Attorney by Day, Writer By Night, Traditional and Self-Published Romance Author with a love of entrepreneurship. USA Today, Amazon and BN Best Seller, writes in ALL genres of romance! Ask me anything!

Lauren Smith
Mar 10, 2018

Staring at the blank screen and wondering how to get started on writing? Or are you well underway and wanting to know how to get more traction with fans? Or are you considering self-publishing, or looking at marketing tactics? Maybe you want to consider a hybrid career and do traditional and self-publishing? I can answer all of these questions! I published my first book in Jan 2014 and have since published over 29 books both with big New York publishers and via self-publishing. I have topped charts on Amazon and BN and I've hit the USA Today Bestseller list twice. I love mentoring other authors on all levels from craft to marketing, design and business strategy!

Ask me anything!

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Conversation (54)

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Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Mar 13, 2:30AM EDT0

I hear from readers all the time! I actually have a fan group on facebook that has 600 members and I interact with them daily!  They love to know which characters will fall in love, and sharing their favorite parts with me from certain books. They also love to guess what will happen next in certain book series! It's a lot of fun!

Mar 13, 11:07AM EDT0
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Mar 12, 2:40PM EDT0

I handwrite all my novels and then dictate them into a recorder and use dragon to transcribe them into a word document. I prefer 1.0 or bigger pen tips, love colored pens and always write in 5 subject notebooks by Five Star with college rule lines.

Mar 12, 8:47PM EDT0
How do your friends and family feel about your writings or venture in general?
Mar 12, 11:31AM EDT0

Everyone is really supportive. I know many romance writers find they aren't supported by friends and family. I'm very lucky. But I also think that if a writer is outspoken about what they write, and show no shame for writing "bodice rippers" etc, and they demonstrate to people it's a business and not a hobby, that people are more inclined to support you and take it seriously rather than make fun of you or judge you. It goes back to that age old "smell of fear" situation. If you act ashamed or downplay it as a hobby, then people will follow your lead and view it negatively. So even if you are just starting out to write, and aren't published yet, still treat it respectfully, be brave and proud about what you're doing and people will respond positively.

Mar 12, 12:20PM EDT0
Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
Mar 12, 10:51AM EDT0

I write full time and I hope it will continue to grow. Recently indie sales have taken a down turn because society is focused less on reading and more on phones, tablets and electronic gaming as well as TV, but if we can get readership back up, I would love to write a book that hits the New York Times Bestseller list. 

Mar 12, 12:18PM EDT0
Any recent appearances that you would like to share with us about/any upcoming ones?
Mar 12, 9:29AM EDT0

I will be in Tulsa, OKlahoma in July for a book signing at the hardrock Cafe. I will be attending the Historical Romance Retreat in Riverside California in September.  If you want updates on these, please follow me on facebook at www.facebook.com/LaurenDianaSmith/ or sign up for my newsletter at laurensmithbooks.com/free-books-and-newsletter/

Mar 12, 9:57AM EDT0
What are some things you do to refresh your mind when you are having difficulty with inspiration?
Mar 10, 11:40AM EST0

Movies, music and TV! Oh and driving while listening to music! I love to let other stories from other sources tumble around in my head and they usually get me through writer's block. I once had a new adult romance giving me fits, and it was a contemporary set romance about an american girl falling for british young man. I got addicted to a sci-fi space opera show at the same time and while watchign the sci-fi show and it's characters, I got inspired to finish my story which had no similiar whatsoever, but it got the creative juices flowing.

Mar 10, 4:40PM EST0
On what specific aspects do you base the development of your male characters, and why?
Mar 10, 11:02AM EST0

Since I write romance, there's a bit of a trick to developing male characters. Romance writers don't write "Real men" in that most men don't have as much internal dialogue, nor do they analazye their own emotions as much as women do, so when romance writers write "men" we write them as women believe them to be, or wish them to be. It's a bit like fantasy men but not just in the way they look, although that does play a part, but also how they think. We want to think men overthink everything like women do, so our characters tend to reflect that. You also want to make sure your male characters are strong, physically or emotionally, or both. But at the same time, they must eventaully realize the heroine is strong as well. The biggest misconception about romance is that heroes rescue heroines and they are always damsels in distress. That's completely wrong. The best romances are where the heroes may still save a heroine's life but she shows him throughout the book how strong she is in her own right, especially emotionally and intellectually. So by the end of the novel you have an equal relationship of mutual respect between the characters.

