Happy Friday, Friends! I hope you are enjoying my Friday Friends series of author spotlights. It is my pleasure to introduce you to author A. K. Lawrence today.
1. So, what have you written?
I currently have three completed novels. I released them in written order through Amazon, now we’re re-releasing them in an odd order through Booktrope Publishing.
At Wit’s End is my first re-release, and my most recently completed manuscript. It’s a cyber romantic suspense story that I had a lot of fun with.
Freedom’s Treasure is my second re-release and the second book I wrote. It’s a romance, about searching for a treasure left behind by a runaway slave from the Civil War era. It takes place in a small town I love in Michigan. Look for this in late June 2016
Extremity was my first ever, and will be my third re-release. It’s an FBI thriller that takes place in many areas across the country, but mostly takes place in my hometown of Richland, Michigan. This is scheduled for release in January 2017.
2. What have been your favorite places to visit?
There have been so many that it’s difficult to answer this question. I am a spontaneous, ride the tide kind of person, so I’m often off on diversionary side trips and discovering new locations.
I loved Jamaica when I visited there, and I’d like to go back. I find that country disturbing, and I want to explore more of that feeling.
It’s disconcerting to hang out in a luxurious resort, but the minute the gate closes when I go to see local sites, it’s a poverty stricken area that breaks my heart. I was 19 when I went there and the first thing I truly thought was, “It’s really weird they have billboards up, in Jamaica, advertising Jamaica. I can’t imagine always hocking my hometown in the hopes I can get a few bucks.”
My spouse (who I’ll refer to as My Companion quite often) has gone with me to several new places here in Florida. I’ll confess that Anna Maria Island is one of my favorite places right now. If we hit the lottery, our first purchase would be a house there.
I’ll add a third, because I can. The family cabin in Baldwin, Michigan, is my favorite place in the entire world. Except for in the winter. My grandparents bought the property back in the 60s and built their own A-Frame. Freedom’s Treasure (and the upcoming sequels) are based upon this.
3. How did you conceive the story of Freedom’s Treasure?
Back to the family cabin we go! Haha! The A-Frame up there is fun, gorgeous, and completely unplugged. There’s no internet, cable, or really even basic television stations. My only options are crossword puzzles on the deck with coffee, taking long walks in deep woods, and starting fires in the monster sized fire pit.
There are several unmarked graves throughout the Baldwin area. I had always been curious about them. Then I discovered that Baldwin and the surrounding towns, had been part of the Underground Railroad.
Inspiration was born.
4. How did you conceive the story of At Wit’s End?
I am interested in all things computer. A long time ago, I even had a “handle” I used, which I will not share here. I never wanted to learn to program or hack, but I enjoy learning about the process.
When I moved to Florida in 2013 I met someone who, at the time, was an IT security specialist. It was his job to try to hack bank accounts and, if he was successful, put the fix in.
Color me intrigued.
I have a friend in Michigan who’s a fantastic cook. When I’m rolling in dough, I’ll be hiring her as my live-in. She’s told me about her plans for a small catering company. I used a derivative of her name, stole her catering idea. She’s not the greatest with computers and I found myself wondering what would happen if she got hacked. In the story Marie doesn’t actually get hacked, the guy has her passwords, but it did take me along some fun flights of fancy.
5. What was the most curious thing you discovered in your research?
That Dolph Lundgren has a genius IQ. Seriously. I can’t remember why I was looking that up, but I’m still reeling from this information.
That and any scary thing I imagine a skilled person with a keyboard could do, is probably being done somewhere. I designed the IGGY program as I wrote the story, and My Consultant would just nod and say, “Yep, that’s been done, let me show you.”
6. What music inspires you?
Most of it? Is that a fair answer? I like all kinds of music, and my characters design their own playlists.
For example, when I was writing Marie in At Wit’s End, I listened to a lot of Dave Matthews, The Lumineers, and a few “hippie bands” from my youth.
When I was writing Wit, I listened to a lot of Seether, Three Days Grace, Three Doors Down, Red Hot Chili Peppers, like that.
7. How many books did you read last year?
I may have to ask My Companion/Consultant to create a program to figure that out. If I check my Kindle, and add in books I’ve bought and borrowed… it’s still incalculable for me. I used to read a book a day. That has slowed down as I’ve been “adulting” more and more.
8. Coffee or Tea?
If I am not craving coffee the moment I wake up, someone should take me to the doctor.
9. What is your favorite movie?
My go-to answer is Gone With the Wind. I don’t run across it randomly like modern movies so I question if this is nostalgia.
Mr and Mrs Smith because I love the story and the line, “Happy endings are stories that haven’t finished yet,’ has always stuck with me.
Seven Psychopaths is up there as well. Brilliantly written and cast.
10. Do you have any writing rituals?
Not especially. I used to, or believed that I did. As I’ve grown closer to accepting that writing is my fulltime job now, I have dropped the rituals. I didn’t have any when I worked office or restaurant jobs, so it makes little sense to have them now.
The only real ritual is when I finish a manuscript, I burn all of my handwritten notes (after scanning them into DropBox).
11. Do you have a theme song?
Not a specific one. I have this habit of taking Christmas carols and changing the words around to suit my current status.
For example, I’m dreaming of a white Christmas has been changed to “I’m dreaming of a long nap”. But I generally go more than one line. I don’t realize I’m doing it until My Companion starts laughing.
Why my brain goes to Christmas music, I’ll never understand.
12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to trust my gut instincts. To be proud of the body that is taking me through life. Not everyone will be looking out for my best interest, so I had better. Trust that things will work out how they’re supposed to.
Author Bio: I grew up in a small town in Michigan. I traveled the country thereafter, constantly trying new states, new jobs, and meeting new people. I thought I was living life but really I was researching for when I would start writing novels. That is something I’ve wanted to do since the age of 13 when I told myself I would travel the world, write books, and drop home for random visits bearing cool gifts. I admit I’ve stalled in the States but that’s easily amendable.
I’m not much of a fitness freak but I do enjoy making use of my treadmill when the words or ideas just don’t want to come. I set it at a fast pace, blare the music and start dancing. It took much practice but I’m able to move my upper body completely out of sync with the lower and not look like a spasmodic twig on the machine. It’s fun, what can I say…?
I ran a blog that I named Three O’Clock Java as I found every day I needed to stop around then for a breather, regardless of what I was working on. It turned into a great time during the day to take stock, share any words that weren’t meant for a manuscript, and create purposeful goof off time. The site has since been changed to my homepage at http://www.AKLawrence.com
Much of my time is spent with my Companion and our two pets. We have an adorable, energetic 2 year old kitten (always a kitten) named Shirin which means “sweet” in Farsi. We also have a rescued Dappled Dachsund named Cocoa. He has officially learned to fetch which took a lot of work and patience.