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The James Gang


THE JAMES GANG

October James Gang Interview

Each month, I interview authors or publishing insiders who have some form of "James" in their names or in their books. My October interviewee is multi-published author, Laura Strickland, who has a hero perfect for the James Gang!

1. Let’s get the most important question asked first: Why did you pick James as the first name of your hero, James Kilter?

Actually, the title of the book, Off Kilter, came to me first. This is my second Steampunk Romance set in Victorian Buffalo, New York. (The first was Dead Handsome: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure.) Because of the title, I knew I wanted the hero’s last name to be “Kilter” and that he would tend to go “off kilter” in defense of those weaker than himself. “James” has always seemed a very Scottish name to me (and a strong name). My hero was of Scottish descent, and I liked the way “James” went with “Kilter.” Plus I wanted the heroine to think of him as “Jamie,” so James Kilter was born.

2. What fiction genre(s) and/or sub-genre(s) do you write?

I write Historical Fiction, Historical Romance and Steampunk Romance. Strictly speaking, the Steampunk Romance, being set in Victorian times, is Historical Romance with the addition of a few important twists, turns and curiosities.

3. Tell us about your latest release.

Here’s the blurb for Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure:

James Kilter has few illusions about himself. Maimed in a boiler accident when young and routinely reviled by those he encounters, he’s no prize for any woman. He’s content working security for a good friend until he sees Catherine Delaney disembark from an airship one May afternoon. Her fragile beauty calls up all his protective instincts. But will she accept a monster as her defender?

Having traded her own safety to save her young sister, Cat Delaney has landed in the hands of a ruthless, wealthy man who intends to use her as a pawn to his avarice. Alone in a strange city, she has nowhere to turn except to the very man hired to keep her from running. Can she trust James, with his ruined face and crusader’s spirit? Dare she give him her heart?

4. Is there a core story and/or a theme(s) in your books?

That’s an interesting question. I don’t consciously include themes in my books, but I suspect they do creep into the writing. Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure speaks out clearly against cruelty. James, a crusader at heart, can’t help intervening when he sees injustice towards animals or anyone who can’t defend him/herself, even if that gets him in trouble. All my books focus on the eternal nature of love. And my Steampunk Romances seem to examine what it means to be “human,” as not all the characters are flesh and blood, though some of them display wonderful examples of humanity.

5. Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?

I suspect the hero and heroine of each book I write becomes my favorite for the duration of writing about him/her. And that’s the way it should be, because loving our characters is the surest way to convince others to love them. I adore James Kilter. He’s such an authentic individual with his scarred face, his beautiful body and his soft heart. I love that the heroine falls in love with him—helplessly and completely—even though he considers himself hideous, and nothing can turn her away. All my main characters tend to have flaws—I think that not only makes them more interesting but more believable.

6. What do you enjoy most about being an author?

I enjoy everything about the writing process from receiving that first, inspiring spark of an idea through writing the first draft to typing and editing. For me, there’s nothing like curling up beside the fire and just letting the words pour through me in that first rush. I even enjoy correcting galleys and doing follow-up edits. Promotion is much harder for me, mostly because it’s difficult for me to blow my own horn.

7. Do you have any awards, reviews or kudos you’d like to tell us about?

Yes, my Historical Romance, The Tenth Suitor, won the title of June, 2015 Book of the Month over at Long & Short Reviews! And many beautiful reviews of my work have been posted by my readers, for which I’m profoundly grateful. It’s humbling.

8. How do you promote your books and your author brand?

I do much of my promotion through my Author Web Page at www.LauraStricklandBooks.com. All my individual titles are listed there including those I published before signing on with The Wild Rose Press, with links so visitors can purchase them if they wish. There’s a blog page where I express some of my thoughts and a page for contacting me. I always love to hear from my readers.

I also promote through both Facebook and via my Amazon author page, as well as doing the occasional book signing. Last month, just after the release of Off Kilter: a Buffalo Steampunk Adventure, I appeared at the Leonard Oakes Winery’s Steampunk Festival, where I not only had lots of fun but got an opportunity to meet many potential readers.

9. What is your next project?

I always have a least three irons in the fire. My next release, also from The Wild Rose Press, is a Historical Romance called The White Gull. I wrote this story for their Lobster Cove Series, and it’s set in 1851 Maine. I had so much fun with this one it inspired a sequel in novella form, which I hope will be out by next spring. I also have a third Steampunk Romance on tap and a Highlander Romance I’ve just submitted to my editor. My current work-in-progress is a Scottish Historical for another new Wild Rose Press series.

10. Do you have a bit of wisdom you’d like to impart or a favorite quote?

I’m frequently asked for advice, especially by other writers aspiring to be published. (I don’t call them “aspiring writers” because I believe a writer is a writer whether or not s/he attains publication—the beautiful act of writing is the true reward.) Mine was a long road to publication, and I remember how it felt when I had moments of doubt. So I tell others: Doubt is your enemy, especially if it keeps you from writing. Never give up. Believe in yourself and—most of all—believe in your work! If you don’t believe in your story, neither will anyone else.

Laura's Links:
Website: www.LauraStricklandBooks.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000002632317

Thank you, Laura! Stop by next month, when my interviewee with be author Susan B. James!

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