Exclusive Interview with
L. R. Braden
Let’s start with your Career as a writer!
When did you start writing?
I wrote stories for fun as a child, but I started writing with the intention to actually publish when I was 29 years old. Then it took another six years to get my first book published.
What makes writing your passion?
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
The first time I held my published work in my hands I was elated, and proud, and a little bit scared.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
Sticking to the old adage, "Write what you know," I made my main character a shadowy version of myself shaped by different life experiences --- someone who shared many of my personality traits so I could make her feel authentic, but living in different circumstances.
Alex, is an independent, reclusive artist in her late twenties with trust and abandonment issues. Her father left to fight in the Faerie Wars and never came back. Her mother died shortly after, leaving her an orphaned teenager. Alex has since made a couple good friends, and that’s all she needs or wants. She avoids politics, especially involving the fae, and enjoys the solitude of her mountain home. At least, until the series starts…
Once her world falls apart, Alex is joined by a large cast of characters, many of which become a "found family." This helps her get past her isolationist tendencies because she needs to trust people and accept help to overcome the obstacles in her path.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
The most annoying part of pursuing a writing career is all the marketing that goes along with it. I'd love to just write, and write, and write, but if I did that no one would ever know my books existed. So instead, I have to spend time building ads, making blog posts, updating my social media, etc. For an introvert (like me), trying to authentically connect with an audience is very difficult.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I've never found myself short on ideas, but when I find I can't *effectively* write, for whatever reason, I take the day off. Sometimes I need two or three days to reset. Once I feel more balanced and able to focus, I get back to it.
Note: This only works if you actually give yourself permission to be unproductive. If you spend your day off feeling guilty that you're not working you'll just be wasting time.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
Most writers write because they have stories, or worlds, or characters they want to express. I suppose there are some authors who write for money or fame, but I honestly think writing for any reason other than a personal desire to write will likely fall flat and the author will not have the fortitude to carry through. The road to publication is full of road blocks and detours. Only someone with a strong will can reach their destination. In my experience, external motivators will only get you so far.
So, for new authors: Be realistic about your goals and your motivation, and celebrate every small victory along the way.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
Yes, I've read most if not all the reviews for my books. I find the good reviews help encourage and motivate me. As for bad reviews, I look at them as opportunities to grow. Some reviews are just empty, but most people who take the time to write a review actually have an opinion to express. And while their opinion might be that they hated my book, they will often give reasons that I can use to make my next book stronger.
One thing I never do is respond to reviews. Reviews are there for people to share their opinions and help potential readers make a decision. They are not a place for authors to try to defend or explain their work.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
Getting a good review, a great review, is the best feeling in the world. When a total stranger writes to let me know they enjoyed my story, that they're looking forward to more, that they stayed up all night because they just couldn't put the book down . . . my face gets sore from grinning.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
A book's cover is not as important as the story, but it is the first thing a reader will connect with (or not). Covers are very important, but a beautiful cover will not make a person read a terrible book.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I try to connect with my readers when I can. I'm a very introverted person, so it takes a great deal of effort on my part to talk to people, but I do attend conventions and such (or did before COVID19) to try to connect with people interested in my stories.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
When people compliment me to my face (even people I know) my brain sort of shuts off and I have a mild (sometimes not so mild) panic attack. That said, I still appreciate it.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
Currently, my favorite author is probably Brandon Sanderson. I'm infinitely impressed with the depth and diversity of his worlds.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
Because I write urban fantasy, my dream is to have my books as well known as those of Patricia Briggs, Ilona Andrews or Jim Butcher.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
There are always things I want to change after the fact, so if you mean could I make my books better if I rewrote them now? Yeah, probably. But I'm proud of what I accomplished, and I have no intention of changing them.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
What would you say to your readers?
From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. Every person who reads my book inspires me to write more.
Thank you for sharing! Let’s talk about your Personal Life!
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I live in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado with my loving and supportive family.
What is your day job if you have one?
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I love to hike through isolated woods in the back country of the mountains. I also love to kayak. Most of my "free time" I spend with my family. We take bike rides, play board and video games, make crafts, and read books.
I also make chainmail jewelry that I sell in my etsy shop:
Did you have a happy childhood?
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
From both my own experience and now going through it as a parent, I find public education lacks the ability to truly differentiate learning. While many teachers try, the truth is that classrooms still teach to the lowest common denominator and those who might excel are left to teach themselves if they really want to learn. So I guess what we lack is an adequate support system for teachers to present multiple levels of education on a single topic.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
What is your favorite music?
I like bands like Imagine Dragons, Flogging Molly, and Robert DeLong. I also love fiddle tunes. Mostly I enjoy anything with energy that makes me want to get up and dance and sing along.
Share a secret with us 🙂