Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi, my name is L.J. Epps and I’m the author of the series, Extinction Of All Children. My series is about a young girl named Emma. Her world has been divided into three territories the rich, the working class, and the poor by an evil president. The poor are no longer allowed to have children, since they do not have the means to take care of them.
Emma is the last eighteen-year-old in her territory; every baby born after her has died. Somehow, she survived this fate. During the president’s Monday night speech, she announces a party will be held to honor the last child in the territory, Emma Whisperer. Emma must read a speech, expressing how happy she is to be the last eighteen-year-old.
Emma doesn’t like the rules; she feels she must rebel against them. After doing what she feels is right, Emma finds herself in imminent danger.
What is/are the story(ies) behind your book(s)?
I was sleeping and I often dream when I sleep. Sometimes I remember my dreams and sometimes I don’t. This particular time I did remember my dream. It was about a young girl who had just turned eighteen. She lived in a dim, dark world where she was the last eighteen-year-old because children were not allowed to be born. The president in that particular world felt like the poor didn’t deserve to have children because they could not take care of them. The president separated the world by territories. The lower class-the poor. The middle class, and the upper class-the very rich or wealthy.
Emma ended up in the lower class. Everything came to me that night her name Emma Whisperer popped into my dream as well as the name of the president which was President Esther…and the president’s husband which was Henry.
I loved the idea of showing how different classes were separated and couldn’t mingle together. After that dream I was determined to make the book become a reality.
What inspires/inspired your creativity?
I think reading other novels and watching movies inspires me. I often watch a show/movie or read a novel…and my mind instantly jumps to how I think it will end. I often think of what twist or turn will come next. I sometimes like to change the ending in my mind because my ending would have somehow been better. This inspires me to write my own novels and that way I can write my own ending as well as my own twists and turns.
How do you deal with creative block?
I like to listen to music when I have a block. Music helps the words start to flow in my brain again. I’m happy to say I don’t have creative block that often because the words just seem to come.
What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?
I feel like the biggest mistakes you can make in a book are telling and not showing. I also feel the biggest mistake you can make is not having the manuscript edited.
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
Personally, I like covers that don’t show people on them. I prefer for the reader to dream up the character in their own mind, from the description I give them. I feel it’s more fun for the reader that way. I also like short titles that get right to the point and stand out. I like titles that showcase what your book is about. I also like titles that match the genre.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
Being a writer comes with some highs and some lows-and getting reviews is a part of that. I had to learn early on that criticism hurts, and every so often a negative thought can creep into your head…thoughts of maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe I should stop writing and sharing my stories with the world. But those negative thoughts are quickly replaced with positive ones, because I love to write…I have so many stories in my head just itching to come out. So, I just move on and remember the positive comments that I get…those positive reviews keep me going.
How has your creation process improved over time?
I started out as a panster with no outline at all. As I have progressed in my writing, I am still a panster but now I call myself a plotter as well because I try to also follow some kind of an outline. I may let the words flow for a while…but I always go back to my outline to see what should come next.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your book(s)?
The best thing I encountered during the writing process would be the satisfied feeling I’d get when I would complete a scene. The worst thing I encountered would be how many edits and rewrites that are involved. I would think I was done but after another look from my editor I would have to rewrite a scene for the millionth time. Lol. The most surprising would be how many times I would read over my novel and find a mistake I hadn’t noticed before. A word would be misspelled or a character had the wrong color purse. It surprised me at how many times you could look over a scene and my eyes would just gloss over the mistake. That’s why beta readers and editors are needed. I would say it surprised me at how many proofreads were needed.
Do you tend towards personal satisfaction or aim to serve your readers? Do you balance the two and how?
I have a certain idea in mind for my books but I also aim to serve my readers. So, I try to put a little bit of both in the mix. I once had a reader say that all my characters survived and that seemed fake to them. I tried to change that in the rest of the series. I didn’t particularly want to do it but I did end up killing some characters off so I could give the readers what they wanted. I’ve also had readers that wanted more action, so I tried to make my novels action packed and add lots of twist and turns.
What role do emotions play in creativity?
I think it plays a big role. If your reading a particular book that makes you cry or makes you frustrated…you can carry those emotions with you for the rest of the day. I also feel the same when writing. If you’re in a bad mood when writing that emotion can be seen in the words you write. As well as if you are in a good mood those happy emotions can show in your writing too.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
I can’t really say I have any creative tricks besides listening to music. Music helps the words flow and helps me map out my scenes.
What are your plans for future books?
The novel I’m currently working on is women’s fiction/romance. It’s about a woman living in a small town whose husband just up and left her. This woman has to figure out how to provide for her young daughter. She also has to figure out how to move on and find love again. There are twists and turns which I love in a novel. I hope once it’s completely finished others like it too.
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself
I love to read comic books. I guess I could be called a comic book geek. I love all things comics and could stay up reading them all night. I also love all movies based off of comic books. Marvel movies are my favorite.
Learn more about L.J. Epps books at http://www.ljeppsauthor.com