Monday, May 10, 2010

Author Interview ~ Lakisha Spletzer

Howdy, everyone! I hope y’all had a wonderful Mother’s Day. :-D

Today we have with us on the couch author, Lakisha Spletzer. Let’s all make her feel welcome.

Welcome to The Menagerie, Lakisha. Make yourself at home, have a drink, sit back and relax and let our Cabana Boys pamper you a bit.

By now, all of y’all know Megan.

:::Megan waves:::

Okey dokey, let’s get down to brass tacks, ‘cause we are a nosy bunch here. Where are you from?

I was born in Wise County, Virginia and lived in a small town called Coeburn which is located in the southwestern corner of the state in the Appalachian Mountains.

A mountain girl? Bet there was lots of rustic...scenery.

LOL, and I’m sure you mean the trees, Megan. So, Lakisha, tell us your latest news!

I’ve made my debut as a published author with the first book in a planned series. It's called “Jewels” and the series name is “The Alien Encounters Saga.” Also, my newest book, Werelove: Dusk Conspiracy, a dark YA Paranormal about shapeshifters, has just released. Both titles are available at in print and Kindle edition, as well as

Aliens and shapeshifters. Interesting. These are your first published books, but when and why did you begin writing?

I wrote my first fantasy story called “The Elf and the Fruit Bowl” when I was eight. I've written poetry, stories, fan fics, and participated in online writing rpgs on and off through the majority of my life. I write because I love it and it provides a great outlet for my angst when I need to vent.

Gotta love those outlets, ‘cause we all need them. It’s fun when you can do it through writing.

And that is the God’s honest truth! When did you first consider yourself a writer?

January 2004 when I decided that I wanted to become published.

What a big step.

And I have to admire the way you just… went for it. What inspired you to write your first book?

There's a story behind this question. My actual first book that I was inspired to write has yet to be completed as a first draft. It's a high fantasy story called “Moonbeams and Moonlight,” and it's the first book in a series which follows the main character who is half-elf female warrior. My goal is to finish it this year, at least a first draft of it.

As for the novel that will be released on February 19, “Jewels,” it came about due to open submission call for a Space Opera anthology from Samhain Publishing and a blog entry that I had written that explored writing in the first person.

Yep, a contest is pretty good incentive to get that story out of your head and down onto paper…. er, computer screen…

Space operas. I love new-to-me genres. Speaking of writing, do you have a specific writing style?

Not sure if I have a “style.” I know that I tend to use the third-person viewpoint rather than first person.

I’m still thinking of the space opera and picturing little green men and ray gun whipping heroines. Sounds exciting.

LOL, whereas the first time I heard that phrase I thought, “How can they have a SPACE opera? You can’t hear anything in space… yeah yeah, I’m blond.. How did you come up with the title?

The title is the name of the heroine and it is symbolic too. Jewels Enbran is unique and precious for various reasons and to different people. But also like a gemstone in the rough, she has to be molded and shaped to become the jewel that everyone knows she can be.

Heroine’s that grow through the story—nice.

Yup, gotta love when they actually mature throughout the story. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I want readers to see that being different doesn't make a person or species evil and that when we set aside differences and work together, many things can be accomplished.

Yup, good things happen when you work together.

“Can’t we all just get along” is my CB’s favorite saying. Are there experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The underlying themes about bigotry, racism, discrimination and lack of fulfillment in one's personal relationships, are all things that I have experienced first hand. On the flip side it also celebrates life, friendship, loyalty and love.

Speaking of loyalty and love, if you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I would have to say Elissa Malcohn and Dianne Dykstra have both helped me the most when it comes to writing and to the publishing industry.

It’s so great to have authors you look up to. What book are you reading now?

Wow, I usually read about three books at once, I know bad multi-tasker, but right now I'm reading “Betrayals,” by Lili St. Crow, “The Virtu,” “The Sword and The Lady.”

LOL, I always have a lot of books going at once. You’re not the only one. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

The authors Richelle Mead and Lili St. Crow, to name a few.

Yes, urban fantasy is a favorite of mine, too. I love things that are dark, mysterious and a little off-beat. What are your current projects?

“Moonbeams and Moonlight” I've been working on since 2004. It's a high fantasy story.

“Mine Dreamer” was started in November 2009 during NaNoWrimo and I'll probably have it done by April. It is set in the same universe as “Jewels” but deals with civilians.

My other story, “Sierra's Protection,” was started in September 2009 and will be finished some time during the summer. It's my first time using normal people as characters. So no superpowers or magical elements in this one.

Sometimes it feels like you need super powers to write and keep up with everything. Do you see writing as a career?

I would love to have it be one, but for now, I do have other work that I do.

Everyone says they’d change some things if they knew the outcome. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? Not really, I love the story the way it is.

We all gotta start somewhere. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I wanted to put down the stories in my head and share them with others.

Yup, we all gotta start somewhere, lol. Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I'm writing two things at once. Again, I know, multi-tasking, but “Moonbeams and Moonlight” is the top of the priority list.

I also have “Mine Dreamer,” which was my 2009 NaNoWrimo project. It lacks two chapters and the first draft will be finished.

Last but not least, I have “Sierra Protection,” which is my first attempt at writing a story that contains no fantasy or paranormal elements. I'm writing it because of a personal challenge Dianne Dykstra and my friend Angela Markham issued last year.

