From the sprawling plains of North Central Iowa comes an author of fantasy, urban and LGBT books that have captured the imagination of many readers. Author Layla Dorine is a lover of nature and a crafter of worlds where her stories spring to life. she describes her latest book, Serpent’s Kiss, and shares words of encouragement for new and upcoming writers.
What can you tell us about your book, Serpent’s Kiss?
“In regards to my book, Serpent’s Kiss, what makes it stand out first and foremost that you see a book on snake shape shifters, and in writing it, I didn’t keep them in the human world, where the story starts, but took the readers into their underground lairs and catacombs, the politics that surround them and the governing systems too. While there are elements of romance, they are secondary, it’s a book about finding ones tribe and making a place for oneself in it, and in coming to grips with a power that one can barely understand or control. A power that has often lead to them being shamed and ostracized.”
Can you give us an overview of the story?
“While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister, Kaandhal come across the last pure blooded psy-clairvoyant of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in learning, or in helping them locate their brother, Zxex.
A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, Darian’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any assistance to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home Rhumba, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.
With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.
Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to gain possession of him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles.”
Not only have you just released a new book, but you are also an accomplished blogger. Can you describe your blog for us?
“My Blog, Rainbow Lyrics and Mellow Mushrooms, not only gives readers information on when new books and shorts will be released, but I post snippets of works in progress as well as standalone flash fiction stories and bits of commentary on things that pop up from time to time.”
When did you first know you would become an author?
“At about 12 years old, I was inspired to try and write a novel after reading SE Hinton’s The Outsiders. I’d read in a magazine that she was 15 when it was published and I thought to myself, wow, that’s pretty cool, I have stories I’d like to tell, I wonder if I can do that too. So I embarked on a journey that lasted all of about five chapters, and then I lost interest and put it away, but I never lost the desire to be an author one day.”
Are there any challenges you have overcome that you would like to elaborate on in relation to writing?
“The biggest was fear, not wanting to show manuscripts to people, which kept me from attending workshops I really should have taken part in, especially in college. I allowed myself to follow a ‘safe’ route, and came back to writing only after I started to realize that the characters and their stories weren’t going to go away and that I really did want to learn how to convey them correctly. Still, there was always that concern about being laughed at, mocked, or outright insulted for my efforts, and there are times, like when signups go around for conferences or takeovers, where I’m scared of interactions with others.”
Do you have a favorite quote?
Jim Morrison, for his three volumes of poetry, Wilderness, The Lords and the New Creatures, and An American Night. I discovered them when I was in high school, fell in love with the flow of his words and the images he conveyed. If I had to choose one quote, it would be from Ghost Song.
“Shake dreams from your hair
My pretty child, my sweet one.
Choose the day and
choose the sign of your day
The day’s divinity
First thing you see.
A vast radiant beach
in a cool jeweled moon
Couples naked race down by it’s quiet side
And we laugh like soft, mad children
Smug in the woolly cotton brains of infancy
The music and voices are all around us.”
-James Douglas “Jim” Morrison
What advice would you give to a beginning writer?
“Let your muse guide you, don’t let someone else come along and tell you what genre to write or what stories to tell. Be true to yourself and your vision. There is a difference between constructive help with form, format and flow, and someone reshaping your story into something that was vastly different from what you imagined. Be patient, ask questions, be willing to admit to mistakes and learn from them. Do your best to grow with each story. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”
Do you have any additional advice for new writers looking for inspiration?
“Cultivate strong, positive friendships and build each other up, be there to celebrate one another’s joys and offer comfort in times of sorrow. Be willing to make trades, to read for others and have them read for you, to interact and share advice as you come across it, to take part in groups and listen with an open mind. Let words sink into your brain before you talk, don’t spend half the conversation formulating your next answer, you’ll miss something. See knowledge, research, listen to what others wish to share, sometimes in their words you might find the spark you’ve been looking for. See things, don’t live in a bubble, experience as much as you can, those experiences make great foundations for books. Most of all though, just have fun with everything you do.”
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— 📖 cHaOsPiRaTiOnS 🔥 (@chaospirations1) April 4, 2017
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