Author Interview with Lynelle Barrett.
Meet the author of Kiss & Consume;
The year is 1857, and Abigail Hynes’ village has been plagued by vampire attacks. When her father is held responsible, her parents are executed and she is forced to flee. Along the way, she encounters Levi Barnes, a reclusive and handsome young school teacher, who offers his aid and reluctant friendship. With secrets simultaneously pulling them together and pushing them apart, it is quite easy for the true person behind the attacks to spiral them all into a deadly game of vengeance, murder, and seduction. In Kiss and Consume, an erotic novel of first love and suspense, Abigail must cope with unexpected surprises about her family – and herself – as well as the realization that the lives of those she loves rest in her inexpert hands.
This book sounds truly intriguing. I, myself Love vampires, and how every author adds something different to these creatures. I sure can’t wait to dive into this book of Shakespeare love story and bloody encounters.
I asked wonderful Lynelle a list of questions, and I love how deeply she answered, each and everyone of them;
1: What process did you go through to get your book published?
I’m not really much of a planner, if I’m being honest! I’ve been querying different books off and on since 2010, so since I’d entered my 30s without anything published, I decided I was just going to take matters into my own hands and do it myself. With that said, I only went through Amazon’s step-by-step process. I didn’t feel knowledgeable enough to go through any other publisher (and I knew I would keep more money this way). Publishers charge an arm and a leg for self-publishing, while Amazon only charges a production fee and a little royalty for themselves (both of which are deducted from your book purchase). It does stink that my $10.38 paperback only gets me $2.75, but it’s better than paying hundreds upon thousands with a publisher! That, and Amazon takes care of everything for me. If any customer has an issue, they go through Amazon instead of through me, which is very nice.
2: Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?
Definitely! When I first started, all these book promotion pages kept following me on social media. After some research, I decided it was a fair deal to hire a few to promote my book. Needless to say, it didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped. I spent about $100 on three separate book promoters (not too bad, in the grand scheme of things), and it was a total flop. The one that cost me $50 was ironically the worst of the three. While they probably got me more exposure than the others, they wouldn’t work with me when I told them they’d incorrectly uploaded my book cover. I was told that they take the book covers off of Amazon, and that there wasn’t anything they could do to fix it. I’m not one to create waves, so I let it go. But rest-assured, I won’t ever be using a promotion service again! I only made about $5 after applying the promotions, and I can’t even prove that those were what earned me any money.
3: What’s the title of your most recent book?
Honey and Gunpowder.
4: How did you come up with the title of your book?
I was an English major in college, so my inner nerd came out to play for this one. It’s a re-imagined Shakespeare quote from “Romeo and Juliet.” The first book, Kiss and Consume, is also a re-imagined Shakespeare quote from the same play (and the same soliloquy).
5: Tell me about the main character(s).
Admittedly, I’m incredibly fond of these characters. I’ve never before felt so connected to any characters I’ve written, so I’m going to take that as a good sign. I laughed and cried and grieved with them (another thing I’ve never done!). The primary two characters (and the ones I connect to the most strongly) are Elizabeth Morrow and Dr. Jacob Nash (aka Dr. Ira Wyman, as readers of Kiss and Consume may remember). Elizabeth comes from a long line of witches. When the novel begins, she accidentally sends her cousin flying into a tree, which causes alarm in her mother since she hadn’t expected Elizabeth to develop the gift so early in life. Elizabeth then learns of her lineage, and the first few chapters are about her learning to control and perfect her craft. Early on, Elizabeth develops a strong aversion toward Jacob Nash, a local physician’s apprenticing son. Right off the bat, their interactions are stiff and tense (i.e. “You know, you are a lot smarter than you look, Dr. Nash. You are handsome, and with the exception of my papa, all the handsome men I’ve met are quite stupid”), and that progresses until Elizabeth enters her teenage years. By this point, the colonies have entered war with Great Britain, so Jacob decides he is going to serve as a war surgeon. Without giving away their circumstances, they end up writing to each other during his service, and a volatile romance develops. Three other characters I loved writing are Agnes Caldwell, Elizabeth’s crotchety, bitter grandmother who is all too happy to speak her mind; Charity Nash, Jacob’s over the top, high-strung mother; and Daphne Nash, Jacob’s younger and much-loved sister.
6: What would the main character in your book have to say about you?
Elizabeth is pretty snarky, so I have a feeling she’d tell me to stop being afraid of everything and to throw myself out there. I have ambitious ideas, but I lack the follow-through. Though at least self-publishing is a start!
7: How does your book relate to your spiritual practice or other life paths?
Although religion doesn’t make an overt presence in my books, my characters do believe in God and speak as such on occasion. I thought it would be interesting to create godly witches, because most media depicts them as Satanic or evil beings. I wanted to do just the opposite. My witches aren’t rooted in religion, but only the “worthy” descendants inherit the gift, meaning that the kind and selfless and pure of heart are the only ones in the bloodline with powers.
8: Which genre is your book, and why did you pick that?
Historical romance! Admittedly, I never set out to write an historical romance series. I’ve always enjoyed history, but I didn’t truly become obsessed until I started researching this book. The 1700s (the Revolutionary War era, especially) is such a fascinating time! One of my favorite factoids I found was about funerals. In villages, it was pretty much standard to ring a bell any time someone died. Needless to say, it got pretty old constantly hearing a bell go off (because people were CONSTANTLY dying), so churches started getting fined for being a “public nuisance.” I’m not sure why I found that so fascinating (and kind of amusing), but I’m pretty easily enthralled by how different our culture was then compared to now! Anyway, I’m not entirely certain what compelled me to try this series, other than in college, I got oddly inspired by the comparison of cannibalism to vampirism. Even though my series has absolutely nothing to do with cannibalism, it got me thinking about vampires in historical settings, and the rest is basically history (no pun intended)!
9: Do you feel sad or excited about tormenting your characters?
A little of both! I’ve always enjoyed breaking my characters, because then it allows them to grow and become stronger (or in some cases, weaker) due to their trials and tribulations. And I find that kind of development fascinating! In this book, however, it was basically pre-determined what was going to happen to Jacob and Elizabeth. When I wrote Kiss and Consume, Jacob (aka Dr. Ira Wyman) and Lizzie were nowhere near the focus of the story. They were just lingering background characters, and even though they did play into the mystery of the book and why the curse was in effect, I honestly didn’t pay them much attention. In fact, I didn’t really like Jacob/Ira at all, and now he’s one of my favorite characters! That was why, at the time, I gave them an ending that I felt justified the story and would leave the reader (and myself) content. Unfortunately, as I started writing Honey and Gunpowder, I grew to really love and feel for these characters, and as their story became more and more clear, I soon realized that Jacob/Ira wasn’t really wrong for wanting revenge, after all. It’s truly funny (and fascinating) to me how we can start out with one idea, but then end up on a completely different path by the end of it. And that’s more or less what happened here. I adhered to what I wrote in Kiss and Consume, but I regretted it and felt a physical ache for Jacob and Lizzie. They deserved so much better. As I joked to a friend, I’ll have to write fanfiction of my own book just to fix this (though I hope that won’t deter anyone from reading)!
10: What’s your favourite thing to do besides writing?
I suppose the cliché answer would be reading, but it’s definitely true! And if I’m not allowed to choose that, then I also love video editing. I make a lot of fandom videos on my downtime. I made a brief trailer of Honey and Gunpowder, in case anyone would like to see it!
This looks so exciting!
Thank you so much Lynelle for joining me today!
Happy Writing & Lots of Love.