WRITE QUESTIONS: Lula Thomas

December 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm 8 comments

First, everyone have a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. Second, this week’s interview is with Lula Thomas aka Miss Mae. Enjoy. I know I did.

When did you start writing?

If I remember right (and this was so long ago ), I think the first thing I attempted was called Midnight Horror when I was ten years old. We kids were bored and were looking for something to do, so I put together a little skit for us to act out. I enjoyed doing that, and the passion for creating characters in an imaginary world struck–and stuck.

What was the defining moment that made you sit down and start writing a book?

Hmm, well, after the above, I read all the girly books I could. Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, Donna Parker, those great mysteries.(tongue in cheek) If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, then you’re missing out ..LOL… Inspired by those heroines, I tried my juvenile hand at those type of stories. Never could finish a plot though. So the major manuscript that I truly thought through and finished was ten years later. About five years after that, (I’d matured from Nancy Drew to grown-up romance books, you understand), I created a wonderful book with an independent heroine and super sexy hero. I’m still trying to get that story sold…*sigh*…But I will succeed, never fear

What made you take yourself seriously?

For about twenty years, I told no one I was a closet romance writer. I’m serious, I stashed all my manuscripts away in the darkest corner of my closet. I supposed I really didn’t have what it took to be a writer, and after a few failed attempts with submitting to New York houses, I grew discouraged. So my writings collected dust and turned yellow with age. (I wrote with pen and paper–before computers and Internet ). About three years ago, after I entered cyber space, I met a wonderful gentleman on line. He lived in Australia and after we corresponded for a while and got to know each other better, I confessed to him my closet addiction. He asked me what I was waiting for, to go ahead and shoot for my dream. His encouragement inspired me, and though I hadn’t the slightest idea of where to begin, since the Web was now available, I searched and hunted and slowly learned. At a site that this same friend directed me to (a computer information site, of all places), I chanced to meet a woman who also lived in Australia. But she is a published author. We communicated, and she agreed to read a sampling of my work. Through her, for the first time I learned the rules of writing a book. I guess she saw something in me (or just plain got sorry for me ), but she agreed to become my critique partner. She, with another published author from Canada that joined us, held my hand and showed me the ropes. I’ll always be undyingly grateful, because their help convinced me I could accomplish this coveted task. I no longer say, I want to be a writer. I know now I am a writer.

What have you learned about writing that shocked you the most?

The art of showing as opposed to telling . All those pages and pages of telling I wrote, I thought I did show I scratched my head in puzzlement many times when admonished to show, don’t tell , until finally, it clicked.

What sub-genre(s) did you gravitate to when you first started? Is it the same as now and why do you think it’s changed or stayed the same?

I always wanted to write romance, but good romance. Having boy and girl to meet, kiss, fall in love, end of story was never enough for me. I wanted something meaty added to their relationship. To that end, in my current book, See No Evil, My Pretty Lady , I have the hero and heroine meeting because of the murder of the hero’s father. There’s five suspects, so a lot of emphasis is put on trying to find the killer. So, I’m wondering if I’ve drifted off the path of what passes for romance and have instead written a ‘romantic’ murder mystery? I’ll let the readers be the judge.

What advice have you gotten that you live by?

Be sure to keep the action in the proper POV. I hadn’t a clue about point of view before I met with my first crit partners. Now I know how critical this important truth is.

What advice would you give a newbie (if it’s not the same as above)?

Don’t be too proud to receive constructive criticism. Yes, some of it can hurt, especially if you feel a reader didn’t grasp the wonderfulness of your story. But try to logically think through their points. Sometimes someone truly didn’t understand, and if that’s the case you can sweep their comments under the rug. But, almost always, you’ll find solid help in the given suggestions. Take them, and be glad for them.

What’s you’re writing process? Has it changed since writing your first book?

Absolutely. For one thing, I’ve graduated from pen and paper to computer screen..LOL..Plus, I no longer need to sneak around and write in secret. Since giving up my day job, and my only child is now married and out on her own, I have all the time I need to devote to writing. My husband is incredibly supportive and understanding. He knows I love sitting here from eight o’clock in the mornings till eight at night.

(I asked her if she was a panster or plotter. When she had no idea what a panster was I knew her answer already)

Ah, I see. No, I’m a plotter; however, this doesn’t mean that while in the process of writing and some brilliant idea arises from the depths of my imaginings that I shun it because it wasn’t “originally” planned. Nope. I take this idea, examine to see if it’s true “brilliance”, and if so, change the plot accordingly.

What keeps you writing?

