and it always changes. But I’ll say a dirty blond version of Ksenia Solo for Emma and Karl Urban for Ruel.
FL: Excellent! This has been great! Thanks Lorena for agreeing to chat about On the Cusp of the Earth. Good luck with publication.
LG: Thank you, Fiona! Everyone should check out Fiona’s novel The Chicken Thief. I read it and couldn’t put it down.
FL: And thanks for following tonight’s chat. Remember you can read and buy Lorena’s novel at www.eatyourserial.com/preorder
LG: Goodnight and Good Morning to everyone (on 5 continents!) Thanks so much for following! It was fun.
More From Lorena Gay can be seen on her personal website: http://www.lorena-aline.com/