LaVerne: I’m originally from Trinidad. I’m a wife and mother and I’ve been writing stories all my life. I’m now also a multi-published author (love saying that) and an avid reader of a variety of genres. I write contemporary, fantasy and sci/fi sensual interracial romances. But racial conflict is not an issue in my storylines. My fantasy work, Dragon’s Heart-Story of the Brethren, won first place in the 2008 Romance Slam Jam Aspiring Author Contest. Right now I’m working on several writing projects, more focused on fantasy and sci/fi.
Jen: Tell us about COME TO ME and where it’s available.
LaVerne: My recent release COME TO ME is a contemporary romance available from Freya’s Bower. It’s for those people who believe in love at first sight. But if you don’t then how about love at first sound?
It’s the story about a man and a woman lonely for love and who got to know each other over the phone before actually meeting in person. The story came about because I was talking to someone about how sight, sound and scents trigger memories then the opening scene got stuck in my head one night and I sat down and wrote the first few chapters in about 2 hours.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
LaVerne: I started writing stories and poems at a very early age, before I was really old enough to know what I was doing. But I think I was 12 when I wrote my first full-fledged story about my dad getting robbed while riding in a cab. I re-write the end movies or rewrite books in my head. My first publication, PROMISES was published on Sept. 26, 2008 from Red Rose Publishing. It’s actually a story I wrote for a creative writing class back in college a million years ago. The story idea was based on my cousin marrying a family friend.
Jen: Describe your writing in three words.
LaVerne: Strong sensual romance
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
LaVerne: Some stories are like flashes of lightening, I see it all as I begin to type, I’m just along for the ride. Others I have an idea, a plot I jot down then think about for awhile, but even then once I sit down to write it takes on a life of its own. Which is why I don’t do outlines. My characters never bother to pay attention to them and have a strong tendency to go off in other directions. HOLD ON, my contemporary romance with a touch of suspense and violence from Red Rose Publishing, never started out as a suspense but my female character decided there was more going on in her life than I’d planned.
Jen: Do you have a specific time or place that you write?
LaVerne: I prefer my home office, or basement if I need to hide. I write whenever I can.
Jen: How do you shut out disruptions?
LaVerne: I turn off the email alerts on my computer. I try to do most of my writing when no one’s home. If it’s a weekend I hide in the basement.
Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
LaVerne: I dance around the room and go screaming through the house while my family looks on and shakes their heads. The last time my husband went out and got my favorite carry out.
Jen: Who has inspired you as an author?
LaVerne: I don’t think there is a person, other authors yes, a specific person no. If anything my inspirations are God given. Life, the world around me.
Jen: What five authors or people, from the past or present, have been important to you as an author? What question or comment have you always wanted to say to them?
LaVerne: Jane Austin, Julie Garwood, Deborah Smith, Robert Jordon, Anne McCaffrey. There are others but you said 5. I would thank them all for sparking my imagination, and showing me the way. Austin showed me there can be romance without any sexuality involved in the storyline, and how society can and does influence our decisions on how we love and who we love. Garwood showed me alpha males love the best, and anyone who wants to read or write romance should take a look at a few of her works. When I grow up I want to write like her. To Smith, she showed me how love can grow and the beauty behind the words. Jordon the complexity of a story can still make sense and keep me coming back, there is a fine line between good and evil that we all must balance. And to stretch my imagination beyond the limits of what I know. And McCaffrey taught me about dragons.
Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?
LaVerne: Wake or sleep they’re with me. I hear pages of dialog in my head until I get it out on paper. One of my fantasy works involves shapeshifting dragons. I have woken up many nights with the sound of their roars ringing in my ear because they want me to finish their stories.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
LaVerne: I don’t know of many authors who don’t dream of making the NY Times bestsellers list. Well at least a positive mention by one of its reviewers.
Jen: What’s next for you?
LaVerne: I’ve co-written a story that will be part of a series coming soon from Red Rose Publishing, I’m working on a sci/fi romance and a fantasy. I hope to have both contracted for this year. And I have a few other things in front of publishers and in various stages.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
LaVerne: I love to hear from readers. My goal is always to learn, so do you prefer a romance with a HEA (Happy Ever After) or HFN (Happy For Now) ending?