Lux and Legacy of the Mind
(The Legacy Trilogy #1)
Publication date: January 2nd 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Anita has never been ordinary, she’s stuck out like a sore thumb her entire life; not only can she see the energy of others, a rare skill, but she’s won every Body challenge she’s ever entered. So when the powerful, good looking Descendants, Marcus and Alexander, mysteriously arrive in Empire, her difference attracts and keeps their attention.
Once in Empire, the sudden death of ruling Body Descendant, Christiana, sets in motion a number of events; a quest for the treacherous Austin to find the girl Christiana had been looking for; a challenge where Anita stands out more vibrantly than ever before; a perilous dip in the world’s energy; and a dangerous belief among the people that they will never truly be free. Powerful factions soon form within the ruling elite and when a trusted friend and mentor reaches out to ask for Anita’s help, she has to make a choice; help her friend and betray the one she loves, or do nothing and watch the people starve.
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I’ve always been a big reader and have always loved writing, but I never thought about it seriously as a career option, I’m not sure why, maybe because English was never my favourite subject at school.
Like a lot of people, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a clear idea about what I want to be, but somehow ended up as a Project Manager. To be good at this, you have to be organized, good at making things happen, and disciplined, which are all helpful traits in an author too, so maybe my subconscious was preparing me for what it really wanted to do all along!
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
About a year, but I think I could do it more quickly if I had more of a deadline. The problem with self-publishing is that it’s only you (and your readers) you have to answer to, so there’s no scary authority pushing you and no hard deadline looming ahead.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I take a lot of inspiration from the world around us. For The Legacy Trilogy, there are a lot of parallels with our world, such as the obsession with celebrity and royalty, fighting over natural resources, depleting energy supplies, and lies and corruption within those who lead us. Aside from that, there always needs to be a bit of fantasy and a good dose of romance!
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I don’t have a set schedule, but I have a toddler, so I have to work around her. As a result, I only have her afternoon nap time to write in (or sometimes I write in the evening if I’m feeling particularly disciplined or if my husband is away). Nap time is variable, but generally it’s about an hour and a half or two hours. This is great for focus, as I know if I don’t write then, then I won’t write at all that day, so it really helps make me get stuff done.
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
It’s really tricky. As I mentioned above, I’ve got a toddler, and up until recently had a part time job with a long commute to London (the kind where you have to stand up, packed in like sardines – I tried to write on the train a couple of times but it just doesn’t work for me – hats off to EL James who did this all the time!).
I think it’s just about being determined and being really careful to prioritize stuff. For example, I always try to make sure I’m at home for nap time as this is the only time I can write. This might mean bailing on a play date early, or arranging my day differently to how I’d like to, but it’s the only way to get the writing done. That said, I don’t write in the evenings as I want to spend time with my family, so again, it’s all just a case of priorities. Although, I’m about to have another baby, so I have no idea what will happen then!
6. What elements do you think make a great story line?
A fast pace, genuine intrigue, cliff hangers, romance, something a bit fantastical (or at least a bit different to normal, everyday life), and people having to do things they’re not really comfortable with.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
Putting it out into the world once it was finished. To begin with, I felt a bit ridiculous and was really nervous to tell anyone that I’d written a book, including my husband. I was embarrassed in case it was rubbish, and was terrified about how the rest of the world would judge it. Luckily I’ve had a great reception, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
I’ve written three so far, the three books in The Legacy Trilogy. I don’t think I have a favourite. I like them all for different reasons and they all mark different stages in the plot and characters’ development.
9. Do you have a favorite character?
I don’t think so. All my characters are purposely flawed in some way, to make them more human, which means there’s something I do and don’t like about them all. Although, having said that, I think Bas is underrated – he’s pretty great.
10. Where do you write?
On the sofa or in bed. I just don’t seem to be able to write at a desk. When I was at school, I would do all my homework on my bed or on the floor. When I was at University I would write essays in bed, under the covers (partly because it was so freezing cold in Scotland and we couldn’t afford to have the heating on!). And now I write my books on the sofa. Maybe I need the comfy environment to get my creativity going…
11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
I really didn’t know anything about the publishing industry before I wrote my first book and was very naïve. I had the terrible preconception (as I’m sure lots of people do) that self-publishing was only for people who couldn’t get a ‘proper’ publishing deal. When I looked into it, I realized how wrong this was.
