This week for Mojo Monday I am excited to introduce Loki Renard. Now I know many of you have read her books. Her Military Discipline series is hot! I believe it was the first book I ever read of Loki’s and once I finished that one, I was all over Blushing Books and Amazon downloading like a crack addict. I was hooked!
Her writing is so diverse. She writes about soldiers and brats, and cowboys and spies. Even vampires and elves! One of my favorite books is Obeying Rigel. Now I stumbled upon this book because I did not realize at the time that it is lesbian DD. But don’t let that deter you if you don’t usually buy lesbian DD, you will love it. The characters are interesting and bratty and tough and fun. The writing is very well done with nicely developed plots and full wonderful characters you just want to get to know better. And lucky for us, her final book in the Rigel series was just released. Leaving Rigel.
Hearts and bottoms are on the line!
In the aftermath of the charismatic albeit unabashedly promiscuous Rigel’s disastrous attempt at a proposal, both Rigel and her ex-girlfriend Sadie are left emotionally devastated and acting out in their own ways.
Meanwhile, gentle dyke Tank seems to be getting called off the romance bench by Sadie’s best friend, Kate, who is far too young for her – and far too straight, for that matter.
Is Kate really interested in Tank romantically? And what about Rigel, who wastes no time declaring her own undying attraction for Tank too?
Whilst Tank tries to navigate her way through that romantic minefield, she has Sadie to worry about. Bright, witty, no-limits Sadie, who seems to have slammed the lever down on her own self destruct mechanism, and who is going to need correcting in no uncertain terms.
Now a little chat with Loki! Thank you Loki for joining us today.
Bree: What inspired you to write your first book?
Loki: It just sort of happened. Turns out if you just keep writing long enough, books tend to emerge.
Bree: Thats very true. I keep encouraging Nikki to try her hand at writing. How long have you been writing?
Loki: Since they gave me a crayon and started blathering on about the importance of being able to form letters correctly. Turns out all you need to do is mash a keyboard. Ha!
Bree: LOL! How do you come up with your titles? I sometimes find this challenging. You want them to be catchy but have meaning that is obvious to the reader.
Loki: Titles are hard. In fact, my next book might just be called that: “Titles Are Hard.”
Bree: Is there a particular author you really love or that have influenced your writing style?
Loki: There are lots of authors that I love. Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, and Joseph Heller are three that come immediately to mind. I don’t think I really have a writing ‘style’ at the moment. I tend to write a lot of very different sorts of books in a lot of different ways, using very different ‘voices’ at times. I am easily bored.
Bree: Is writing your primary career or do you have a “day job?”
Loki: Writing is my primary career. I’ve been a full time self employed writer for years now. However, I don’t only write fiction. It’s important to have a varied repertoire, both to avoid boredom and to hedge against the impact of the bottom falling out of a particular market. Unless you’re an A-List author, having all your eggs in one basket isn’t a good idea.
Bree: I am jealous! I am still working part time at my “day job” and look forward to the day when I can write full time.
Bree: What are you working on right now?
Loki: Well I am about to start the third Military Discipline book for Blushing Books, I’m finishing a series about a pop star and her stern bodyguard for Bethany’s Woodshed. I also have my ongoing free fantasy series, Lesbia. (More on that later 😉
Bree: What is the most difficult or challenging thing in your writing?
Loki: This question took me the longest to answer. I think for me the most challenging thing in my personal writing life is coming to terms with genre. I like romance as much as anything, but it’s occasionally more stifling than that scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thurman is buried alive in that wooden coffin and then she has to one inch punch her way out of it. The solution to that issue was simple: write other things too.
Bree: Do you have any advice for new writers?
Loki: Well, like every other writer, I’d say the best thing to do is to write. If you keep doing it long enough, you’ll find that you grow in sophistication. A lot of people worry about not being good at writing – and a lot of people worry about what other people might say about their writing. And whilst it’s true that there’s no shortage of people who will say whatever silly critical thing comes into their heads, the worst thing you can do is write for critics.
