Lisa Beth Darling Interview

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with author Lisa Beth Darling. Thanks for being here today and welcome back to FAR!

To start, tell us what a typical day is like for you.
I get up at 6:30-which is far too early for someone who just loves to sleep! I work as a secretary, dues taker, and mailing list administrator for Connecticut Carpenters Local 24 from 8am to 2pm, I used to be responsible for their web site as well but they didn't think that work had much, if any, value so I don't do that for them any longer. I come home, clean the house, wrestle with the age old question; What's For Dinner? Then I sit down to write from about 2:30pm to 4:30pm or I try to anyway. Depending on how my day has gone at work getting in the writing mood can be easy, difficult, or outright impossible. So I do the bulk of my writing from Friday afternoon to Sunday night. Now that I'm an Empty Nester and our two daughters are off on their own I don't have to run around on weekends or do school things, that's all over with. Phew…I made it through that phase of my life!

During the week, my husband of 27 years comes home from work around 4:45pm. I greet him at the door every night. I've done that since before we were married because I always look forward to him coming home. We sit down and relax, talk about our days, cuddle a bit, then it's time for dinner. More often than not these days it's Take Out or actually Going Out to dinner, which is a most welcomed and refreshing change. If it's a Monday night during the summer we head down to Ocean Beach for the Classic Car Show and maybe an ice cream cone. I take oodles of photographs of the cars. Some of them aren't too shabby. If it's not Monday then we either go our separate ways; him to his studio to play guitar or to his Xbox to play a war game and me to my computer where I might do a bit more writing or play a game on Facebook. Sometimes I just head upstairs for a long hot bath with the radio on my favorite 'classic rock' station and thinking on the storyline. I get my best ideas in the tub and just before I fall asleep.

Speaking of Sleep, it's probably my third favorite thing to do right after Sex and Writing. I've never been a night person I do not like the night life I do not like to boogie, I like to be snug in my bed very early in the night. That's not to say I'm sleeping, I watch TV-I love crime dramas, I can never get enough of them-or I catch up on the news or my stats/sales and, again Facebook to see what my friends are up to. Admittedly, I am somewhat of a Facebook Junkie. I do a lot of promotional work on a seasonal basis. Answer emails, send emails, update my web site, say 'hello' to the people on Twitter and I blog.

I blog A LOT and anything that strikes my fancy, whenever it strikes my fancy, from religion, to politics, to writing, to the human condition, and…well…just anything really. Mine is definitely not your typical blog.

Somewhere along the line, my hubby comes up to the bedroom, we cuddle, have a smoke, have a rousing round or two, fall asleep then get up at 6:30 and do it all over again.

Please tell readers a little bit about your upcoming release, Kingdoms of War.
Kingdoms of War is the finale to the OF WAR Series that I began publishing in 2010 with The Heart of War. It was never intended to be a series, The Heart of War was intended to be and indeed is a stand-alone novel but Ares had other plans. Big big plans. In Child of War-Rising Son, the book prior to Kingdoms of War, the human race was nearly annihilated and it was greatly Raven's fault albeit unintended. In Kingdoms of War we're dealing with the aftermath of the near total destruction of the human race which has been wiped out by Major Falls, a weaponized version of rabies. A disease that was unleashed on the planet not by Raven but by his Uncle Apollo who tried to blame Raven for it. While Ares, Athena, and Raven are off trying to salvage what's left of civilization and help ensure it doesn't fall to further ruin, Ares' Wife Alena is on his island, alone with their very young Daughter Rose. Apollo isn't the only one who sees his chance to finally get her into bed. There's lots of chaos and lots of heartache/heartbreak. Tons of drama and, of course, there's oodles of all types of sex. With any luck at all, we're winding our way to that Happily Ever After for Ares God of War and Magadalena MacLeod the Lost Queen of the Fey Kingdom. With any luck. No promises though. Sorry.

Kingdoms of War is the sixth and final book in the Of War series. What were the most challenging things for you as an author in creating and continuing this series?
Getting past myself. Some of those days that I come home from work and sit on the couch watching TV because it was 'lousy day at work' are just my own fault. It's my own inner voice telling me that writing is futile, it's a childish dream, and just plain stupid. I'm very good at knocking myself, in fact I excel at it! When I get into The Zone everything flows, the story writes itself as it's always done. I never make any mistakes about that, I get a say in what happens but the story isn't MINE it doesn't come from me it comes from the Cosmos and is directed to me by The Muse. I'm just the tool the story uses to tell itself. I never doubt that but I do often lose faith in it.

How would you describe the Of War series to someone who has not read any of the books in the series?
Oh boy. Ummm….Adult, very adult. It's Dark and it's Gritty with No Holds Barred. This series isn't for anyone who likes light fluffy reading material or who enjoys the YA genre. This series is for people who are aware of the world around them, its ugly truths, and can deal with them although it will challenge you on just how much you can deal with, just how much you can take and what you might be willing to do or to sacrifice for the person who holds your heart. When you're a God you can do/say/get away with some pretty darn interesting things. It's about growing up, coming of age, finding yourself and your place in this world. Growing up can present some very strange obstacles when you're a God-especially when you're growing up in a Family as Divinely Dysfunctional as the Olympians. It's about coming to grips with who and what you are even if it's not who and what you thought or wanted to be. It's about screwing up in a major way, feeling the weight of the guilt, and then the elation of redemption that I think most of us seek when we do screw up in that major way. It's about jealousy and the things it will drive us to do. With the Olympians, it's always a quest for the Ultimate Power although the contenders may not be who you think. Most of all, it's about Love and Weathering Every Storm Together because, deep in your heart you know that no matter what, you are stronger together than you are apart.