Mar 10, 4:38PM EST0
What are some of the events and experiences that encouraged you to develop your storylines?
Mar 10, 10:29AM EST0

One of my best experiences was studying abroad at Cambridge in England for two summers. I fell in love with the campus and it really gave me a taste for how life was several hundred years ago and it led to the birth of my bestselling Regency Romance series The League of Rogues which centered around a group of British Peers who met each other while at university in the early 1800s

Mar 10, 4:35PM EST0
In your experience as an attorney, which is the one case that has affected you the most and why?
Mar 10, 7:58AM EST0

One case that affected me the most but didn't relate or affect my writing at all was a bankruptcy case where a man took a mortgage open on his house and didn't tell his wife. THen he left the state and abandoned her and her three children. She worked, and had money but he never told her he wasn't paying the mortgage. So she got the paperwork out of the blue that she was losing her house. I was able to give her 90 days to leave the house (which she was happy to do because she didn't want to stay there after what had happened). So after 90 days she was in a new home with her children and I felt I had did as much as  I could to help her. But I always felt awful that her husband had lied to her and hadn't helped her and abandoned her and her children.

Mar 10, 9:07AM EST0
In what ways does writing in your genre vary from others, and what do you believe are the specific qualities a writer needs in order to succeed in the literary romance world?
Mar 9, 5:07PM EST0

The biggest thing that writers in the romance genre need to be prepared for is learning how to write deep point of view. In no other genre is this necessary but for romance you MUST know how to do this to be considered even a decent writer.

Here's an example of normal writing: She was terrified.

Here's an example of deep point of view: Fear gripped her heart with icy claws, making it hard to breathe.

Which one feels more real? More engaging? The second one. This is something romance writers have to do in order to succeed. We have to put the reader so deeply into our characters heads that they feel everything we want them to as though it was happening to them not just the characters.

Mar 9, 5:39PM EST0
What is the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for one of your books?
Mar 9, 10:45AM EST0

HAHAH the strangest thing... well I've researched a lot of strange things. I think the winner was poisons. I had to figure out what kind of poison would work in one of my books and I had to research a bunch of different kinds, ones that had proper antidotes and would manifest a certain way in the character who was poisoned in order to fit my story.  I've also researched bullet wounds in various body places and how fatal they would be and how it would affect my character who had been shot.

Mar 9, 11:55AM EST0
What would you say is the biggest mistaken belief about learning and understanding story composition?
Mar 9, 6:25AM EST0

The biggest mistaken belief about learning and understanding story composition is that "books must be written in a formula." You hear this frequently with romance and other genres. The real thing to learn about story composition is "acceptable patterns" and "acceptable story arcs" which are not the same as formulas. Formulas imply a direct repetitive experience. That means there's nothing original to each story. Whereas stories can all follow basic patterns that give a reader a satisfying experience but still feel original. Think about all the romance novels you might have read. Yes, they all end happily, that's not a formula. Books that aren't romances end happily. Think about Twilight, The Hunger Games series and Harry Potter. They all end in a relatively satisfying way to the reader and that's because those authors followed proper story arcs. You want to give the reader a good experience and maybe do it a little differently than expected, but don't deny them the basic key elements of what makes a good story a good story. 

Mar 9, 11:54AM EST0
What do you consider the most dishonourable practice in the publishing industry?
Mar 9, 4:11AM EST0

I think there are actually quite a few! To name some of the big ones: Contracts of Adhesion- this means vendors like Amazon can force you to accept unreasonable contract terms with no negotiations allowed in order to publish through them. NO other industry lets this occur. It's against publich policy. My second big thing that makes me cringe is contracts with publishers where you sign away your book for "the term of the copyright" that's fancy lawyer talk for your life plus 99 years. That's how long they get to own your book. It means you'll NEVER get it back. It's better not to sign these contracts and learn to self publish than it is to sign them and regret that decision to your dying day.

