Author Spotlight: Azriel Hope

  • fantasy and paranormal romance writer for books AND the small screen

Readers! Let’s give a good hearty welcome to Azriel Hope.

Lorie Hope writes fantasy and paranormal romances as Azriel Hope. She has ghostwritten for several contemporary romance authors and decided to begin her own romance brand. Lorie also writes Young Adult novels under her given name.

Lorie has been a writer for over ten years, she’s a single adoptive mother of two, soon to be three gorgeous girls and loves to travel the world when not schlepping her kids to school or contemplating life over a nice cold glass of chardonnay. Lorie spent many years working in television development and now writes for a living. 

Lorie, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with bios and such, and while I’ll get to that as always, let’s start with the important stuff!

If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?

Um well, I’d definitely have a dragon. I mean they are very impractical because…where do you put them? And they seem cantankerous, but of course, as the movies tell us, they can be tamed.

But yes, I am ready for a Dragon all the way, I’d fly through the sky on my dragon, we’d flame stuff (but you know nothing that would cause permanent damage) and I’d just be a badass with my badass dragon…hello! 

Classic choice. As an occasional fire-dragon myself, I completely understand the urge.

What do you write and how did you get started?

I write everything…seriously. I have written everything, like stuff I was like…what? I mean if you pick three words out of a hat and give them to me with a genre I can write a book about it. BUT I love fantasy, that’s my favorite.

For my ghostwriting job I had to write contemporary romance with a lot of steam and I um…well…sort of like it, but what I love is writing fantasy with a little steam and a lot of love.

For YA, I love writing love in just a little sweeter way, both really work for me. In fact, at the moment I am co-writing a Christmas movie for Hallmark and you know there is NO STEAM in a Hallmark movie and I laughed out loud during our meeting with production because I felt like the whore who was invited to the Hallmark Christmas Social. I mean the steam I’ve had to write in stuff and now…well we can’t even have a kiss until the very very end and only a peck. It still makes me laugh.

But, I’ve written horror, comedy, a dance novel about steppin’… I’ve seriously written everything.

What I love most about what I write is how it breaks down barriers and paradigms. A lot of my characters, written in a mainstream way, are sexually fluid or ethnically diverse. In fact, as a mom of two biracial daughters, it’s important to me that YA novels have ethnic diversity. And in romance, there are a lot of heterosexual couples and a lot of gay couples, but sexually fluid romances are pretty rare, though becoming less so. I love writing characters that just love.

At the moment my Immortal Romance Series has these delicious bisexual men in it and a sweet F/F romance that is intertwined with the main couple and I just love it because mainstream readers get to see the different sides of love.

I started writing in the fourth grade. I had actually won the Orange County fair as the best writer in my age group for a book called How To Keep A Schmoo, but my teacher had entered my book and never told me. Since I never knew she entered my book, I didn’t know I had won. I didn’t collect my award, so the library called my mom and asked if I wanted my trophy and my book after they had it on display for a few months. I cried tears of joy and sadness that I had won, but never knew. I’ve been writing ever since. 

Wow, you’re definitely a skilled veteran — since 4th grade! Ghostwriting seems like a better fit for certain genres, and I’m glad you enjoyed it. But, it must be a real treat to put your own name on your own works.

And congrats on writing a Hallmark Christmas Special! I’m sure doing research for that… well, got a little repetitive after a while.

What do you like to read?

I like to read, young adult novels and fantasy. Weird huh, it’s also what I like to write 🙂 Actually even though I’ve written several best selling contemporary romance novels for my boss (as a ghostwriter) I have never actually read a contemporary romance. I’ve read parts of a few, but never the whole thing…hahaha.

You know this is the right place for YA and fantasy novel-lovers. 🙂 I’ve read a few contemporary romances, but they aren’t usually my jam, either. I need at least a little fantasy in my contemporary stories to really pull me in.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.

