I had the pleasure of meeting L.G. (Liz) O’Connor this past August at the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. She attended my presentation on hybrid publishing and graciously accompanied me to my first signing afterward, where she hovered near the grand ballroom doors, peddling my book to the conference attendees as they exited (I think you sold at least four, Liz!)! She is a fun, sharp, and dedicated writer. In 2013, she published Trinity Stones, the first novel of the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles. Publisher’s Weekly says, “O’Connor tackles important worldbuilding, while also kicking off the story with a bang.” Her second novel in the series, The Wanderer’s Children, will be published in in December. She’s accomplished all this — while working a full-time job! Thank you, Liz, for taking the time to answer a few questions!
What are you working on?
Wow. A better question might be what am I not working on *laughs* given my list. Right now, I’m buried under an avalanche of projects that are coalescing all at once. I’m in the throes of finishing production—literally this week—on the second book in the The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles—The Wanderer’s Children—which will be available for presale during the first week of October through all major print and digital retail outlets with my new publisher, Collins-Young Publishing. On top of that, the audiobook production of Trinity Stones is in the final stages for an end of October launch on Audible and iTunes. But three’s a charm, right? I have a new project—a contemporary romantic women’s fiction novel—that I’m partnering with an agent on to potentially go wide on rather than small press. But I can’t really say any more about that for the moment *smiles*. All of this while continuing on with the Trinity Stones publicity tour and working a full-time job. Next stop: New Jersey Romance Writers Conference October 17 – 19.
How does your work differ from others of its genre?
I love this question because I made a conscious choice to deviate somewhat from the formula of pure urban fantasy or pure paranormal romance for the The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles. As an avid reader of both genres, I found that I preferred a blend of both rather than either genre straight up. I’m very character driven when I read. I want to fall in love the cast and feel like I’m part of their team, but I also want a rich and complex story that keeps me thinking. As result, The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles are not predictable reads or books that you can skim through without paying attention. That said I kept my world recognizable by using contemporary settings in New York City and San Francisco in an attempt to simplify. The series has some elements of Science Fiction and Fantasy, but I tried to ground the story in reality and biblical history as we know it. From there I applied literary license.
When I first started the series in 2009, there weren’t many “angel and demon” stories on the market in the adult category and now there are too many *chuckles*. But I feel my take still provides a fresh perspective. My objective was for the story to have a broader mainstream appeal than just the two genres it’s associated with. Truly, my goal was to appeal to literary readers who wanted a change of pace; mothers who had been reading their teenagers Young-Adult series and needed something with a bit more spice; and New Adult readers looking for strong mid-20s characters whose college bonds are still very much alive and well. Based on my reader feedback so far, I’m definitely appealing to readers of all ages new to the genre and looking for a change of pace.
Why do you write what you do?
I write what I love to read. I take the best of it and blend it together into my books. At the end of the day, writing is hard work. If I didn’t love my characters and their stories, I couldn’t be this passionate and devote as much time to writing on top of a full-time job. Writing is like a marriage of sorts. For me, I have to love my worlds and the people in them. I could never write a depressing book with unredeemable characters—nor could I read one—which leaves out roughly half the bestseller list for me *laughs*. As an example, Gone Girl was a did not finish (DNF) for me after chapter 3.
How does my writing process work?
Except for times like now when I’m on a short writing hiatus having just finished the proofread phase on two books simultaneously – I’m usually super disciplined. Working a full-time job leaves me with only 45-minutes every morning, about 1.5 – 2 hours most nights, and then 8-hour blocks on the weekends. I write on average 20 – 30 hours per week depending on what phase I’m in. Just to give you an idea how this translates: I’ve written three full length novels in three years and partials on several others.
My actual process varies depending on the book. I started as a “pantser” and have developed into a “plotser.” That said, my contemporary came to me in outline form over three days, and the first draft was fully written in six weeks as part of National Novel Writing Month last year. As a result, I try to outline a little more but only use it as a guideline. I’ll participate in NaNoWriMo again this year using the third book in The Angelorum Twelve Chronicles. I’m hoping to launch it this time next year.
On a day-to-day basis, I write in scenes and never in order unless I’m finishing the connective chapters at the end. I draft, read & revise three – four times before moving on to the next scene. All scenes are read morning and night to give my brain a chance to see it clearly. Most scenes start in medias res, must have a goal, and leave us in a place where the page must be turned. Honestly, I think I’ve done this better on my last two novels than on the first.
My biggest piece of advice for new writers is “writing is revising.” Embracing both the drafting and revising will make you a stronger writer. I happen to love both.
L.G. O’Connor is a member of the Romance Writers of America. A corporate strategy and marketing executive for a Fortune 250 company, she writes adult urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance. She is currently working on the third book in the Angelorum Twelve Chronicles, Book of Four Rings, for publication in 2015. In addition, she is writing an adult contemporary romance series. An avid antiques collector, L.G. lives a life of adventure, navigating her way through dog toys and soccer balls and loaning herself out for the occasional decorating project. When she’s feeling particularly brave, she enters the kitchen . . .
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