Interview: D.A. Lascelles, author of Lurking Miscellany
Self-Publisher’s Showcase: Today we are joined by D.A. Lascelles, author of Lurking Miscellany. Welcome to the Showcase Lounge, D.A.
D.A. Lascelles: Thank you for having me…
SPS: For any of our readers that haven’t come across your work previously, can you take a moment to tell us all a little about yourself?
DAL: Well, I used to be a clinical scientist but then moved into teaching but I have always been a writer ever since I can remember. Most of my writing until recently has been unpublished and has largely been world setting stuff for Live Action Roleplay events. I have taken that into my fiction work to a certain extent as some of my short stories are based on worlds I designed or helped design for games. I do enjoy the process of working out the logistics and metaphysics of a new world. This does mean I have a mix of genres I dabble in – paranormal, fantasy, SF. I guess one day I might settle on one but for the moment I like the flexibility.
SPS: What are your perfect writing conditions, and how often do you write?
DAL: Annoyingly for me the perfect conditions are usually on a bus or when walking, which is not the best time to be writing stuff down. When I am travelling I find my mind wanders more and I get some wonderful inspirations which I often cannot exploit at the time. though I do usually carry a notebook for when I get a good idea I just have to make use of. I do most of my actual writing sat in the living room with a laptop because it is comfortable and allows me to still be sociable. I’ve also done the writing in a cafe cliché. As for how often… at the moment not very due to time pressures from work. But I do try to get as much done as I can, when I can.
SPS: Can you put your finger on the moment where you decided that you wanted to publish your work?
DAL: It was round about 2004 – 2006. I had got involved with a bunch of ne-er do wells on the internet known as the BBW Romance Writers. How I ended up with them is a mystery even to me, but I guess I had decided to challenge myself and writing romance seemed to be a way to do that. They had a thing where they put together an anthology of romance stories involving plus sized women and attempted to get it published and had already had two such books successfully published. My work with them let me get Transitions out on the market through Mundania press and gave me the confidence to sell Gods of the Sea to Pulp Empires for their Pirates and Swashbucklers anthology. After that I decided to experiment with sef publishing and so Lurking Miscellany was born and later this year I am hoping to get Gods of the Deep, the sequel to Gods of the Sea, out there so it all came from that one misguided experiment with romance.
SPS: Why do you think it is that you have found yourself writing in the style that you do?
DAL: I’ve always been an avid reader and I think my style is an amalgam of all the writers I really enjoy reading. This has evolved over the years into my own style. I think this is how a lot of writers develop. You start by mimicking your favourites and then you make your own style. I have been compared to MIchaeal Moorcock and Douglas Adams so I guess that is where my stronger influences come from.
SPS: What would you say if anything, best differentiates you from other authors?
DAL: I’ve been told that my world building and description skills are very strong, I guess that comes from my experience of RPGs and LRP where you have to do a lot of work to develop your settings. I do try to think of non standard character roles too, especially in terms of what is expected from gender. I hope that Helen, my character from Transitions and Transformations, is an example of this, someone who is so comfortable and confident in her abilities that she can overcome anything.
SPS: Can you take a moment to tell us all about Lurking Miscellany?
DAL: Lurking Miscellany is exactly what the title claims – a miscellany that happened to be lurkingon my hard drive. I’d had these stories for years and never really found a home for them. Then I started to do the Steampunk events and came to the conclusion that ebooks were hard to sell in a physical marketplace where people want to have an object they could pick up and flip through. At the time my only publication was Transitions which was (and still is, though this may change soon) ebook only. My good friend Ninfa Hayes at the same events had two of her stories bound together into a small booklet called Bites for sale and I thought it sounded like a great idea. So I took those stories, did an edit on them and published them.
SPS: What led you to collate a group of short stories together, and is there a common theme ?
DAL: The common theme is, as I mention above, that these are stories which were either spun off from unfinished novels or shorts that I never got round to selling anywhere. I collected them together on that basis – it was either use them or delete them. There are stories that are SF and stories that are UF in there so it is hard to see a common genre theme. It makes for an eclectic collection…
SPS: Would you say you have a favourite story in the collection?
DAL: I like them all for different reasons. An Element of Desire is me stretching into erotica a little, Dances with Drums I have a fondness for because it helped me fix a difficult metaphysical conundrum in the world building for Waypoint in my mind, Tryptych of the Gates is fascinating because of the different theories different readers seem to have had about what is actually happening in it (I always welcome theories) and Transformations I love because it allowed me to bring Helen out to play again and I always enjoy her no nonsense, direct approach to solving problems. If I had to name a favourite I guess it would be Dances with Drums but readers so far seem to disagree with me and mostly say An Element of Desire.
