Writing stories for and about kids that overcome the impossible...
Welcome, LM. It's so nice to have you here.
You are a mom, writer, avid reader, and lover of traveling, can you give us a little spice as to how being an avid reader and lover of traveling has added to your adventure as a writer?
Reading was always my way of escape. Although, I seemed to be a practical and boring kid, when I read it was like I was a Jeanie that could transform into new worlds, lives and adventures. Traveling gave me more of an opportunity to live out the adventures that I’ve read about. Both traveling and reading set the stage for my desire to write and the places I create with my world building.
Now, as important as that is, it's obvious from reading some of your thoughts on family that they are your life. How has being a mom and wife motivated you to aspire to more?
As a mother, I look at my kids and they are my personal cheering section. I could have a hard day at work, or come in contact with someone that gets pleasure ripping my great day into pieces and when I look at my kids – it all melts away. Not to mention, they inspire my desire to write great stories that they’d want to read.
Having a large family is tough during any age but especially in today's world. How you juggle it all?
I’m a planner. I wasn’t always that way, but it started when I was in college. I worked three part-time jobs and went to school full-time. As a product of a teenaged single parent household, I’d watched my mom work 2 jobs while struggling to take care of myself and my brother. Even then, I’d realized the importance of good planning. Now, I set aside my goals to accomplish for the day and put in some late nights in order to get it done.
Setting goals and writing them down is so helpful.
Do you think having children of such an age span helps your writing?
My kids definitely help my writing. They truly and honestly critique me. When I write something that is not interesting, they let me know. They are also my greatest champions and constantly encourage me to write. Also, we have this family tradition, I read my WIP to them while we travel and drive the long hours to my ‘happy place’ – Disney.
Aw, that's such a nice memory and a great way to include them. Great *happy place* by the way.
I read in one of your posts on your blog that when you were a teen, you had the Go-Go's (which is hilarious to me because I so remember them), not teen clubs. How do you think teen's living out loud has changed the face of the YA perspective?
As a reader of YA lit, I love the honesty in the genre. As a parent, sometimes I’m a bit shocked at the accounts of some works. With that said, when I was younger I skipped the ‘kiddy lit’ and went for adult books that I knew darned well I shouldn’t have been reading. With the change in the face of YA lit, teens are being won back. Heck, even adults are seeking YA lit out. I think teens nowadays aren’t afraid to exercise their voices. I’ve encouraged my kids to do so in so many ways. The current YA perspective now has teens involved – even writing awesome books that address their concerns, fears, and growth.
Your first published novel was Explorer X-Alpha, released in February of this year. How has being published, physical book in your hand, differed from the drive and stride to get there?
Getting published has a lot of pressure with it that I didn’t realize until I got there. Now I have to fit in writing with promotion, marketing, and all that goes with building an audience. When I talk to kids or readers I become accountable for what I’ve written, and it reflects on their opinion of me not just as a writer, but as a person. It’s amazing that now, I’ve become more than just a writer, but have the ability to speak personally to the group my writing is meant for. In a word, I’d say “Amazing.”
Wow. I totally agree.
THE PACK, to be released in the Fall of 2010
Can you tell us a little about your main character?
The main character in The Packhas it all - cool girly clothes, a motorcycle named Pearl, and a too die for hottie on her tracks. She’s a girl – but she kicks major booty and is somewhat cocky. She’s a blind vigilante who’s desire is to save the missing kids on Mars.
Sci fi is fascinating to me. How did you come up with the setting and the details?
There were several things that influenced the idea of The Pack. I had originally planned for this character to be a male. I had told my beta team (my kids and husband) about this idea I had about a blind vigilante that organizes a group of misfit kids to fight against a major crime organization on Mars.
My daughter told me that she wanted me to write about a female main character. That it would be cool to have a girl in the role. I smiled and Shamira’s face appeared in my minds eye.
I decided that her mission would be to save missing kids, because I wanted to write about missing kids escaping from captivity. Every day at my job, I passed a board of missing children. My heart went out to them, and I always hurt for their loss. Once a former colleague who’d been a police officer told me of a horrible case where he had located missing kids that were captured and being used in despicable ways by their captors who had enslaved them for years before disposing of them. These sad facts were the makings of The Pack.
As for the setting and details, that’s the engineer in me. I try to think of every possible need of that world and express just enough for the reader to create the rest.
It is a two-book series that I truly enjoyed writing. It’s aimed at kids 14yrs and up. It has adventure, twist and romance all in one. The true adventure is the building of trust and true friendship that empowers Shamira to become the champion she was meant to be. The Explorer X series was aimed at kids 12yrs old and up.
What are you currently working on?
Bandits, the first in a two book series, is about a teenaged boy who was raised as a thief and mercenary by his renowned father. His relationship with his father was strained due to his father’s refusal to continue his role as a leader of the Zukar. With his father’s murder, he discovers that his father snatched then hid a treasure that is not only worth killing for – but holds a power beyond mortal control. He sets out with his brother and friends to find the treasure before his father’s murderer does. His time is running out as the killer closes in, and the price to stop the inevitable destruction of his world becomes higher than he could ever pay.
I've heard you mention 'How to Dream Big.' How do you dream big?
I push myself to take chances. Research rogue ways to reach my goals, then hold on tight while I attempt them. Worse thing that could happen is that I’ll learn from my failures and become all the more stronger.
Great motto. Love that.
Well, as expected, this has been a pleasure, LM. Thank you for shedding some new light on the sci fi genre for YA. Best of luck to you always.
Want more of LM Preston? Please visit her sites below and by all means watch her book trailer for The Pack.