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Today, I would like to welcome Author Lindsay Below to my blog. Lindsay writes young adult and middle grade fiction. Under the name L.K. Below, she also publishes romance and adult speculative fiction. Visit her online at www.lbelow.net or on her young adult blog at http://yanoveling.blogspot.com

Join me in welcoming Lindsay Below.


C.K. Volnek.


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Hi Lindsay, and welcome. Please tell your readers something interesting about yourself AND/OR your favorite character.

I’m a vegetarian. I have been for the past seven years, and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon. Although for a year or so beforehand, I shunned most meats, I became a full-fledged vegetarian when I was thirteen years old. I won’t pretend it was easy. At the time, my father in particular kept trying to bargain with me and cajole me into changing back. But I clung to my morals. Eventually, he (and everyone else) accepted the change. Though it often makes eating out at restaurants difficult.

What was your favorite book as a teen? Tell us about it and how it affected you as a person.

My favorite book as a teen was The Secret of Dragonhome by John Peel. In it, the main character, Melayne, was a fifteen-year-old vegetarian, so it spoke to me. Melayne was always stubborn and rebellious, and I’d like to think that I speak my mind the way she does.


Tell us about the genre you have chosen to write for. Why do write specifically for them?

I write any genre that calls to me. I love to read a good story, and so I write the ones that interest me. I think about entertaining myself first, though I hope that others will enjoy my books just as much. 
 

Tell us about your new book. How did it come about and share your favorite excerpt/scene.

Head Over Hand-Bought Heelsis a book about acceptance and friendship. When Katie starts working at Vivian’s Boutique, she quickly makes three new take-charge friends. But when Courtney kisses her, she doesn’t know how to accept it. Does she like the kiss? Does she like Courtney? And how is she supposed to salvage their friendship if she doesn’t?

This book began as a dream on October 30th. I’d already decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month that November, and even though I knew nothing but the first scene and the descriptions of the four main characters, I embarked on the crazy journey. The book swept me away, and I finished it extremely quickly, surprising even myself. Below is my favorite scene, showcasing my favorite character in the book, Courtney’s brother Jeremy. 

Excerpt from Head Over Hand-Bought Heels:

I’ll admit, I’m a terrible morning person. It takes me forever to get up. I’m completely blind to reason until at least ten o’clock, which means that on school days I spend about an hour completely out of it, sleepwalking until the energy from breakfast starts to kick in. The morning after our little sleepover was no different.

            “Rise and shine, sleepyhead,” Courtney cooed. I mumbled and snuggled my head deeper into the blanket. She switched to a different tactic. “Last one to say ‘aye’ gets to have a makeover!” Three chirping “ayes” wormed their way into my brain and I lifted my head.

            “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I grumped. “Did you not hear me yesterday when I told you I don’t go shopping?

            “You do with us,” Courtney countered. “Trust me, Jane didn’t shop very much either, before she met us.”

            “Neither did I,” Tia joked.

            Courtney rolled her eyes. “Please, Tee. You invented shopping. Besides,” she addressed me, “your shoes are hideous. Seriously. The ugliest things I have ever seen. What, did you shop for them in the men’s section?”

            “I have big feet,” I grumbled.

            “Oh, you did!” Courtney wailed. “That just isn’t right! They make shoes for women with big feet, too, you know, Kate. Nice shoes. Non-ugly shoes. I suggest you get some. And don’t even look crosswise at the men’s shoe section unless you’re buying something for your dad for his birthday.” When I just continued to look blankly at her, my brain not yet at fully functional, she continued, “Come on, Katie doll, time to get up. I made pancakes.”

            The word pancakes managed to make an impression on my sleep-fogged brain. It was that incentive alone that prompted me to get my feet under me and allow myself to be dragged into the kitchen by Tia. I stopped short in the doorway.

            “There’s a guy in your kitchen.” He had the same eyes and dark hair as Courtney, and even the same edge to his nose, though his was smaller in proportion to his face. He had to be her brother, though this early in the morning, I couldn’t quite get past the fact that he was there, in the kitchen. I really shouldn’t be this much of a mess when I was meeting new people.

            “And he’s eating my pancakes!” Courtney screeched. She elbowed her way through me and Tia and raced across the kitchen to slap her brother roughly on the arm. “Jeremy, put those down! They’re not for you.”

            Ignoring her, he said, “They’re very good,” around a mouthful of food. He nodded absently to me.

            Getting over my initial shock in record time for a Sunday morning, I sat myself on a stool. “I’d put that down if you don’t want your penis cut off,” I yawned.

            He froze, almost laughed, and then frowned. He looked at his sister. “Did she just threaten me?” He looked around at Tia and Jane. “Who is this girl?”

