I would like to introduce you to a soon-to-be-published author, Lynn Santiago. Keep an eye out for her book “A Court for Fairies” which will be released in December! Lynn is a Fantasy and Horror writer with a bottomless imagination, and I get to question her today.
1. What drove you to start writing?
Lynn: The short answer is Wattpad, the long answer goes something like this:
I used to write original stuff for the drama club in Junior High and High School. Back then I had a writing partner, Eric Javier, and we made a promise to write a novel together one day. We graduated, parted ways and some twenty odd years later we reconnected through Facebook.
In one of our catch up convos, he touched the subject of the novel once more and I kindly reminded him we were not in High School anymore and real life had sort of dragged me as far from literature as one could get. (Even though I studied American Literature, I was working as a collector for a credit card company at the time and nothing kills creativity as a call center.)
I bet him though, that if he could guarantee finding a place where we could get feedback on the go, I’d happily join the venture. I went to sleep convinced that I’d never touch a keyboard. A couple of days later, he sent me a link to this wild, orange place and you know how these things work…he created a monster.
By the way, we wrote the book, it’s a fantasy/historical fiction fusion titled “Sombra Roja”. It’s the best bet I’ve lost.
May: That makes me think a bit of fate. It’s as if no matter what you do to fight against it, if you were meant to be a writer, you’ll wind up doing it whether you like it or not. Wattpad brought a lot of us together. It’s a good place to get to know some authors and find confidence in your work.
2. When it comes to vampire stories, which books would you recommend?
Lynn: I love the classics. I’m a bit of a vampire purist. That doesn’t mean that I’ll join the pitchfork brigade and scream my head off at anything new. One of the reasons vampires had managed to stay with us is their versatility. However, there’s something about the primal, shadow of self vampire that catches my attention.
There are several books that I call essentials (or gateway drugs, depending on who I’m talking to). Dracula has to be there. Bram Stoker created a character that is forever etched in the back of the mind of every writer that deals with the subject. We either want to emulate it, or walk away from it, but it’s always there. The first three books of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice (Interview, Lestat, and Queen of the Damned) redefined the vampire novel as we know it in such an elegant way that now it is almost impossible to conceive a vampire who is not at odds with the remnants of its humanity.
Finally, (and this just because I won’t keep typing ‘til the sun come up) I’ve never read a vampire book that screws up perspective like Richard Matheson’s I am Legend. (Dear readers, if someone mentions the unmentionable movie, you’ll soon find out that I’m a witch willing to curse you with creative nightmare scenarios.) As I was saying, there is something powerful and terrifying about the twisted ending of this story that will make us question our definition of monsters.
I have my Wattpad favorites as well. They are my fearless vampire writers. Understand, if these were an armada, theirs are the ships that always sail and never fail for me. Eyes closed, I’ll recommend anything bloody and fanged written by @rosaimee @tamoja @sellersjr @amberkbryant @BelitAm @RKClose @Nyhterides @MayFreighter and @Leila_Adams
May: That’s an amazing combination of writers! And, yay, I made the cut. I’ll also provide links to all of those writers for the readers. If you’re interested, just click on the names.
3. Can you walk us through your writing process and how you plot your stories?
Lynn: Welcome to the wreck that is my process: I start with the ending. I get a general idea and if I don’t see a clear resolution, I find no point in writing the story. I sketch backwards, think in Spanish, then type in English. The only thing that is constant and normal about my process is that I dedicate an hour a day to it. I have a lot of fun writing, but I never, ever forget that it is a discipline.
I’m not disciplined about what I shove in my mouth when I’m writing though. I’ll gain a couple of pounds per novel. Sweets fuel my madness. That’s another story, though.
May: Ah, I know exactly what you mean. I constantly forget to exercise if I’m excited about the story, and chocolate is the necessary evil during such periods of time. I’d spend weeks writing it and forget that humans outside my four walls exist.
Unlike you, I think I work best in bursts. I used to aim for 5k words a week, but sometimes it can be 15k words, depending on how close to the ending I am. When I’m editing, thought, I’m at 0 words a week. The midpoints in stories make me stall. I stop and think: “Is this still entertaining? Do my beta readers enjoy the plot?” If yes to both, then I plow to the Holy Grail that’s the end.
4. Imagine you were kidnapped by vampires and wound up in a room with your favourite fictional heroine. Whom would you like to be there with you to help you break out?
Lynn: I’ll trust Leila von Dorcha with my life. She’s @rosaimee deliciously evil vampire queen from “Ardith”. Ruthlessness is key in this situation and she has not a single soft spot. Darn it, she doesn’t even have a soul.
May: She sounds dangerous. I think I’d pick Anita Blake, the Vampire Hunter (a series by Laurell K. Hamilton). At least, she knows how to use guns and has enough luck for the both of us.
5. How do you spend your time away from writing?
Lynn: I’d love to say I lead the most interesting of lives, but in order to do so, I’d need to empty upon the page details of one of the many shows I binge watch on Netflix, attribute them to myself and pray to God that you guys don’t happen to watch it as well.
I love to spend time with my family, and I travel whenever I can. I’m a sucker for a good movie, and I have this terrible urge to buy sneakers that drives me to the mall once a month or so. You know, normal stuff.
May: You’re more adventurous than me. My time off, which is rather rare in recent months, consists of trips to sushi places, scenery I can photograph, (I really miss theme parks) and seeing a friend or two to assure them I’m still breathing. I can’t stand shopping (unless it’s for a new notebook).