Write for the people who love your work. Write for whatever burns inside you. And remember, if people don’t like what you write, it’s usually because it wasn’t for them in the first place. Or because you called all your characters ‘Bob’ – that’s such a common newbie mistake.
Oh, and you will suck. Everybody sucks at first. That’s the idea. Don’t let it get in the way of your aspirations. If you get rejected, keep going. Like most authors, I was rejected a whole lot before anyone agreed to publish me. What kept me going was the love of the stories I had in my head. I also fell in love with the process of writing. Nowadays I don’t feel ‘right’ if I haven’t written.
If you experience writer’s block, you’re doing it wrong. (In my opinion.) I’ve never felt I suffered from writer’s block because to me that feeling of having nothing to write or not knowing how to get it down just means that the story isn’t ready yet. It will come in time. Stories have their own momentum, their own desire to be born, if you will. You’ve got to give your book its due gestational period. If it turns out that you lose interest in a story, allow yourself to lose interest in it. Being a writer doesn’t mean chaining yourself to a computer and flagellating yourself for a lack of creativity – although who knows, that might be a good way to get the juices flowing.
Bree: Well said Loki, and I completely agree. Criticism is difficult even I imagine for the most seasoned writers, but especially so for the new author. But don’t give up.
Bree: When you are writing a book, do you start with an outline first or do you just start writing and see where it leads you?
Loki: Well, when you write romance, the end is sort of a foregone conclusion. People get twitchy if the hero and heroine don’t end up together, so I tend to just start somewhere interesting and have intriguing things happen along the way. If I’m writing some of my books that aren’t strictly romantic (like the Rigel series, where I toss all the romance rules out the window, where relationships can and do fail,) well, I don’t plan those either. In my experience, once a story gets going it tends to wrench itself out of your hands if you hold on too tightly anyway, so I prefer a freer flowing form of creation.
Bree: Some of your stories are lesbian themed. Are these written from personal experience? I ask this because I have never had a f/f experience but really loved your f/f stories.
(Prepare yourself for a really long answer to a question you didn’t really ask 😉
Loki: There are several reasons I like to write F/F stories:
I like to write F/F stories because I am a woman, and I feel as if I understand a feminine perspective better than a male one. Though I am fond of many of my male leads, I feel as if I write better female characters.
Frankly I think a lot of male characters end up being fairly one dimensional cyphers for protective masculinity instead of actual, you know, characters with hopes and fears and flaws. Sometimes it seems as if the only flaws allowed for male romance characters are being too rich, too charming and perhaps too arrogant. Or too tall. Or too really, really incredibly good looking.
I enjoy writing about dominant / submissive interactions between women, because it is fun to put women in the driver’s seat, to explore different types of feminine strength and occasionally dominance. There’s also a very different dynamic between two women and a woman and a man.
I feel as if I can be more ‘myself’ as it were with F/F stories, because I’m not tied to the restrictions of genre (or other heteronormative conventions.) I don’t write F/F fiction as a commercial concern, so if what I write makes people hate my face, or is completely ignored, that’s okay.
And lastly, but certainly not least – the F/F audience is a small, but very passionate one. I get a great deal of feedback from them, which I love. Writing is, at its core, communication. In traditional writing models you get a sort of one way stream, in which the author puts the book out into the world and that’s sort of it. With newer ways of writing, like web series, you have much more interaction.
With my Lesbia series, I get the pleasure of seeing people reacting to the series as it unfolds. I’ve been writing it since September 2011, so almost two years soon-ish. And in that time I’ve had the scope and support to see the story really transcend almost anything else I’ve written in terms of character depth and development. It’s an epic, in the old sense of the word, and I love it.
Nikki: Wow, it seems all of your reasons for writing f/f, are the very reasons I enjoy reading them. Awesome!
Bree and I want to thank Loki for spending time with us and answering all of our pressing questions. Here are a few more links to Lokis blogs. If you haven’t tried any of her books, give her a try. You will thank me later!
Links: http://sapphosbrats.com/lesbia (Lesbia)
http://lokirenard.com (My official site.)