Mar 9, 11:50AM EST0
What methods and techniques do you use that ensures the on-page chemistry between your characters is realistic?
Mar 9, 12:30AM EST0

If you're new to writing romance, i suggest looking carefully at your favorite romances by other authors and highlighting the sentences that illicited an emotional or physical response in you. It usually comes down to word choice and physical tension. Reading a lot of good romances and literally studyign the language is a good technique. I also suggest learning to do use deep point of view and checking out the book Romance Writer Phrase Nook. It has great suggestions to get you started on chemistry. And learn to incorporate the five senses especially touch, taste and smell when your characters are close or touching.

Mar 9, 11:48AM EST0
Is there any type of criminal you consider more favourably and why?
Mar 8, 2:45PM EST0

Criminal you mean from an attorney perspective? I don't practice criminal law, I specialize in intellectual property. But I guess if I had to say what criminal would be more favorable, it would probably be someone who commits a crime that doesn't hurt people, but rather big corporations, something that wouldn't hurt the average person.

Mar 8, 3:10PM EST0
What do you like to read in your free time?
Mar 8, 8:55AM EST0

I love to read a mix of literary fiction, romance, and non-fiction about unsolved crimes and also non-fiction history.

Mar 8, 9:02AM EST0
What are some of the reasons an author infuses their own temperaments with that their characters?
Mar 7, 10:01PM EST0

The best reasons are that it makes the character feel more real. If you write what you know, especially what you feel it makes your characters feel more real. I never write other people from my life into my books but i definitely write myself into all my characters and I feel it gives the story much greater depth. And depth matters. It helps your stories stand out, even if you write genre fiction, adding a layer of depth gives you an edge over authors.

Mar 7, 10:11PM EST0
What do you believe is the future of reading and writing?
Mar 7, 9:09PM EST0

I normally try to stay positive, but this is a question that has a negative answer for me. I love self-publishing but many authors don't take the time to put everything together and make a quality book. So see a ton of poorly written books, dont' get me wrong there are AMAZING self published books coming out too, but the majority are written with no talent and no craft. Craft can be learned but authors are taking shortcuts. Part of the problem is that younger generations aren't reading and writing anymore. They are failing to learn anything at school and the skills of even learning to write simple book reports are falling on the wayside. I want to stay positive, but I worry about the future of reading and writing. And given the way Amazon treats authors, our future as writers with careers that sustain is also getting harder.

Mar 7, 9:22PM EST0
How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books?
Mar 7, 7:17PM EST0

I think it's not a either or discussion but an All of the above discussion! Plus add Audio! As a reader, I'm all audio. I dont' have time to sit and read anymore because i have my own books to work on but I spend my active time during the day (at least 4 hours) exercising, running errands and house work listening to audiobooks and that's how I get my reading done. I think as an author you need to make your books available in all formats if possible. Some readers prefer ebook, some print, and some audio. So make sure you have it all for your readers! :)

Mar 7, 9:18PM EST0
What are some of the techniques a writer can use to depict a relevant female character?
Mar 7, 3:45PM EST0

By relevant I'm assuming you mean a strong, empowered female character? If not, please post another question so I can clarify, but I'll go with this first just in case. :)   You want your female characters to have either an education or street smarts. All strong women have at least one if not both of these qualities. So even if you aren't writing about a biochemist, but maybe a maid in a house for a billionaire, she can still be smart you know? Never let a female fall prey to "this could be solved with a simple conversation" situation. Give her real world conflicts that aren't easily solved. Make her stand up for herself. While we love heroes to rescue heroines, sometimes they need to rescue themselves or even rescue the hero. They can still be swayed by emotions and physical desire, but as long as you let readers see the character's intellectual power, emotional strength and problem solving they will be able to love the character. :)

Mar 7, 4:00PM EST0
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