Monday, 7 April 2014

An Interview With Laura Akers

Laura Akers was someone who I never even knew existed until one day she messaged me on Twitter in regards to a post I had made about reading a book by Simon R. Green. I’m glad she did. 

Laura’s passion for John Taylor (Simon R. Green’s protagonist from his Tales of the Nightside series may border on obsession but… Well it’s kind of unhealthy. 

Pretty sure if she could she would live inside those books. 
Unfortunately you can’t live inside books. Something that pains me to know end or I’d be living in Robert B. Parker’s Boston or one of a thousand comic book universes.

What you CAN do, however, is create a world of your own, by WRITING a book. Hell you can create a whole UNIVERSE. See why us writer folks get a little headcase-y sometimes? The power…the power… Bwah ha ha ha ha!!!

But I digress…

As many of the conversations that I’ve had with Laura have done. They may be all over the place but they are always one thing.


Which is something that Ms. Akers brings to her debut novel which I’ve had the pleasure to be included in the beta-reading of, entitled The Law of Rule. The entertaining part that is. Not the digression… Ok, enough of that- on to the interview!
 1.  Ok, Laura, you once commented to me that writers love to talk about themselves, so here’s your chance. Tell us all about why you’re so awesome.
Jung's Briggs-Meyer test indicates I'm an INFJ. (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) It's the rarest type, only 1% of the population.  Plato, Gandhi, and Thomas Jefferson were INFJ's. Oh, and Adolph Hitler.  
What does this mean? I might seem outgoing, but after group contact I need to go hide in my house to rejuvenate with a book and cup of tea. And secretly plan world domination.
I grew up in a small town in the Imperial Valley, California. It's economy is primarily agriculture and it's surrounded by desert. I drove tractors and rode horses, competing in professional rodeo barrel racing.
I've played the piano since I was three and that uber-feminine instrument, the trumpet. I got to tour Europe, Canada and the East Coast of the USA with a concert/marching band. I'm currently stalking Paul Williams so I can talk to him about his lyrics for "Old Souls" from Brian De Palma's movie "Phantom of the Paradise."  
Originally, I planned to be a veterinarian. I  became a lawyer by age 24. Overachievement is my middle name. I try not to inflict it on anyone.
2.  So you love books, anyone who follows your Twitter can see that you spend as much time reading as anything else, so what made you decide to throw your hat in the writing ring?
Being an only child, books were my best friends. I read across most genres, both fiction and non-fiction. Some of my favorite writers are Michael Chabon, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, Dorothy Sayers, Georges Simenon, Robert van Gulik, Simon R. Green, David McCullough...(This list will take too much room. Must stop!)
Starting around age seven, I began to write short stories using hot pink and green ink on notebook paper. I was so cool. I also started a neighborhood newspaper called "The Treasure News." It was handwritten and liberally doused with glitter. When I was 13, I mailed off what I considered to be an epic romance to Good Housekeeping magazine. Never mind I was 13 and didn't know anything about romance. I liked escaping into my head and playing with my imaginary friends. Wait, I still like that.
3.  The Law of Rule. Your first novel. Actually IS it your first? Or just the first one that you’re ready to shop around? Give us some background on it and tell us what The Law of Rule is all about?
I have two other books that I've finished. One is a Regency Romance titled "The Three Antidotes." The other is a mystery/thriller/romance called "Dior or Die."
Then Simon Rule muscled his way into my life (which is rather out of character for him) and I started The Law of Rule. The other books are there, waiting to be edited. Since I was a prosecutor for twelve years, people always tell me I should write about my experiences. There's never been anything done like that before, of course. No one's ever heard of Law and Order.
I decided it would be a lot more fun to put a prosecutor 150 years in the future. Simon Rule is a rising star in the Intergalactic DA's office, destined to make the god prosecution unit in record time, until all the evidence goes missing in his high-profile serial killer case against Danny Perdition. He's demoted and given assignments to planets no one's really heard of. With him in exile is his investigator, Vas Mondragon, who's a vampire with a problem controlling his blood lust and who's also addicted to couture fashion and his archaic iPod. 