Using the formula

…hmmm. I guess I’m not very good at following a formula.  I think I might just intrinsically follow a formula, but I can’t write with any kind of formula in mind, like the hero’s journey, or the build-up to a climax, or acts in a screenplay. Anything that has any kind of logic to it, I just can’t do it.

I just let my characters be who they are, they tell me what they want to do in the story, I write it and then go back and read it and if it affects me emotionally, that’s the story. Hahaha, um…hope it’s working out okay, cause none of my work is very formulaic.

That’s so great that you have such a natural sense of pacing and story. I know as an unpublished writer, I worry quite a bit about my pacing and sometimes lean on beat-sheets and the hero’s journey to check my story and see if it looks ‘right’ according to those formulas. Maybe I should trust myself a little more.

Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.

BE TRUE TO YOU!

Oh baby, BE TRUE TO YOU!!!! Be true to your voice, your story, your character, your people. You are unique and your stories are beautiful. While all writers need to rewrite and get feedback and make sure that their stories resonate, they won’t always resonate with everyone.

I think the best thing I’ve learned about following your own voice came when I started getting reviews for my work. At first, it was five star…five star….five star and seriously, I was like “I’m the best writer that EVER lived” (sort of, you know, you’ve had those moments) and then I get like a three-star review that annihilates me, and then a one-star review and I’m like “I can’t write for….sh*t.” But you know it all balances out. When I read the good reviews, what was great about them is that the readers got it. They understood the story and were moved by it and took the journey I created for them.

Then I found that in following my voice and my uniqueness my story resonated with some of the readers and for others, they were like….”no thanks”. It will happen with any story where you write from your heart. Some will love it…some will become obsessed with it and others will hate your story so much they’ll line their kitty boxes with it and that is….writing.

But still, be you…always be true to your voice.

What lovely advice. And I know that I’m not the only one hoping to find that audience where my story and my voice truly resonates with the readers.

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

The Reign of a Queen, the third book in the Fallen Angel Immortal Romance Series will be released on March 11, 2020, on Amazon and is available for preorder now. And….the first two will be FREE the day the third book is released. (The release had to be bumped because Hallmark wanted their edits first…)

Book One: The Fall of Arcades follows Rayelynn, a fairy/mortal halfling and Farrow, the prince of Fallen Angels. What I love about this series is that not only does it tell an epic love story, it also deals with the prejudice of assuming people are good or evil based on where they are from or what they were born into.

Cover for: The Rise of a King

The Fall of Arcades is an incredible love story with some dark elements, sexual situations, and several polyamorous characters… because when you’re an immortal an eternity of vanilla is just no fun.

The second book, The Rise of a King (in the Fallen Angel, Immortal Romance Series) takes us from the Arcades and the kingdom of dark angels to The Cirque, a fairy realm where Farrow’s brother Prince Drayden rules. Born half-fairy and half-fallen angel, Drayden possesses both goodness and evil.

Book Three: The Reign of a Queen is EPIC!

Cover for "The Reign of a Queen"

Farrow and Rayelynn are brought to Estancia to live among the gods until Farrow serves his sentence for killing fairies and elves at their Samhain celebration. Rayelynn and Farrow’s children grow rapidly and Rayelynn is forced to commit a crime she never thought imaginable at the behest of the gods, who Farrow and Rayelynn discover are not as good as eternity believes. Farrow and Rayelynn tour the realms trying to instill peace among the agitated immortals who are angered the Arcades have been liberated. As they visit the realms, Rayelynn must face her past, her real father and take her place as the Queen of Eternity to save Farrow from himself and Drayden from Lucien, the demon Lord of Martu Mara.

Anastasia and Naida’s love grows as Anastasia rules the newly liberated Arcades, and settles into her role as their queen, faithful wife, and mother. With the balance of eternity threatened and Drayden’s promise to bring Rayelynn to Martu Mara to eternally suffer, Rayelynn alone must heal the ills of their existence to save Farrow from the prejudice that cripples him and Drayden from the hell that seeks to consume his soul so that she can make existence better for her children and all those she loves.

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