6. Vampires or werewolves?
Lynn: What kind of question is this? Vampires are so awesome that when werewolves die, they come back as blood suckers. I swear I didn’t make this up, Easter European folklore has been keeping this little office gossip alive forever. So repent, werewolf lovers, return to the fold.
May: What? I have never heard of this! This little tidbit will need to be researched on my part. Thanks for sharing!
7. What inspires you?
Lynn: I’m a visual person. The places I’ve been to, pictures, illustrations, accounts and old legends I can get my hands on. I like dusting off old myths and giving them a modern twist. That’s what I love the most about writing urban fantasy. One can just dig up forgotten details and insert them in the page, making them part of our daily and trivial.
May: I’m the same as you. If I find something visually intriguing, then I want to write about it. It gets my wheels turning and the hamster in my head runs wild.
8. If you had a chance to jump into one of your stories as a character. Which story would you pick and why?
Lynn: Glass and Iron, definitely. The novel takes place in Louisiana, which is a place very close to my heart. The characters were fun to write, it was a whole wacky adventure. I actually love hanging in cemeteries when I visit New Orleans, so it will be like another day at the office. Surprisingly, I don’t think I’d choose to be a vampire on this one. Thinking back, I’d be a member of the Unseelie Court. Solitary fairies got a bad rap on my novel…I’m working on fixing that.
May: Since I would never want to be a character in my own books, I’ll tell you who I don’t want to be, Helena Hawthorn. She goes through way too much.
Lynn: Can I impose with a little something here? I’m counting on this interview reaching a number of people and chances only come by once in a while. I don’t know when the interview will be published, but there’s a chance that when it does, Louisiana and Baton Rouge specifically, might still be feeling the impact of the recent flooding. It is as bad as it looks. Lots of folks were left without a place to call home. If you find it within you to help, do so. Here’s a link that you might want to click: http://www.nola.com/weather/index.ssf/2016/08/louisiana_flooding_how_to_dona.html
9. Do you have any advice for writers who are considering writing their first vampire/horror novel?
Lynn: Go for it! My favorite phrase of encouragement is “Keep the blood flowing.” I’m not in the position to tell you which formula to follow. Go primal, tormented, sparkly or make something altogether new. Whatever rocks your boat.
Don’t ever forget research is your friend. There are great sources out there for creatures you have never heard of… Creature Feature by @wattvampires comes to mind. The Crypt Keepers are always bringing something new and exciting to inspire you.
We live in a virtual community, don’t be afraid to ask. Most of us vampire writers are big geeks who love to talk about our little darklings. Exchanging ideas fuels creativity.
Read like your life depends on it. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to build your own world.
Horror is this one category that lends itself to introspective writing. The best horror out there is the kind that reveals something about human nature. Try it. Don’t be afraid to step into the dark.
May: This reminds me of the Halloween Anthology that will be available to Wattpad readers on the @tebebrissomnia account. Don’t forget to come along for some awesome horror shorts from Wattpad’s finest Vampire/Horror/Thriller writers.
10. Please feel free to tell us about your ongoing and future projects.
Lynn: Yay! I’m still dancing over the fact that Court for Fairies was picked up by Limitless Publishing for a December release. That’s my main project right now.
I have just finished Glass and Iron, which I’ll start polishing, twisting and turning in the hopes that lightning might strike twice. This one is also running for The Wattys, so if any of you, kind souls would like to show your support, it is appreciated.
Sometime next year, I’ll close the fairy circle with one final installment. I’m working on Gates of Aval (so far I only have that clear ending and a first chapter that will feature in the Wattpad Block Party) I’m quite excited to see what will happen when we leave our realm behind and visit fairyland.
In the meantime, you can always find me around Wattpad. I’m either indulging the little librarian that lives inside me by working as a Content Ambassador, hanging upside down as one of the Crypt Keepers in @wattvampires or just at my ‘ole profile where you can chat me up any time!
May: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Lynn. I hope you’ve enjoyed the questions and had some fun.
Lynn: Thanks for considering me and for coming up with the most amazing questions. I had a lot of fun!
Now, lastly, I would like to introduce you all to Lynn’s book that’s published by Limitless Publishing.
A Court for Fairies
Marissa has always lived in her mother’s shadow—and that needs to change…
Paralegal Marissa Salgado is a quiet woman, an only child who has grown up in Adriana’s long shadow. When she meets and falls in love with Esteban, a fellow employee at the law firm, Marissa finally starts to break free from her shell. While Marissa’s mother is overjoyed to see her daughter happy and fulfilled, both Adriana and Marissa have a blood legacy that ties them to creatures of old—and love is indeed transformative when it comes to their kind.
Esteban never knew his father, nor was he aware of his half-human, half-fae heritage…
Esteban O’Reilly had no idea he was descended from the feared Alexander clan, a vicious faction of the Unseelie Court that demanded their payment in blood and sacrifice. When Esteban dies in a car accident, the women in his life are shattered, and his mother and grandmother are frantic to bring him back—no matter what it takes.
Magic has a price, and one life has to be exchanged for another…
Answering a request from Esteban’s mother, Marissa agrees to spend a weekend at Innisfree, the family’s country home. During her stay, she learns the fairies who haunted the O’Reillys for generations have now set their eyes on her. When the extent of Esteban’s sacrifice becomes clear, Marissa must make a choice—the truth, or the man she loves.
With her life in danger, will Marissa finally acknowledge those who once swore to protect her? Will her own secrets step out of the shadows, or will she be destroyed by the Court for Fairies?