Simon wants to find out what happened in the Perdition case and bring whoever tampered with it to justice. He also has to contend with being mind-nabbed by an ancient god, something roaming about his moldy apartment, assassination attempts on his life and the threat of world annihilation only the Karma Police can stop.   
4.  Do you have an overall plan for Simon’s adventures or are you taking it book by book? And how awesome would it be to write a short story collection featuring Mr. Rule and title it Simon Says?
At this point, I see Simon's story as a trilogy. I'm definitely a pantser, not a plotter. I have an overall idea of where I'm going, but too much structure's a bit confining for me. I'm not a person with notes all over the wall, like Rust Cohle. (Cool people will get that reference)  Simon Says? I visualize a short story collection with just such a title! Some really awesome Canadian suggested it to me. What a coincidence.
 5.  How do you write? Are you one of those people that park themselves in front of their laptop and hammer away until it’s done? Or do you go old-school and pen/paper it? Do you listen to music as you write? Or do you just perform some strange magic ritual and have fairies come and deliver it to you chapter by chapter?
I write wherever I can, whenever I can, mainly on a laptop. When my daughter had geometry tutoring at a coffee/tea shop that played dreadful music, I always took headphones so I could listen to iTunes while writing. In my "Dior or Die" book, I listened to the James Bond theme when I wrote a car chase scene.
Since my main character in The Law of Rule is part-Fae, I know about fairies. They look pretty, but they cause more problems than they're worth. I want them to stay the hell away from my manuscripts.
 6.  Besides Mr. Rule, do you have plans for doing other stories?
Writing's in the blood, so I will never stop. I'd like to do some non-fiction, maybe a memoir about my parents. Also, I have a personal story. I won high-profile homicide cases at 7-9 mos. pregnant and had my daughter five days after the last conviction. Got demoted by the DA, told I was lazy and was written below-standard performance. I sued him and won. That case made California Supreme Court law on the issue of retaliation in the workplace.  
Publishers/agents love that story and mob me for it, but I don't particularly want to write it and get doomed to discussing that misery forever. I might change my mind someday. Am thinking of developing it into a story for The Moth.
7.  Your Twitter info indicates you’re a Toastmaster- how did you get into that and what do you like about it?
A former law clerk told me it would be a terrific opportunity to meet people. A club was forming in the town I lived in right about then, so I figured it wasn't coincidence and joined. Although I don't have any problem talking in front of people, I needed to get away from sounding like I was sending everyone away to prison for life. I went to LA and took stand-up comedy classes so I could learn to lighten the hell up when I talk. I'm doing much better now. Toastmasters is an inexpensive way to better your public speaking skills and make friends.
 8.  It also indicates that you’re a part-time Batman. I’m fairly certain that is the best job ever. When you aren’t being Batman or writing, what are you doing?
 When I was about five years old, I demanded a Batman costume for Halloween. I patrolled my neighborhood to keep it safe. My iPhone cover is the Batman logo. People always tell me my level of morality is like Batman (I'm fairly sure Batman is an INFJ)
I'm still practicing law, primarily criminal defense. I also train speakers of all levels, from writers who need to learn to pitch or promote their books to experienced people who want to freshen up their presentations. I coach lawyers in trial skills and teach them to remember they're human. That's the hard part. I have a German Shepherd and a cat that work as my office staff.  My daughter is a senior in high school, speaks fluent Japanese and plans to go to art college in LA. She also doesn't drive yet, so I'm still a chauffeur.
9.  I know that you were formerly a prosecutor- does that mean you’ll fact-check all the law stuff (for free) for me in LEGACY since the main character, Alexander Vance aka Paragon, works for the District Attorney’s office?
Of course I'll be glad to help you out, as long as you make sure all the legalities are based on California law. If you make me learn the Canadian system, I might have to come up there and whack you with a hockey stick.

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