Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Interview With Debut Author Lexi George

Today we're celebrating one of our own! 
Lexi George's debut novel Demon Hunting in Dixie is in stores now. 
A warrior, a demon, and the girl next door. . .

Looking For Trouble

Addy Corwin is a florist with an attitude. A bad attitude, or so her mama says, 'cause she's not looking for a man. Mama's wrong. Addy has looked. There's just not much to choose from in Hannah, her small Alabama hometown. Until Brand Dalvahni shows up, a supernaturally sexy, breathtakingly well-built hunk of a warrior from—well, not from around here, that's for sure. Mama thinks he might be European or maybe even a Yankee. Brand says he's from another dimension.

Addy couldn't care less where he's from. He's gorgeous. Serious muscles. Disturbing green eyes. Brand really gets her going. Too bad he's a whack job. Says he's come to rescue her from a demon. Puh-lease. But right after Brand shows up, strange things start to happen. Dogs talk and reanimated corpses stalk the quiet streets of Hannah. Her mortal enemy Meredith, otherwise known as the Death Starr, breaks out in a severe and inexplicable case of butt boils. Addy might not know what's going on, but she definitely wants a certain sexy demon hunter by her side when it all goes down. . .
Lexi's stopped by today to answer some questions about her path to publication: 
When did you start writing, and when did you first consider yourself a writer?
I started writing in the third grade—bad poetry about hydrangea bushes and Erik the Red.  I wrote poetry all the way through high school and college.  And then I decided to go to law school and the words dried up.  Law school does that to you.  Sucks you dry like a dementor.  I started writing again when my oldest child was a toddler and I haven’t stopped since.  I’ve been writing steadily for about fifteen years now.  As for when I considered myself a writer, why since that first awful poem, of course!
How many manuscripts had you completed before Demon Hunting in Dixie was accepted by Brava?
Three, including Demon Hunting in Dixie, but I worked on that first book, a fantasy, for ten years!
Can you tell us a little bit about your path to publication? Where there any points you felt like calling it quits? And, if so, what kept you going?
Like I said before, I’ve been writing more than fifteen years.  About five years ago, I started the querying rounds with my fantasy.  I got rejected.  Big time.  Something like a hundred ‘no thanks.’  Discouraged, I decided to write a paranormal romance set in a fictional small Southern town and people it with whacky characters.  It took me a year to write—I work full-time and have two daughters.  I entered it in some contests and got some positive feedback and was pretty psyched, so in January of 2010, I decided to start querying.  I got nine or ten requests for partials and fulls from agents and I was over the moon! 
Then the rejections started pouring in.  Light paranormal doesn’t sell.  Who knew?  I was beyond depressed.  Got on the Southern Magic loop in February and whined, and Carla Swafford sent me an email.  She said the Gulf Coast chapter was interviewing editor Megan Records of Kensington on the Southern Sizzle blog, and I should read Megan’s interview and query her.
I’d never queried an editor.  I was so hyper focused on getting an agent. 
The interviewer asked Megan, “What’s hot?”
She replied, “Hot: dark paranormals.  I am seeing a larger variety of creatures these days: angels, genies, etc, but werewolves and vampires still dominate. I hardly ever see funny paranormals. Shame, because I like those too!”
 Whoa, hold the phone, I thought.  I write funny! 
 So, I sent Megan an email query on a Friday.  On Sunday she emailed back and asked for the full.  On March 11th, 2010, I was on the way to the doctor when I got a call on my cell phone.  It was an out-of-state number and I almost didn’t answer it.  Figured it was one of those Nigerian bank schemes or a survey.  Luckily, I took the call, and it was Megan.  She offered me a three-book deal right then and there.  Good thing I wasn’t driving.  I would’ve wrecked the car.
After I sold the book, I got an agent, so I did it backwards.
What has been the biggest or most pleasant surprise about being published?
It has all been a surprise!  But working with Megan has been absolutely wonderful.  I was a little nervous about revisions and deadlines, but she has been a real joy to work with.  Seeing my first cover was fun.  The most pleasant, surprise, however, was the day I found the box of arcs on my front porch and got to hold my book in my hands.  I cried like a baby.  Nothing like it! 
It seems like there's been a lot of buzz lately about the importance of authors using social media and the web to help market themselves and their books.  What has your publisher expected you to take on in terms of marketing and what are some of the things you've learned so far?
I’m still learning about the marketing stuff.  I have sent my arcs off to various reviewers and I took an ad out in Romance Sells!  Oh, and RT has a nice deal.  For $100.00, you send them 400 postcards and they mail them out to romance friendly bookstores.  I am also blogging as much as I can to get the word out.
What advice would you give to unpublished writers that you think doesn't get said enough?
Write every day, but if you can’t write every day, write as much as you can.  Writing is a muscle that you have to use often or it will atrophy.  Set yourself a goal, daily, weekly, or monthly and strive for it.  You won’t always make it, but it will get your butt in the chair.  Be prepared for the struggle to get published and for the struggles on the other side of the fence, but try and keep a positive attitude.  I know it sounds hokey, but visualize your success.  Send those positive vibes out into the universe.  We are romance writers because we believe in hope and love and goodness.  Have faith in yourself and in your work, put in the time and the sweat and put yourself out there, and it will happen for you.  There’s enough goody to go around.  Nothing about this is easy, but it is so worth it. 
Also, join a writer’s group.  Feedback and constructive criticism is essential and it helps to have someone to share the madness with.  Go to conferences.  Attend writing workshops and network.  If not for my contacts in Southern Magic I wouldn’t be published!
What are you going to do to celebrate Demon Hunting in Dixie's release?
I love champagne, but I’ve never had anything but the grocery store kind.  I’m going to buy myself an expensive bottle of champagne (by expensive, I mean something that costs more than a few bucks) and drink it!  If my husband is good, I may let him have a swig.  Hee hee.
  Congratulations on your debut, and we hope you're enjoying that bottle of champagne!