            I realized with dawning horror that he probably thought I had. I really needed to watch my mouth in the mornings. It tended to work without the approval of my brain. “It’s just what they were thinking of doing to you last night,” I defended myself.

            “Not me,” Jane added softly. “I had nothing to do with it.”

            “Fine, then,” I corrected. “It was just what Tia and Courtney were thinking of doing to you.”

            “I actually vetoed the suggestion, tempting though it was,” Courtney put in.

            “Fine, I’ll take the hit,” Tia said morosely, taking a seat and crossing her legs. She leaned forward. “I admit it. I was thinking of your penis last night.”

            I couldn’t help but giggle. When she put it that way, it sounded completely different from the way she had actually meant it at the time. Even Jeremy grinned.

            “Why exactly were we thinking of doing bodily harm to me? I could swear I haven’t done anything bad to you, Court, for at least a month.”

            “You hid my favorite Stacie Bass Queen flip flops from me last month!”

            He nodded. “Like I said, a month.”

            She glared at him. “You only gave them back last week.”

            I liked their sibling rivalry. It was the sort of thing I wished to have with Brad, but he was so much older than I was. He had been thinking about University when I was two. We only saw each other at Thanksgiving and Christmas, a birthday card exchanged in between. Nothing special. Nothing close.

            “You still haven’t answered my question,” he poked Courtney in the arm. “Why were you upset?”

            “Who said I was upset?”

            “You only threaten dismemberment whenever something’s bothering you. What is it? Spill.”

            Her chin quivered as she thought her words over. “Kenley broke up with me,” she admitted in a small voice.

            “For a guy,” Tia added meaningfully.

            “The slut,” Jeremy grumbled. I agreed with him wholeheartedly. “Is there anything I can do?”

            “Nope,” Courtney answered with false brightness. “We watched cartoons all last night, and today we’re giving Katie a makeover.” I grimaced.

            He looked me over. “She certainly needs it.”

            Biting my lip, I glanced down. I knew I was no Tia, but he didn’t have to say it out loud. But I wouldn’t cry. I shook my head. It didn’t hurt that much, I told myself. No matter what, I wouldn’t cry over something as stupid as that, something I knew already. Even if it had been delivered by a cute boy.

            “Oh, God,” he murmured. There was an edge of desperation to his voice. “I didn’t mean-- If I’d said that to Tia, she’d just take it in stride and insult me back.”

            I glanced up at him, likely more than half a glare in my eyes. “Tia wouldn’t actually need a makeover.”

            “She’s shy,” Courtney explained as if I hadn’t said anything. “Shyer than Jane.”

            “I am not shyer than Jane!” I protested. “She never talks! You never talk,” I added, remembering how much it had just annoyed me to have them talking about me right in front of me.

            She shrugged, her thin shoulders lifting upward. “I may not talk just for the sake of hearing my voice, but I’m not shy.” She gave a pointed look to the other two girls in the room. “They know it. You, though, are shy. All you did last night was try to make up excuses not to be in the spotlight with us.”

            “Like you’re going to do in about twenty minutes when we take you shopping,” Tia added.

            “And now, fair ladies, as I have been forgotten,” Jeremy said grandly, standing up and slowly backing to the door, “and my stomach is full of stolen pancakes, I shall bid you all adieu.” He turned and walked from the room before his sister could berate him for eating their breakfast.

            “He’s taking a Shakespeare class,” Courtney explained with a roll of her eyes.

 

How has writing affected your life? And what’s your favorite part of being a writer?

Writing hasn’t affected my life. Writing is my life. If I didn’t write down all the characters and plotlines floating around in my head, I think I’d explode! My favorite part of being a writer is being swept away in the story. That’s why I write.

 

What advice can you give regarding the writing process?

Don’t be afraid to experiment. When I get stressed or strained, I switch up genres, length of story (short story or novella versus a full novel), etc. It helps to purge the mind of whatever’s blocking you from writing.  


Regarding publication and marketing, what advice can you offer aspiring writers?

Read through your contracts. Thoroughly. Do it again, and again. Make sure you’re comfortable with each of the terms and if you don’t understand a clause or two, bring it to a lawyer. Your contract is very important. And if you find something you aren’t comfortable with, ask the publisher to change the wording. Most are willing to do so.

As for marketing, back list is your best friend. The more there is to read, the more there is to sell! Make friends with fellow writers and offer to help them promote -- they’ll often return the favor.

Best of all, good luck!
 

How can your fans find, follow or friend you?

Check out my website, www.lbelow.net/lindsaybelow/contact. I’ve got all the information and links there.

Thanks for having me on your blog today, Charlie. Happy writing, everyone!

Thanks for joining us today, Lindsay.
C.K. Volnek