Friday, March 27, 2015

Allow me to introduce the lovely, talented Darla Lark

With a new release set for tomorrow, Ms. Lark took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about herself and her books. Be sure to check out her newest release here.

VP: What is your inspiration? What helps you get through writer’s block?
DL: My inspiration comes from some of the crime shows I watch. Since I’m a thriller writer, it helps me when I’m stuck on a scene. I get some ideas from those shows and learn a lot for future books. When I get writer’s block, I write in a journal to figure out why I have it. It helps more often than not and the best way to get to the bottom of the problem.

VP:  Do you listen to music when you write? Have a completely silent space?
DL: I listen to the music on my phone, which I use as an iPod. I’m only glad that I don’t have to fuss over multiple devices. There is this site for writers called SoundFuel. It has a lot of various kinds of music directed for whatever you write (sci-fi, horror, thriller/mystery, etc.) l use this quite a bit when I’m writing something dark. It’s awesome and I highly recommend it for other writers.

VP:  Who inspires you? What authors do you look up to? Why?
DL: My inspiration comes from my grandpa. When I was little, he and I would make up stories together which I regret not writing them down. This inspired my love of writing. I began to write poetry when I was in 6th grade. Then there’s my husband and mother-in-law who encourage me to keep writing in the times that I feel like giving up. They are amazing.

I look up to Nicholas Sparks because he had gone through a lot growing up and came out stronger. I’ve read Three Weeks With My Brother and felt more of a connection with his books and understand why he writes what he does.

VP: When did you first start writing? What genre do you prefer?
DL: I started writing poetry when I was 7 or 8. Again, this was because of my grandpa. He became my writing buddy, so to speak. Genre wise, I read anything I can get my hands on. When I was in college, I started a YA novel, but as time went on, I became a thriller writer. It was one of those things where I started writing on thing and it turned into another.

VP:  If you had to choose another genre to write, what would it be? Why?
DL: Let’s see. I think I would like to write a horror novel. I love being scared and the unexpected in these type of novels. I enjoy the darkness within these types of books.

VP: What is your favorite book (or who is your favorite author) and why?
DL: To be honest, I don’t have favorite author. I read so many different kinds of books. There is so much talent out there. Everything that I’ve read is amazing so far. I especially love to read self-published authors. They are amazing and I love to show support for them.

VP: Do you have a job and if so what is it?
DL: Yes. I work full-time in a warehouse building pumps and pump accessories. I love what I do. Though I wish I could write full-time. I’m sure that all self-published authors with full-time jobs wish this as well.

VP: Tell about your first book and how long it took you to write the first draft.
DL: My first book is A Life Worth Living. It’s my YA novel. It’s about a girl who’s in her first semester of college when she experiences a lot of hardships. I based it around my grandparents and their personalities. Though it’s not a true story, I wanted to portray the grandparents much like the ones I grew up with. It was a lot of fun to write. It took me 4 years to write it because I was caring for my grandma and great-grandma while working a full-time job.

VP: List all of your titles with a one sentence synopsis of each.
DL: A Life Worth Living: Star is a young woman who is in her first semester of college when she experiences the loss of friends, a sick grandfather, and a tumultuous relationship with her mother.

Lucy’s Suspicions: Lucy is a woman whose husband died in a tragic car accident, but she soon finds out it wasn’t simply a car accident and does a little digging to find the truth.

The Psychopath’s Prisoner: Cheyenne is a woman who went through a divorce from her cheating ex and then she has bad things start happening her: including her car getting set on fire and apartment broken into amongst other things.

VP: Who is your favorite character? Why?
DL: Cheyenne Harrington because she is resilient despite all that has happened to her. She does everything she can to protect her sister and friends for love.

VP: Which character is your least favorite character? Why?
DL: Cheyenne’s new neighbor, Daniel Schindler. He is a creepy jerk. I hate him for being who he is. That’s all I can say without giving away the story plot.

VP: Which character was most difficult to write?
DL: I would say Daniel because I absolutely hated him, but he had to be in it since he was an integral part of the story.

VP: What scenes are most difficult to write?
DL: The crime scenes. I say this because I try to come up with one that is original and nothing like other thrillers. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the crimes scenes. They are so much fun to write.

VP: Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
DL: I see a little of myself in all my characters, both good and evil. I think that all of us authors put a little of ourselves in each of their characters whether they realize it or not. It’s a great thing, though. You get to know things about yourself that you never knew before.

VP: Indie pub or trade pub?
DL: Right now Indie pub. I want to see what I can do on my own. Perhaps someday I can go traditional, but for the time being I’ll enjoy doing the indie thing. There’s so much we can do on our own and it’s rather enjoyable.

VP: What is your favorite scene? Why?
DL: My favorite scene is when Cheyenne fights back against her captor and escapes. Like I mentioned before, she is resilient and determined. My goal is to show how resilient we, as women, can be no matter what challenge is put in front of us in fiction form.

VP: Give a one sentence summary of your new release.
DL: The Psychopath’s Prisoner is a thriller that will keep you guessing until the end as to who did it and why.

