Author Spotlight: Elizabeth Lavender

  • the sci-fi/fantasy author of the Sunspear Series, counselor-by-training, and football fan

Readers, thanks for checking out another Author Spotlight Interview. Let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!

Originally from the Alabama coast, Elizabeth Lavender currently lives in the Dallas area (Texas) with her husband and her two sons. She has a Master’s degree in counseling, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a minor in English. She has been accused more than once of putting her training to use in her series. She prefers to call it challenging her characters, preparing them for what’s to come. Others have seen it more as toying with them.

When she’s not working on her own series, she’s more than happy to get lost in another author’s story. Although she enjoys Texas, she loves going home to Alabama to visit. Besides visiting family and friends, it is nice to be back near the water again and enjoy the amazing seafood.

Elizabeth, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most author spotlight interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.

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

The pet would absolutely be in the fantasy realm. That’s why we don’t have any pets now. My kids said if we got a pet, they would take care of it. I know my children too well, and their promise would end as soon as the pet left the first present for them to clean up. LOL. So, the perfect pet has not been created yet for us, but since I write fantasy we can imagine together.

The pet would be cute and fuzzy and cuddle up to you, like it was actually glad to have you around, like a dog. A small dog though, no huge animal. It wouldn’t jump all over you or slurp on you. Also no smell to this pet and magically no fur left behind even though it’s fuzzy. I said this was fantasy at the beginning.

Then the supreme part of the fantasy, the pet manages itself. The pet pours its own food, finds the potty on its own, and cleans up after itself. I can’t even get my kids to do half of those things, so looks like the pet for our family is not anywhere in sight. I hope you enjoyed this fantasy with me. If anybody does miraculously spot this pet one day, let me know. We’ll talk.

It’s good to know when you’re at your limits for caretaking. Have you considered having friends or family you can visit who caretake a pet, with whom you have visitation rights?

What do you write? And how did you get started?

As I mentioned I write fantasy, but it’s also sci-fi. I couldn’t decide between the two, so I just got my hands into both. It’s a wickedly fun mixture. My series also has more of a YA feel to it, but I have grandmothers reading my series as well, so go figure. The two main characters are around eighteen years of age in the story and most of the supporting cast around them are in their twenties. Perhaps that’s part of the YA vibe in it. It’s also what I would consider a clean read which can be difficult to find, so that could be the other factor. However, the series as a whole has many dark scenes in it and it alludes to other such aspects even though it doesn’t detail them. There’s an unseen, powerful battlefield that constantly threads its way through the series, creating havoc in the hearts, minds, and spirits of the two main characters. In that sense, the series reaches its tentacles in another realm, one of the supernatural or psychological thriller.

This is actually my first stab at the author’s helm. I’ve always enjoyed writing, and it came naturally to me, but I’m a counselor by trade. It’s a case where the story has been weaving its way in my head, and as time went on more and more of it wrote itself in my head. After a while, I finally said, “Okay, I’ll write it already.” Once I started, it flowed because I was putting to paper or type what I already had done in my head. So, The Spinning of Deception was spun, Deception’s Hold found its grasp, and Shadowed Bonds made its mark. The next part of the journey is being written now, nameless only for the moment.

So glad you found your way to writing, and I love the titles!

What do you like to read?

Most of what I read is in the genre I write, so I mostly read sci-fi or fantasy. I like YA fine, but I don’t care either way. What I mean by that is I know some people seek out YA exclusively or avoid it exclusively. I’m not in either one of those camps. I look at the storyline and characters and if that captures me, I’m in.

I also really enjoy the psychological thriller/suspense genre. Part of it is probably the counselor in me. The other part may be best left alone. LOL. Although those are preferred reading genres, I don’t have any problem with stretching out to another genre if the blurb catches my attention. For example, I’ll pick up something from the romance genre if it has a unique storyline or premise.

That sounds like a good selection of genres to me!

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

Stick to your writing schedule each day or suffer some unforeseen doom upon your person!

(Okay, I added the last part.) The point is I work fulltime during the day, and everything with my book stuff has to be done in the evenings and on the weekends. It’s not that I can’t spill out 2,000 words a day or whatever or write for two hours straight. I can and do because once I get started, it just flows. But there are kids to help with last-minute projects, a household to manage, a newsletter to get out for this particular weekend, packing to do to leave for the holidays another weekend… You get the picture.