Is there a message in your story/series that you want readers to grasp?
Mostly, I just want them to enjoy a roller coaster ride of a story but if there's a message it's a simple one; You Are Stronger Than You Think You Are.

Who has been the toughest character for you to perfect so far?
Little Rose. She's the Daughter of Ares and Alena but she's physically handicapped due to the fact that her Brother, Raven, caused his Mother, Alena, to take a nasty fall down a rather long set of marble stairs in Child of War-A God is Born. She borders on being mentally handicapped but she understands more than most people believe it's just that she isn't able to articulate her thoughts as well as she should. All of the Olympians except her Father, Ares, and her Grandmother, Hera, shun her. Little Rose is also very powerful, in the end, maybe even more powerful than her Grandfather, Zeus.

When is the best time for you to indulge in your writing?
In the afternoon or on the weekends. I like to just shut myself away from the world from Friday night to Sunday night and write.

Do you write one story at a time or do you have several going at once?
I concentrate on one story at a time unless it's a rather 'cute' story….yes, I do those once in a while. Then I'll do a parallel story, what I call a 'spill over story' that's built around everything that's being left out of the sweeter or cuter little bit of fluff. That's how my novel OBSESSION was born. I was concentrating on writing a little tale that didn't have any sex in it and OBSESSION was the result. I have no idea whatever happened to the other story!

What was the hardest book for you to write in this series and why?
Kingdoms of War has proven the hardest book in the series. I'm dragging my feet all over the place when it comes to writing it simply because I don't want it to end. I'm afraid that Nothing Lies Ahead after this although The Muse keeps swearing that's not the case. Most of all, I just don't want to leave Ares behind. He's awesome and I'd do damn near anything to keep him.

Is there anything you still struggle with as an author?
Myself. I am my own worst critic. I keep myself back more than anything or anyone ever could do. That annoying little voice that sometimes makes me sit on the couch in the afternoon instead of writing can be very cruel. It tells me that I suck and I'm a hack and nobody will ever like what I write so why bother? Strange though, that voice never applied to anything else in my life. Just writing. It's very hard to tell it to shut up, that it's wrong, that I'm not a hack and I don't suck. There's a line in a movie called Pretty Woman where Edward and Vivian are in bed and he tells her; "I think you have a lot of special gifts." She says: "The bad stuff is easier to believe, you ever notice that?" It's true. For whatever reason it's easier for me to believe that nasty little voice than it is to get up off the couch, turn on the computer, and try to bang out just a sentence or two.

How has your writing evolved throughout your career?
It's gotten more complex. I started writing in 4th grade and 'got noticed' in 7th grade by peers, teachers, and the guidance counselor! Those early stories were mainly horror stories, there's nothing wrong with that genre, I love it and most of my stories retain a heavy dose of it but they were simplistic without twists or turns just a flat out highway at 100mph from Point A to Point B. Today we do 120mph and throw in a whole bunch of 's' curves.

What has been your goal as a writer? Have you achieved it yet?
Pushing the Envelope. I do it all of the time, constantly actually. I'm always looking for The Top and then aiming to shoot far over it. I want to push people's buttons. I want to make them think. I want to make them find the outer limits of their own boundaries and then make them put one toe over that line. Just a toe, that's all I ask. Ok, sometimes it more than that. That's when it gets harsh but I almost never know that I've gone a mile over the top until a book is out because it's only then that I sit down with it and read it like a Reader and not like an Editor or even an Author. Sometime I find myself saying; Who wrote THAT? Did I write THAT? Oh my!

What is the most thoughtful feedback you have received from a reader?
I adore any feedback from and contact with my readers. Unfortunately, not too many of them contact me personally even though it's easy enough to do and I'm very approachable. I don't usually even know someone has said something thoughtful or wonderful until I go to Amazon or GoodReads or someplace like that and see the reviews they've left. I'm not one for checking reviews or going nuts over them. In fact, I do my best to stay away from reading them because I don't need to give anymore fodder to that negative voice in my head that loves to tell me I suck. However, I have been blessed by the Gods with two people who contacted me one of whom gave me credit for saving their marriage and the other gave me credit for saving their life. I was left completely humbled and totally speechless by both emails and, to this day, I choke up just thinking about them. I never thought I would be able to change someone's life with my stories.

Whose opinion do you value most when it comes to your writing and why?
The Muse's. If he's not happy no one will ever be happy with what's on the page.

Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I hope to be brave enough to follow the road wherever it leads.

Describe yourself in 5 words.
Ever evolving offbeat hippie chick.

Is there anything else you would like to add today?
Read the OF WAR Series! LOL And thanks so much for having me here today.

Thank you for taking time to speak with me today Lisa.

You can visit Lisa here: Website, Blog, Facebook and Twitter @lb_darling.

Interviewed by: Tammy