Today, we have the honour of an interview with author Lanie Mores. Lanie has written the fantasy novels The Father of Contention and its sequel Guardian of Angel. Recently, I was speaking to Lanie via Instagram and she kindly agreed to answer some questions.
Where do you come from and has this place influenced your writings?
I was born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Being from such a small community, surrounded by majestic mountain ranges and wilderness, it was easy to add these settings into my book series, Father of Contention. Parts of my book series take place directly in Thunder Bay; although, I’ve changed the names of the streets and businesses within to keep it fictional. But I left in the small-town issues that we commonly experience, ranging all the way from limited psychiatric care to crazy camping parties.
You are a very talented and intelligent woman. You have an undergraduate degree in science and a master’s degree in clinical psychology, plus you are a qualified hypnotherapist. In what three ways have your qualifications helped you write your fantasy series?
I’ve always felt like a scientist at heart, and my writing directly reflects my love for the subject. For instance, my main character in Father of Contention is a geneticist; and the series is based on recombinant DNA technology and the dangers of what could happen if this technology ended up in the wrong hands.
My psychology degree comes into play during character development. Having a deep understanding of the inner workings of the mind helps me to show what drives and motivates my characters to indulge in their various behaviours. Plus, mental health disorders and issues are a common thread throughout my stories. Being a certified hypnotherapist has helped me understand altered states of consciousness. Moreover, it has improved my ability to describe dream sequences and drug induced states, as well as near-death experiences.
This blogger: On so many levels that’s really impressive, Lanie. You prove that going down the scientific route, rather than the more conventional English literature or creative writing routes, is an excellent way to learn how to write a story.
You are also a personal trainer. Has being a personal trainer improved your story-writing skills? And if so, how?
Being a personal trainer has not had a direct influence on my storytelling. However, it has served as an outlet and a break from writing, where I can get out of my head and be more physical.
It helps me experience that much needed social time while I’m training my clients. In addition, when I’m doing my own workouts, it brings much needed oxygen to my brain to facilitate the writing process for when I get back to my laptop.
That being said, in my fourth book, one of my characters is a personal trainer and bodybuilder. So, in developing that specific character, my personal training side has come in handy (*smiles*).
When did you first get the idea to write Father of Contention? And from the moment you got the idea to the moment it was finished (i.e. ready for publication), how long did it take?
My book series started out as a trilogy. I wrote Guardian of Angel first, and had the concepts and rough drafts ready for the rest of the series. But then I realized there was so much backstory that I wanted to include that it made better sense to write a prequel, which became Father of Contention.
From start to publication, it took approximately seven years for that book. I was only writing as a hobby at first and was working on the entire series as whole.
This blogger: Seven years is pretty quick for writing an entire novel from start to finish, let alone with publication as well. That is not to be sniffed at! You are a very efficient writer, especially as it is something that you do in your spare time.
Your fantasy series begins with Father of Contention and continues with Guardian of Angel? Please can you name three reasons why you think readers enjoy your series?
Based on reader feedback, the three main reasons readers enjoy my series are because:
- My characters have depth and show growth throughout the story;
- The books are fast-paced and suspenseful, and the storylines are captivating; and
- The underlying theories on the afterlife are thought-provoking and intriguing.
This blogger: Yeah, those sound like brilliant reasons for why people would enjoy your story. And very succinctly put too! (*Smiles*.)
On a meta level, what does the series mean to you?
The series is an embodiment of my morals and beliefs. It expresses my philosophy on religion, science and the afterlife, and how they are combined to explain the whole of our existence.
If I could draw a Venn diagram, it would show science on one side, religion on the other side, and an overlapping space in between where my books would exist. Although they are usually mutually exclusive concepts, I’m trying to marry the topics of science and religion together so that one explains the other, instead of disproving it.
A while ago, I wrote a couple of blog posts about how to write a villain/antagonist. What traits does your villain/antagonist have that makes him empathetic, understandable and/or admirable?
In Father of Contention, my main antagonist is Renner Scholtz, a brilliant scientist that originally has a good heart, is ambitious, and hard-working, even though he experienced a traumatic childhood. Once he becomes possessed by a dark spirit and starts losing control of his thoughts and behaviours, he still has moments where his human side kicks in. That’s when he feels guilt, remorse, and sadness, which can lead the reader to feel empathy toward him.
He struggles to regain control, but the demon pushes away the compassionate feelings so that he can continue to do his evil works. The reader feels sorry for Renner as he becomes a puppet of the devil. As a result, he loses everything in the process: his sanity, his greatest love (Milena), and eventually his life.
This blogger: That sounds like a Shakespearean tragedy, and I mean that as a huge compliment and testament to your abilities, Lanie.
If you could go back in time to speak with a young Lanie Mores, what advice would you give her about the writing process?
Follow your heart. Do what you want to do in life, not what others tell you. And trust in the writing process. Your writing doesn’t have to be perfect right off the bat. You can always go back and edit and make it better the second and third time around.
Also, keep writing, no matter what, whether you get discouraged, get a bad review, or are told that you will never make it as a writer.
What did you find harder – writing the first book or its sequel, and why?
Writing the first book, Father of Contention, was harder for me because of its strong scientific base. Even though I have a science degree, I still had to do plenty of research in order for the book to make sense and seem plausible; although, I did take a few liberties, embellishing where necessary. It is a work of fiction, after all 😊.
Also, the first book is the main introduction to my readers about the theories and philosophies underlying the entire series. So, I needed to ensure the concepts were believable and easily understood.
What do you find more challenging – writing books or marketing them?
Writing is the easy part. I adore writing; being locked up in the computer room, typing away to my heart’s content.
Marketing, on the other hand, is a daunting process for me. I have trouble praising myself, which is a necessity when promoting my novels; and doing book launches and public signings conjures up a world of anxiety for me. I am a bit of a social phobe, and all.
Of course, after the fact, I am always surprised by how much fun I had connecting with new people and being able to share my stories with the public.
This blogger: That’s very honest of you to admit both that you find marketing daunting, but that afterwards you feel good about having been sociable and having done book signings, etc… Thank you for sharing that with us.
I have read that you are currently writing the third book in the series. When can we expect it to be released?
The third book in the series, Sea of Forgetfulness, is expected to be out on the market by this summer (2020). The story of Angelika, Anthony and Veronica continues. I’m super excited, as this is my favourite book in the series. It is packed full of action and adventure, and will keep readers on their toes.
Outside of writing, what do you like to do?
First and foremost, I’m obsessed with reading, especially science fiction and fantasy novels. And I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I watch an exorbitant amount of television, again in the science fiction and fantasy genre.
Moreover, I love to watch movies, play video games, try out new restaurants, travel, and hang out with my family and friends.
This blogger: You can admit anything that you like. There’s no shame to anything that you do. In fact, it sounds like you have a terrific, enjoyable and fulfilling life. Keep it up for as long as you can.
End of Interview
That brings an end to our interview with author Lanie Mores. I would like to say that it has been delightful speaking with her. I wish her nothing but the best going forwards with her writings, career, personal training, video games, TV watching and travels.
You can purchase Lanie’s books on Amazon. If you like fantasy that’s fast-paced, has compelling characters, and a healthy mix of science and religion, Father of Contention and Guardian of Angel are waiting for you to read them. So check them out now!
Otherwise, like Lanie on Facebook; follow her on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram; and visit her Goodreads page and her website. That way, you will be able to keep up to date with her and be the first to know precisely when her next book – Sea of Forgetfulness – will be released.
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