The reward in knowing that little ole uninteresting me has the ability to string together a group of words in such a way that someone not only reads them, but they actually like them enough to want to make them available to the world, and then pay you for it I’m also a professional free-lancer with my articles appearing in various publications, my latest to come out in the August issue of Good Old Days. Not only does knowing that someone appreciates your work give you a feeling of ecstasy, but it’s incredibly humbling.

Do you have a support system? Did you have a writing community? What valuable lessons have you learned from them?

I belong to a writing guild which meets twice a month. I can’t always physically be there, but enjoy the times when I do. This group is wonderfully supportive and encouraging, and I’m glad to know them and be a part of them. Plus, my current critique partner, a lady named Lyn, is fantastic for her optimism and unfailing cheer leading. Her firsthand knowledge of England (since she lives there) was invaluable to me with writing, See No Evil, My Pretty Lady . I dearly wish I could share a cup of tea and plate of scones with this lovely woman

Define success for yourself?
I’ve always hesitated when asked the question, Do you work? What do you do? If I said, I write, then it never failed that the next inquiry was, Oh. Are you published? So now, being able to state emphatically, Yes, I am, and here’s the proof is glorious success.

What’s your comfort reads?

Seriously, the holy Bible. But otherwise, you might find me absorbed in all the James Herriot books. I love his hilarious stories. Those reads help clear the cobwebs from my mind, so that I’m more refreshed to ponder on my upcoming plots.
Who are you reading right now?
Myself. Besides writing my free lance articles, I’m also working on dividing a large manuscript into two books, and have two chapters done on my NaNoWriMo challenge.

What book(s) that makes you want to write better (or stop writing because you’ll never be that good)?

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King discouraged me so much I wanted to dump the book in the garbage. According to them, I did everything wrong. But I’m still writing and their book still sits on my desk. Hmm…

Plug away…

Ms. Thomas, aka Miss Mae, writes in different genres. As a regular contributor to the syndicated American Chronicle, her serialized story “The Mishaps of Gumdrop Island” and ‘official unofficial’ reporter named I.B. Nosey amuses children as well as adults. Her non-fiction and humor articles have appeared in Out of the Boxx, The Front Porch Magazine, and Good Old Days. Signing up for NaNoWriMo has inspired a mystery/romance novel, tentatively titled “Family Whispers”. She lives in Georgia with her wonderfully patient husband and two mixed breed adopted dogs.
See her website and trailers at
http://www.freewebs.com/missmaesite

My book, See No Evil, My Pretty Lady is going to be released on January 16th, 2008 from The Wild Rose Press as a Miniature Rose in the English Tea Rose line. Read the blurb:

New maid Dorcy Edwards spurns her wealthy employer’s attempts to seduce her. When he becomes a victim of the person the newspapers call Jack the Ripper, estranged son Gareth Davenport returns to London to handle his father’s affairs. Dorcy puzzles over what the brooding, handsome heir might be hiding behind his eye patch and black leather gloves. As circumstances unfold to expose the killer’s identity, Dorcy’s plunged into a nightmare, convinced Gareth is none other than the infamous murderer. But is Dorcy’s life what Gareth seeks? Or nothing more easily broken than her heart?

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Entry filed under: Write Questions.

COMING OUT 2007: DAMN I’VE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jennifer Elbaum  |  December 24, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    lol — this cracked me up

    “(I asked her if she was a panster or plotter. When she had no idea what a panster was I knew her answer already)”

    Great interview!

  • 2. Mel  |  December 25, 2007 at 12:23 am

    Thanks, Jennifer. She was really open about her answers.

  • 3. raine  |  December 25, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Yes, another good interview!

    And a very MERRY CHRISTMAS to you, Mel. 🙂

  • 4. Mel  |  December 25, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks, Raine.

  • 5. LtL  |  December 27, 2007 at 2:20 am

    Mel–it’s been too long since I’ve been here to your blog. L-o-v-e what you’ve accomplished here. And your books in print? I must go through and find out about that. Kinda miss the pin-up, though he was kinda the reason I had to stay away a while: always kids around. Great blog!

  • 6. Mel  |  December 27, 2007 at 2:41 am

    First thanks and my book won’t be in print for months. I will have an e-release from Wild Rose Press, but that date is still not set. Trust me I will scream it to the world once I know for sure. As to the pin up I miss him too, but he’s still on my hard drive. No sexual pun intended. And stop by I’ve always got a new post up.

  • 7. Barrie  |  December 28, 2007 at 1:00 am

    Always interesting to see a writer’s journey. Thank you!

  • 8. Mel  |  December 28, 2007 at 3:52 am

    You’re welcome, Barrie.

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