VP: If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
DL: I would love to meet Elvis Presley in person. He had an amazing voice and I’m jealous that my grandpa got to meet him when they served in the army.

VP: If you could take the place of one of your characters, which on would you choose and why?
DL: I would either be Lucy from Lucy’s Suspicions or Cheyenne Harrington. They are strong women who don’t give up. They keep pushing onward and aren’t afraid to face the obstacles in front of them and are very intelligent.

VP: If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
DL: I would love to go to Italy and try their food and wines. Especially their wine. Nothing better. Of course, I would love to go to Rome and see the Sistine Chapel and the colosseum.

VP: What is your favorite T.V. show/movie from your childhood? What is it now?
DL: When I was little, I loved to watch My Little Ponies and Care Bears. Now I love Sleepy Hollow, which I have to get caught up on this season as of yet.

Make sure you grab a copy of The Psychopath's Prisoner starting tomorrow (just click the title and you are there)!!

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Five things you'd need to understand to get in my pants...

Apparently, men in general have not evolved much with regards to picking up women. I awkwardly encounter the same pathetic lines that were thrown my way in college and when I don't hop on pop I'm a prude or a tease or a bitch. When did sitting at a bar enjoying a beer come to equate to flirting?
Trust me, if I'm into you, you'll know and until then how about some regular conversation? How about offering to buy me a drink or, even better, a book. Is that so difficult?

Over the past few years I've seen and heard some of the worst pick up lines from blatant insults to utter ignorance and everything in between. To that end, I have made a list of the top five things that make me want to buy a chastity belt and settle into the crazy cat lady life (sans cats, cuz I'm allergic and stuff).

1. Be real. You don't have to be the smartest guy in the room but don't pretend to know things you don't. For example, just because you see me wearing Houston Texans gear does not mean I am from Texas, it does not mean I'm a "cute girly fan," and it certainly does not mean you should walk over and strike up conversation about how much you love football if you don't. Oy. I'm a football fan and I actually do know my stuff so don't embarrass yourself by pretending. Trust me, I will figure it out in about ten minutes and I will make you feel like an idiot just to get a bit of amusement from our conversation. Few things are less attractive than somebody pretending to know about things they just don't know about.

Books. I like, I LOVE books.....

2. I read. A lot. A bibliophile is a must, I've tried it with a non-bibliophile and it just doesn't work. Talk to me about the best book you've read, tell me about the worst and most of all, tell me why you feel that way. If we go out, skip the flowers and wine, bring me a book. Bonus points if you are lending me your copy to read for myself and I might crush on you a bit for having notes in the margins.

This is me in Breckenridge, CO enjoying one of my favorites, a Vanilla Porter

3. I like to eat but I love to drink. Coffee, tea, or beer are great places to start. Take me to your favorite coffeehouse, pub or, even better, brewery. Understand that when I say beer I mean microbrews - specifically stouts and porters with the occasional high quality IPA or Amber tossed in - not Coors or Bud because they just remind me of college, beer pong and keg stands. I'm too old for that crap. Also, I know my limits and by no means am I going to fall victim to you pressing shots or extra beers into my hand with designs on pushing me over my edge. I mean, nothing says I respect you like "I'm going to get you shit-faced tonight." Trust me, I will not hold back in puking on you and I guarantee you won't find me attractive at that point.

Have I mentioned beer? 

4. This may make me sound snobbish but I have to be honest, I've got some age restrictions. Many of my friends know that I attract much older men for some unknown reason (it's a longstanding joke and not terribly funny) and crazies (real nut jobs, as in Norman Bates insane). If you are older than my dad, I'm sorry, it's just not going to happen. I don't have daddy issues, I love my dad (*waves* Hi Dad!!!) and I am not looking to replace him - EVER.  I realize the question of mental sanity is much more difficult to sift through but in general, if you have a weird fetish, liken me to a goddess of some sort or think to squash me into your idea of what a woman/girlfriend/lover/wife should be then we probably aren't going to be compatible, friend.

Isn't my Dad great? I just love him...oh, and that's one of my kiddos too, ain't she cute?

5. I have guy friends. A few really close ones who mean the world to me and I'm not ditching them so don't ask. I've learned that true friends are REALLY hard to come by and if you can't deal with me spending time with other guys - in a completely platonic way - then we just won't work. If I'm out drinking with my guys you are welcome to join in and get to know me, I am sure they would appreciate it as much as me. Not that they are eager to see me moving on or anything....

Just because, a shot of one of my favorite places in the world - Seattle, WA

I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather be alone and happy then trying to make something out of nothing with somebody who is looking for an idea of a woman instead of the real deal. It seems to be a symptom of a larger issue in our society, not to pop up on a soap box or anything, but I think it's become too easy to make relationships disposable rather than working at them. Maybe this is part of why, settling for the shiny new toy and hoping that you can break it in like a new pair of shoes. I'm pretty broken in by now so what you see is what you get, even if I am evolving a little more every day. Still, these five things are pretty much set in stone.