Interview with Lauren Ritz

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I started "writing" before I learned the alphabet, so the answer would be no. I remember a lot of different stories, but not that one.
What is your writing process?
I am a 100% pantser, otherwise known as a discovery writer. I don't outline, I don't plan, I just sit down and start writing. I learned quickly that I have to write straight through or the stories will never get finished. I have many stories where I skipped a piece and never went back to finish it. Once the writing is finished I do seven edits before the book is ready.
How do you approach cover design?
I have no budget so I create my own covers. The process depends on the book or story, but it starts with an idea--find the idea that will showcase the story best, whether that's an image, a background, or a typeface, and build the cover around it. The book does not go out until I'm satisfied with the cover.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's like asking what shape is my favorite snowflake. I have lots of books I enjoy, but my "favorite" depends on what I'm reading at the moment.
Describe your desk
A mess. I'm writing at the kitchen table because my desk has been overtaken by a pile of papers that need to be filed and the backup table is occupied by Christmas. I can't even push anything back because the back is a pile of herb books.
When did you first start writing?
I've been making up stories since I could talk. Unfortunately I wasn't too good at drawing them so I had to wait until I learned to write.

I started writing seriously (i.e., as if it was a career rather than a hobby) about ten years ago.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Writing! : )
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have so many interests I have to censor them to some extent or nothing would ever get done. I write, I dance (ballroom, latin, swing), I play in the dirt (i.e., garden), I'm studying herbalism, I make soap and cheese. I like art--painting, sculpture--but I don't do it much. I spend way too much time on Facebook.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I can't say I remember the first book I ever read. I hated reading, but my older sister loved it and I wanted to be just like her. So I walked into the library at school and picked out the first book that looked interesting. Read it beginning to end and never stopped reading. It was "The Forgotten Door" by Alexander Key and it started a love of science fiction that still persists.
What do you read for pleasure?
A little bit of everything. Mostly I choose sci-fi and fantasy, but I'll read anything that looks interesting. I can't usually stand literary fiction but I'll read anything if someone I trust recommends it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A lot of things. Much of what I write is too short for "traditional" publishing, being under 70,000 words. Other things...I write fantasies that are by no means traditional, although many of them have a root in a traditional fairy tale--the story that started out as Rapunzel has a tower in it. :)

I like the idea of controlling my own stories. I don't have to put garbage in my stories to make them acceptable. I don't have to deal with publishers who suddenly decide to pull my book or agents who have a different idea of my direction than I do. I'll still work toward traditional publishing for the longer stories, but at the moment I'm happy with my direction.
Published 2013-12-20.
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Books by This Author

Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 11,150. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Apocalyptic, Fiction » Science fiction » Short stories
In other universes I have fallen silent. In our own I hear of nations quarantined as the disease sweeps the planet. If it is not stopped I may be the only survivor. There are those who don't want it stopped. They may kill me, but they work without a full understanding of my greatest strength. I am never alone.
The Heart of the Castle
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 76,240. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » General, Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure
The young prince's parents named him unfit and beat him until he lay near death, his blood staining the hems of their fine robes. They imprisoned him in the maze beneath their palace so that their Clan servants would not learn what they had done. For five hundred years the unseen prince has manipulated the politics of the Kingdom, but today he will reclaim his throne.
Price: Free! Words: 7,460. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - multi-author
A compilation of Flash Fiction (each story under 1000 words) from authors Laura D Bastian, Rebecca Blevins, JD Lerud, Lauren Ritz, and Best Selling author Wendy Knight. This compilation covers all kinds of transformations, from a dragon (not one of your peasant roasting dragons) befriending a human, to an old woman finishing up her "bucket list."
Dark Spirit
Series: Spirit, Inga. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 41,900. Language: English. Published: December 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Contemporary
Spirit ability is a complication Inga Tarsi does not need, but sometimes the only way to survive is to do things you would rather not do. When family gets involved, that goes double. Why can't anything dealing with Spirit be simple?
Series: Spirit, Val. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 27,200. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Urban, Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
Valerian Howell has no intention of using the Spirit skills she was born with, until she stands over the body of another spirit worker at a murder scene. Then it's either use those skills or get flattened, with the dubious help of an irritatingly attractive coworker-turned-bodyguard who just might be working for her enemies.
Without A Voice
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 32,360. Language: English. Published: March 25, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General, Fiction » Christian » Suspense
Don’t put yourself on the grid. No credit cards, new name, new city. Few friends, no family. Connections of any kind are a risk. Five years ago Mae left Justin in Orlando. Now he's found her. Justin is the whisper in the dark, a shadow on the street, the phantom no one sees.
The Storyteller
Price: Free! Words: 4,500. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author, Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
A collection of three original fairy tales, without pictures: The Princess and the Dragon, The Storyteller, and The Special Tree.