The reality is life isn’t packaged in a neat box. I’ve learned to be patient and forgiving of myself as well as flexible. I realized if I just do that when I sit down to write it’s productive and what I create is worth the time I spent on it.

One hundred percent! While I’ve done it for a month or so, here or there, it is not maintainable for me either, at least not the way my life is currently set up.

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

Just write the story and get it down on paper. Don’t stop to edit until you have the draft.

That is so true for me. The first draft is full of misspellings, left out words (like a or the, you know those words your author-brain automatically inserted on the screen because you know what you meant), no chapter breaks, etc.

I do go back and read through a scene, but the purpose is to get my brain to step back into my Sunspear world to start writing again. It’s never for editing when I’m in the writing stage. Stopping to edit anything just stalls my writing flow.

Once the whole manuscript is down only then will I start any editing/revising or my personal torture as I’ve come to know it.

I’m a NaNoWriMo drafter, myself, so you know I’m a major adherent of this method.

Anything else you wanna share with my readers?

I keep insane hours. I’m a serious night owl. I only see the morning because I have to go to work and take my children to school. It’s led to suspicions I may be half vampire, but I laugh it off. Because that really would be fantasy, right? On the weekdays, I try to make it in bed by midnight only because of work and school the next day. On the weekends, I’m easily up until at least 3:00 AM most of the time. I’m either writing on my own series, or I got pulled into someone’s else story. love to hear from other readers, so don’t hesitate to drop me a line. There’s a good chance I’m still up!

Shameless Self-Promotion time!

The Spinning of Deception (Sunspear #1)

With the fate of his people on the line, the truth is his greatest weapon…

Eighteen-year-old Dante refuses to let evil conquer the galaxy. And the fact that his own father acts as the instrument of a dark lord’s unrelenting destruction only makes it harder. But when Dante learns a mysterious warrior has strange visions of his family, he discovers she may hold the key to defeating his father.

As sinister attacks threaten more and more planets, he fears their purpose is to prepare for an ultimate showdown. But with clues scarce and the girl’s mission to help him turning deadly, Dante might be running out of time before those he swore to protect are doomed.

Can the young hero unravel the mystery and win freedom for the universe?

Deception’s Hold (Sunspear #2)

He’s the last defense. Will a deadly gamble be the end of the galaxy’s only hope?

Dante is in a tailspin. But the mind-blowing revelation of a tragic family secret doesn’t prevent his desperate attempt to deploy a tracking device to locate the enemy’s new ultimate weapon. Because if he and his allies can’t stop it being brought to bear on the besieged colonies, everyone dies.

With his best ally remaining mysterious, Dante feels ill-prepared to confront his father and free him from the Dark Lord’s control. But when he comes face to face with the fiend’s petrifying ability to twist truth into deception, the embattled warrior may struggle to resist falling victim to the same power.

Can Dante escape following the same descent into madness and bondage?

Shadowed Bonds (Sunspear #3)

Victory is buried under the trail of Black Dragon destruction. Can two spear-bearers’ unshakeable connection reignite the flame against Black Dragon?

As the long-anticipated meeting between Dante and the Girl finally arrives, it’s bittersweet.

It’s overshadowed by a shared grief and the anguish that their sacrifice was for nothing as the Black Dragon continues to silently march forth with its ultimatum. Serve them or die. Then comes the terrifying realization that the Black Dragon now possesses the means to make such bondage reality. The two spear-bearers must see beyond the ashes left behind and move forward to face the Black Dragon again.

Yet another battlefield rages, one nearer to their hearts. Dante and the Girl promised their bond would not be broken, that it would see them through whatever lies ahead. However, the Girl is forced to keep her world hidden from Dante, and her tortured past threatens to overwhelm her. Those bindings entice her like never before, dragging her closer to the edge of a black abyss determined to make her its own. Dante, though, is equally relentless in his pursuit to keep his beautiful sunspear-bearer safe from the shadows that threaten to take her.

In the end, will she succumb to the tendrils of Darkness coiling around her, or will Dante’s bond be the stronger claim? Or does it only mark the beginning of the Black Dragon’s galactic conquest turning from a mere shadow to a deadly certainty?

Check out Elizabeth Lavender across the web!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub | Goodreads | Amazon

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