We all have our own little quirks. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Grammar and those pesky commas. Also I love repetitive words so I keep a thesaurus nearby now to spice things up.

ROTFL, I have the same issues with commas (one CP likes to say, “Commas are our friends…. Use them!”) and with repetitive words (clenched anyone?). Nice to know I’m not the only one. Who designed the covers?

There is a story to that question. I put up a tweet/blast on Twitter, Myspace and Facebook, that I had finished writing “Jewels” and that I was going to start hunting for a cover artist. Within a day, a former college friend of mine, JD Hollyfield had myspaced me and said he wanted that honor. I was surprised and humbled.

He did not one but two covers and we ultimately picked the one you see today, though I liked both covers.

Isn’t it awesome to have friends with skills? Do you have any advice for other writers?

Don't be afraid of critiques. Join online support groups or local support groups for writers.

In fact, I started an online writer support community at just for that reason.

Nope, can’t beat good CPs. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Enjoy the action, romance, and adventure of “Jewels.”

How long does it take you to write a book?

Each book is different. “Moonbeams and Moonlight,” I've been working on since 2004. Whereas “Jewels” took a total of six months from start to finish.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

My days are taking up by my kids. I'm a single parent so writing during the day is hard. I'm also attending college too so that takes time.

I'm a night owl, so once the kids are asleep it's just me and my characters.

I’m a night owl, too, which doesn’t come in handy since all the other Menagerie ladies are on the east coast while I’m on the West. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I'm not writing, I'm usually

A) teaching hip hop to beginners (adults and children)
B) reading
C) web designing (I have my own company Kichan Designz)
D) playing with my kids

Wow, busy girl! Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Use personal experiences, read up on the genre(s) you will be writing in, get someone other than you to read over and critique your work. And above all else, have fun.

God advice. What do you think makes a good story?

Plot that flows, characters need to be real and easy to relate to.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a mommy, be a teacher and be married. I know, lofty goals for a 5-year-old.

LOL, but at least you knew what you wanted. :-D And now it’s time for our “absolutely-nothing-to-do-with-writing-questions”: What animal do you think makes the best pet and why?

I love cats and dogs but hands down a cat, if you want low maintenance but still one that you can love on. Fish don't count.

Ah yes, cat people. My favorites. Now, what I really want to know: what were you doing at midnight last night?

Writing “Mine Dreamer.”

LOL, Megan, you and your cat people… Lakisha, what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

Vegemite that some of the Australian foreign exchange students were daring us Americans to try.

:::shudder::: I’ve had Vegemite… never again I tell ya.

Dares are the best. Gets me and Kealie in trouble all the time. Since we’re all animals here, what is your favorite animal?

Felines of all shapes, sizes and colors.

What is your heritage?

Native American, African-American, Caucasian and possibly some Hispanic. Basically I'm a mix.

You’re not the only mutt in the house, lol. Have you ever cried during a movie? If yes, which one and why?

I'm a very sensitive person and I will cry if it's emotional enough. The movie that gets me every time is E.T.

Even though I know he's going to wake up and phone home I can't seem to stop my tears from flowing.

HEY, I cry every time too, it’s heartbreaking to see Elliot sobbing his little heart out. What is your favorite pizza?

Meat lovers though in my household cheese pizza rules because my kids don't like anything else.

Yeah, the sacrifices we make for our children. Are you a morning person or a night person?

Most definitely a night person. I'm such a bear when I wake up first thing in the morning.

LOL, join the club… my kids steer clear of me for at least an hour in the morning… Lord help them if the wake me up before my alarm goes off. If you could wish for anything, what would you wish for?

Does wishing for my book to do well count? If it does that would be cool, but if not, hmm, I guess wishing that I could make enough money to pay off my debts and still living comfortably.

I don’t see why not! Makes sense to me. Well, we’ve come to the end of our interview today. Thank you so much for spending time with us today, Lakisha. Stick around, chat with our company, and keep the Cabana Boys on their toes. :-D

Lakisha Spletzer is a single mother of two, who keep her on her toes while inspiring her to write.

A native of Virginia, she moved to Citrus County, Florida in 2004 and has enjoyed the warmth ever since.

Lakisha has a Bachelors of Arts in Communications from the University of Virginia-Wise.

She can be found reading stories from authors Elissa Malcohn, K.L. Nappier, and Piers Anthony, to name a few. She loves writing down the adventures rattling around in her head as well as poetry that strikes without warning.

She describes her writing style as a blend of her favorite genres. This is her first novel.

You can keep up with her on the web at these sites:

Jewels by Lakisha Spletzer

Special Lieutenant Jewels Enbran, a human telepath unable to shield her mind from thoughts, uses telepathic anchors who protect her vulnerable mind. Her current anchor, Colonel Jeremy Lingley, is nearing burnout. An alien race is seeking an alliance with Earth and the pair are assigned the mission of discovering the aliens' secrets.

Crown Prince Dex LoudRoar is a Gatoan warrior and a royal with a terrible secret. His people wage a constant war against their enemy, the Lupinious empire. But the tide of battle is turning and his people seek help from a new source: the humans of Earth.

With an interstellar war looming, Jewels and Dex seek salvation for their planets and find their destinies changed forever.

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