Heather said...

Great interview Lexi and Lisa! I have a question for Lexi - you mentioned the importance of a writing group; has your ability to work with your writing group changed since you've been published? Are there any restrictions on what you can share/do in your writing group?

Lexi said...

Interesting question, Heather, and something I hadn't thought about. I don't think my ABILITY to work with a writing group has changed. But I am pushed for time these days and, by necessity, not as active in the group as I once was, simply because I work full-time and am trying to make a deadline. As for restrictions, no, none so far, but my writing group is local and not on the internet. I'm sure it depends upon the publisher, but I imagine most publishers would not want their authors posting contracted work on the internet. Fortunately, I haven't had that problem!

Debbie Herbert said...

Can't wait for Amazon to ship my copy! :)

Debbie Herbert

Lexi said...

Thanks, Deb. Glad you're in my corner!

Carla Swafford said...

Hey, Lexi. It couldn't happen to a nicer person. Congratulations! I can't wait to read the whole book. (I snuck a look when you entered and finaled in the Linda Howard Award of Excellence.)

Louisa Cornell said...

WOOOT ! What a great day, Lexi !! You have worked SO hard for this and now it is here! You deserve every bit of success in the world. It's been a long road, but you made it! I was fortunate enough to read the book in its first incarnation and it is one wild, sexy, funny read!!

Congratulations on your BIG DAY !! The first of many I am certain !

Lexi said...

Carla, You are too wonderful and too clever. Imagine, sneaking a peek! I would not be here if not for you and I well know it. Thanks for being the generous person you are. Glad to call you friend!

Lexi said...

Louisa, thanks, as always, for your support. I am so fortunate to have loved ones to share this with and my writer friends are the best!

HighlandHussy said...

great interview! Really enjoyed it, and I loved Demon Hunting in Dixie.