You’re in for a treat. Today, I sat down with Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and #1 Amazon Kindle best-selling author Kerry Lonsdale to talk about her new novel, her writing methods, and tips for aspiring authors.

LAST SUMMER is your first book after the tremendously successful EVERYTHING series. What is it like to leave those characters behind and set out with a new stand-alone novel?

Great question! Surprisingly, it wasn’t difficult to leave the Everything characters behind. After spending several years with Aimee, James, and Ian, it was refreshing to move onto a new cast. Although, I did have to spend more time getting to know my characters for LAST SUMMER than I did with the characters in my last two books. But that’s the fun part of writing for me, doing all the ground work for the story before I draft the initial words.

Where did the idea for LAST SUMMER come from?

The idea for LAST SUMMER arose while I was researching EVERYTHING WE LEFT BEHIND. I stumbled across a condition that sparked the “what if” game. And that’s all I can say without giving away any spoilers. 😉

You’re known as a writer of page-turning suspense. As a writer, how do you keep the pages turning?

As I write, I continuously ask myself if I’d find the plot unpredictable. My writing style is also lean. I strive to keep out unnecessary words, and I definitely steer away from lingering too long in a character’s head. Pacing is always at the forefront of my mind. And finally, I always have my thumb on the book’s pulse. Every story has a rhythm. I aim to maintain that beat from page one to done.

Your characters are complex and multi-layered. How do you approach writing character?

With plenty of charts and questionnaires. I have lists of questions I need answered about each character before I start writing. I need to know their flaws, false beliefs, internal motivations, and goals before I even outline a story because what’s going on inside a character’s head has so much impact on the decisions a character makes in the story. They also impact the plot. I’ll also draft several scenes of a character’s backstory before I write the story itself. Sometimes those scenes end up in the book. Oftentimes they don’t. Either way, I have a better understanding of the characters once I’m ready to begin the fast first draft.

Given your process, at what point do you feel like a manuscript is finished?

Ha! Never?

I’ll submit the manuscript to my editor only after my beta readers give me their feedback. I might make a few tweaks, but I submit knowing it still needs work. A fresh set of eyes always sees things I never can at that phase. And my editor is pretty savvy. His feedback is spot on.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Keep writing and keep learning. There is always room for improvement when it comes to writing style and storytelling. Also, be open to feedback, listen with an objective ear so that you can determine what feedback resonates with you. It’s hard, but a worthwhile skill to acquire. Feedback can improve your story. It can also destroy it. A successful writer will learn how to weed through the two.

What’s next for you?

Plenty of more romantic women’s fiction and women’s fiction suspense. Let’s just say I’m blessed to have the opportunity to continue writing for the same publisher. I can’t wait to share these stories with my readers.

 

Same 🙂 Check out LAST SUMMER, coming this Tuesday from Lake Union Publishing, and if you haven’t read the EVERYTHING series, it’s on sale right now on Amazon.