SPS: Is there potential for any of the characters to appear again in future work?
DAL: The intention for Lurking Miscellany was to find out which, if any, of the ideas were worth expanding into longer novels. When I wrote Tryptych pretty much all the beta readers said it should be a longer work and An Element of Desire uses a character who was originally the hero in a stalled novel which is still waiting to be realised. As for Transformations, the characters in that had already appeared in Transitions and they may well have another outing just as soon as I can think of an appropriate single word title beginning with T.
SPS: Did you find any restrictions writing in the shorter form?
DAL: I think the short form is my default. I actually have more difficulty writing to a longer length. My brain seems set up to deliver short, punchy, single stories and it takes me more effort to extend my reach into novel length. I’ve been practising with novel length, however…
SPS: Can you tell us about the short story Transitions?
DAL: Transitions was the result of my work with the wonderful BBW Romance group. I teamed up with Canadian author Judy Bagshaw (now sadly recently lost to us) as joint editors on an anthology which ended up entitled ‘Shades of Love’. The rules were Paranormal Romance involving at least one protagonist who is plus size. In Transitions, I use several locations that mean a lot to me as the backdrop to a paranormal love story spanning several thousand years.
SPS: Were you ever tempted to expand the story to novel length?
DAL: See above for the reasons why it is not a novel, though it is half way there as a novella. I think a novel length project involving those characters is on the cards now, though. I just need to work on the ideas I have accumulating and beat them into something coherent.
SPS: Where did your inspiration for the story come from?
DAL: It started with the scene set in Roman Britain, on a beach which is near to the place where I was born, with a mad old seer and a Roman soldier. There was also another story about a contemporary pair of university students who meet when one of them hits the other with a door. Separate neither story really went anywhere but together they seemed to work so I merged them.
SPS: What’s next on the self-publishing horizon for yourself?
DAL: I am in the middle of getting Gods of the Deep, which is the sequel to Gods of the Sea, finished and hopefully ready for publication for release when I appear at the MancsterCon in August. I am also working with one of the BBW Romance writers on a Christmas themed anthology called Mercury Snowstorm.
SPS: Was the Self-Published/Indie-Published route always your preferred route for your work?
DAL: I never really thougt about it as being two routes or a question of one being preferred. Currently I have one novella out through a publisher and the collection of shorts out as self published. Trad publishing gives you more prestige still, though I think that is changing, and is certainly still the easiest way to make it big. However, I’ve found that self publishing allows a greater flexibility and also more chance to get niche stuff on the market. So you should be picking your publishing options based on the project rather than considering any method as being better than another.
SPS: Has the experience so far been all that you thought it would be?
DAL: Pretty much. I made sure I researched properly and got realistic expectations for the outcomes of my self publishing projects. So there were very few surprises. Though getting hold of an ITIN and the ISBN were trickier than expected.
SPS: If you could give one piece of advice for someone looking to get into writing, what would it be?
DAL: Read lots and write lots, keep up that process of filling your mind with what is current in your chosen genre and as many other genres as you can read then practise writing, using what you learn from your reading to improve.
SPS: Before we bring this interview to a close, it’s your chance to name-drop. Anyone who you feel is deserving of more recognition at present or someone whose writing you have recently enjoyed? Now is your chance to spread the word.
DAL: A woman I never met but who was very dear to me was Canadian BBW Romance writer, Judy Bagshaw. She was a mentor to me and an inspiration to many and I never realised how many owed a creative debt to her until she passed away earlier this year and the obituaries and tributes came out. Another great writer is Skyla Dawn Cameron whose work I had the privilege of editing and who has the singular honour of being the only writer (so far) whose work I honestly could make no changes to. If you like your Vampires more snark than sparkle I’d check her out. I’d also like to give a shout out to my fellow Tea Society members: Oblivion Storm author R.A Smith, Bites author Ninfa Hayes, Cranberry Blood author Elizabeth Morgan, Umbrella author Joy Phillips, Lebrus Stone author Miriam Khan and Starburst editor Ed Fortune.
SPS: Thank you for joining us today, D.A., and all the best for the future.
DAL: Thank you
SPS: For more information on D.A. Lascelles and his work, please do visit his Showcase Author page here.