I think the thing that really pushed me to self-publish was the amount of time it takes to both get a traditional publishing contract (if indeed this ever happens), and the creative control you lose down this route. Self-publishing, on the other hand, you can put your book out there as soon as you think it’s ready, without having to make wholesale changes to your storyline and characters because your publisher has told you this is what you have to do.
Having said that, I think both routes have pros and cons, and the support and publicity offered by an agent and publisher is, I’m sure, invaluable, so it really just depends what’s most important to the author at the time they want to publish.
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
My younger sister has been amazingly supportive the whole way along. She’s great for bouncing ideas, discussing plot lines, and giving positive feedback, which is really helpful if you’re an insecure author. I think she’s my biggest fan! My older sister enjoyed the books too, but doesn’t really read this genre. This means she gives more critical and objective feedback, which is priceless.
Other than that, I was surprised to see that my Aunt left a really nice review on Amazon saying how much she enjoyed it, so that was a nice surprise too!
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
Horse riding, walking, gardening (especially growing vegetables), cooking (and eating!), cycling and spending time with my family.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Stop putting it off and just give it a go – what have you got to lose? And make a plan so you know where your story is going.
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
I don’t have an absolute favourite. Maybe Game of Thrones at the moment because the books are just so brilliant at keeping the reader turning the pages.
I love JK Rowling’s story and I think she’s inspired a lot of people to get writing. It’s also so refreshing how open she’s been about the rejection she faced from the publishing industry.
16. Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
I discuss it with friends who have read the books and with my sisters. I don’t like to go too wide as I think sometimes too many opinions can make things more cloudy, but it’s definitely important to get a solid external view.
17. Are you working on anything now?
Now I’ve finished The Legacy Trilogy, I’m starting to work on a new and totally different idea set in our world but slightly in the future. There’s so much change coming our way in the next couple of decades, I think it will be a fascinating time. But with the new baby, I’m not putting any pressure on myself in terms of timelines!
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
My daughter, Spring, food, exhilarating sports, great songs.
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad
The way the media portrays politics and politicians, photo shopping models, celebrity obsession, ridiculous dieting, people who are unwilling to accept change.
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
That’s a really hard one as I’ve found the best places for book backgrounds have been ones I didn’t necessarily expect to provide the best inspiration, so, by that measure, it would probably be somewhere seemingly terrible! But I’d love to go somewhere like Scandinavia, or Iceland, as the scenery is amazing, I have images of staying in treetop hotels, and there’s a chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Thanks so much for being here today, Harriet!
Harriet was born in Germany in 1987, the family returning to the UK, to Dorset shortly afterwards. She lived there until she was 5, her grandfather teaching her the basics of cheating at cards and swindling chocolate, her mother starting to instil a (some would argue) unhealthy relationship with cake, and the neighbours demonstrating that some people don’t understand cherry blossom is there to be picked, mixed with mint and water and sold as perfume.
Then there was Scotland; stealthy guinea pig breeding, riding horses, advanced cards, more cake, then to Devon and school in Exeter. She loved maths in the early years, but by the time she got to A Level, Sociology was her favourite subject, opening her eyes to things she’d never before considered, namely, nobody is really right, nobody is really normal and primary socialisation has a lot to answer for.
At the age of about 12, Harriet started rowing for Exeter Rowing Club. This quickly took over her life and before too long she was clad in lycra, training 6 days a week and competing at events around the country.
After finishing her A Levels, Harriet went to university in St Andrews, studying Philosophy for two years, then switching to Management. She was particularly interested in the ‘people’ elements of her course and especially the areas concerning how people create and react to change. After four very civilised years by the sea, she ventured to London, to foray into the strange world of insurance (surprisingly, more interesting than you might think), where she currently works as a Project Manager.
Harriet has recently moved to Hertfordshire with her husband Chris and baby Atia. When she isn’t doing DIY, writing, editing, eating, taking photos, or imagining how much better life would be with the addition of a springer spaniel, she occasionally finds the time to make hats.
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