About Lelani Black:
Lelani Black met her husband in beautiful Hawaii. Four grown kids, one fur-kid, ten koi fish and a coop full of unruly chickens later, she and her software developer husband are still making beautiful music together. While they live in the beautiful Rockies, Lelani considers Hawaii home where she and her husband own an acre of jungle property near a macadamia nut farm, and where they plan to someday retire to the tropics.
What inspires you to write?
A passion for adventure, a quirky imagination that can’t keep still, the joy of love and of being loved – these are some of the things I take inspiration from. Life growing up, living and working in the Hawaiian tropics – home of some of the most beautiful places in the world and home to people with culturally diverse backgrounds – fed my imagination. While my characters may be fictional, hope, happiness, humor and love are real, and worth writing about.
Tell us about your writing process.
I often recycle expired calendars, and use post-it notes to write events on and stick them on certain dates on the calendar, aside from keeping up with a basic timeline. My earlier books were fly by the seat of my pants. I had an outline in my head and would write these short, spicy novellas. Several novel-length books later, I’ve found that it helps me to get away from the computer where I prefer to hand write a synopsis, and to detail the looks and quirks of each character that way.
I go to a coffeehouse to write out the bones of my story, to jot down key scenes, dialogue or events. Writing a basic outline on paper gears me up to be productive when I’m finally at the keyboard. Also, I make sure to participate in a Book in a Month challenge once a year.
While few people will complete a book in a month, it’s the process of training oneself to free-write, without stopping to pick apart and edit the work in progress, that a writer may benefit from.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Reading passages of the story out loud. Reading dialogue out loud from each character’s point of view.
What advice would you give other writers?
I have learned from my own experiences, and from others, that not everyone, including family or friends, will support a writer’s passion. I also accept that it’s okay. This is my dream, not theirs. Luckily, the ones who do support me are the ones who matter in my heart, and to my peace of mind. I’ve also learned that this business venture, like any other, can be full of, and attract, malicious and petty people. Some you’ll know, others will be strangers to you, so cultivate the heart of a lion and some rhinoceros skin. Love what you do because having a passion in life is a rare thing, and some will resent you for it.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I had been reading books put out by digital publishers back when e-books were gaining traction. Reading and researching. Scores of yet to be published writers saw it as a chance to test new waters. Digital publishers were also throwing their doors open for submissions. They were also putting out quality e-books, and since I had shorter erotic books that would never see a traditional contract (they were novella length), I had nothing to lose by submitting them to a digital publisher for consideration.
I could still submit my full-length, contemporary romance novels to a paperback publisher for review, so that was a plus. My plan was to keep my erotic fiction with my digital publisher and submit my steamy-sweet, novel-length romances with one of the paperback publishers.
Then along came a new kid on the block; the Indie platform. A friend suggested I self-publish my contemporary romances on Amazon. Freshly rejected by a paperback publisher (but with an invitation to submit anything else I might have to them) I instead made the choice to go Indie with Book 1 of my Hawaiian Isles love stories, Bargain Bride, Billionaire Groom. That story went on to hit #1 on Amazon’s Love and Romance paid category. What a feeling, to see one’s work take off in an unexpected way.
Also, since my books’ heat levels range from steamy-sweet, to quirky-humorous, to hot-as-blazes erotic romance, it made sense for me to keep my spicier romances with a publisher experienced in getting them into markets I was not familiar with, while I managed the Indie titles in my Island Moonlight Collection on Amazon.
Advice for new authors? Experiment with different tools, be it Kindle’s KDP Free promo days. I don’t recommend it if the author only has one book out, and authors shouldn’t do a Free promo on a book if they’re not prepared to receive a broad spectrum of reviews, positive, negative and in between. Kindle Countdown deals, price points, changing out a book cover can also make a difference without costing a lot. Of course nothing is ever guaranteed in this business. The best a writer can do is to keep writing, keep improving their craft, and to really love what it is they do because sometimes that’s the best reward there is.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
As an author, It gets more and more challenging. Promo and marketing for Indies can be a part-time job. Thousands of new books are being introduced to the market on a regular basis. As a reader, it’s great to see new books and new writers on the scene, offering up choices and variety for readers. I also think there’s never been a better time for aspiring writers to create their own opportunities. To run down their dream of seeing their book on virtual shelves, in print, or even in audio. This was a pipe dream for many aspiring writers ten years ago, but no longer. So…go for it!
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
Lelani Black Home Page Link
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.