Interview with A. Lightbourne

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Florida. We lived right outside of Disney in Kissimmee when it was just a little rodeo town. Where we lived had a shuttle to Disney property so my brother and I would go there every day after school. I believe my daily exposure to the wonderful sights, sounds and atmosphere at Disney helped to shape my imagination.

Since I grew up in a tourist area, exposed to people from all over the world I was able to get to know, watch and listen to people of other cultures and how they interacted. I have gotten to know people from all sorts of backgrounds which helps in creating believable characters.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing stories when I was in 1stgrade. My parents kept all of my old school papers, including a notebook that was supposed to be a daily diary (writing exercise) in 1st grade. Instead of a daily journal I seemed to have filled it with rabbit tales. I had a pet rabbit at the time. I kept on writing short stories, in 3rd grade I wrote one while visiting my Dad's job. It was about a coconut bug that took over the world, complete with illustrations. My Dad's co-workers gave it an A+ rating. I wrote my first full length fantasy novel when I was in 9th grade as part of my English class (for extra credit). Other than my own stories, I also loved to write reports when I was in school. I like doing research.
Describe your desk
I write at different locations, depending on where my muse is most comfortable that day. I often switch between my desktop, where my keyboard is on my drafting table, and a laptop where I can curl up in more comfortable positions. If I do not have my Sisson's Synonym finder next to me I use handy-dandy internet search to look up words.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I currently have 5 books out, I am working on the sixth. I have 4 books in my SciFi/Adventure series and one stand alone romance. Space Trippers developed over years of on and off writing of book 1. As always it began with a character, this time it was Valesque. As I got to know her, her personality, her background, her motivations, a story formed about this predicament she was just about to find herself in. It was a story I was compelled to write out. This story isn't as much about the tech and space battles you find in typical SciFi as much as it is about learning to accept yourself, your past and other people. The main characters grow together, learn to trust one another and in the end are better off than when they started the adventure as strangers.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
In a word: Control. This is my hard work we are talking about. My blood, sweat and tears. Long years of honest hard work. I did not want someone else trying to dictate what I could or could not have in my books. Someone who's only interest is in the monetary gain my work would offer and wanting to fiddle with it and alter it to fit some popular trend or include action or content I am not comfortable with or is completely out of character for my people just because 'that is what sells'. This is my world, these are my friends I am writing about, I know how their story goes and I just want to bring their stories whole, fresh and complete to the reader, whether it becomes popular or not. My goal is to tell the stories the characters tell me so others can enjoy them too. I just want to tell a good story and maintain control over my work, that is why I did not go to 'mainstream' publishing.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords makes it easy to get your work formatted to work on all E-readers and to get your books into more stores than you could ever dream. Instead of having to contact and negotiate with companies on your own, or only have a very limited number of outlets that offer direct e-publishing themselves, we have such a wider reach through Smashwords. It really is such a good idea and benefits us, the Authors, so much. I really appreciate their hard work in making this possible for us. Indie Authors are really starting to gain momentum and take control of their own creative works with the help of professional distribution channels like Smashwords. Why do you need a middle man like publishing giants to decide who the public can read? Put it out there and let them decide for themselves! Maybe they will discover some real gems they would never have gotten the opportunity to read otherwise, as it would not have been 'profitable' enough for the big publishers to bother with.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I love seeing my characters develop their stories. Sometimes the characters will take things in a direction I did not expect, and it is just great! They have a life of their own, no matter what I plan out on paper for the progression outline it can always get changed around depending on how the characters react to situations or each other. They can be quite entertaining. My second love is when I get a story finished. When it comes out onto the paper just as I saw it in my head ( a very difficult process) and other people can read these inked lines and see just what I saw and experience these characters' stories just like I did, like a movie that had played in my mind being transferred into theirs. That is a delightful form of Magic if you ask me.
What do your fans mean to you?
I consider 'fans', people who enjoyed my stories and characters to be like friends. We both just went through the same experience, got to know the same imaginary people and were both entertained by them. A shared experience if you will. At the end I am like, "Yeah, you enjoyed that too? It was fun wasn't it?" I am glad I was able to share it with them, it makes it worth all the frustration, worry, time and stress to get those images and scenes out of my head, intact and correctly translated to paper so they can see it exactly as I did. That is when you know you did a good job and you feel you did justice to your characters.
What are you working on next?
I am continuing on with the Space Trippers series. There will be 9 books in all. There are only 2 more stops after book 5 before the exciting 2 part conclusion! With book 6 being a real milestone in the characters relationships. Something that will stay with them for a long time.
Besides Space Trippers I have plans for a Fantasy story loosely based on the novel I wrote in 9th grade as well as many, many other books I have storylines for or have already started. There are a lot of people in my head waiting to get out! Look forward to it! I know I am.
Who are your favorite authors?
For SciFi I love Douglas Adams, he had a real zany sense of humor. I have read/watched some of the Red Dwarf series, that is always entertaining. Piers Anthony is good. I have almost all of the entire Trixie Belden series. I also read a LOT of manga and enjoy Asian rom-com dramas.
I love Jane Austen for her wit and humor in her stories. Brass Hearts was a bit of a tribute to her as well as North & South which I was on a real kick of rewatching and reading over and over as I wrote it. I like sweet romances: Girl of the Limberlost, Evelina. I tend to gravitate towards the cinderella-type ones.
I have had the pleasure of reading some fellow Indies as well. There are some really talented people out there. I have enjoyed Darcia Helle's books, Shawn Weaver's fantasy series and Erin Lale's SciFi series, all of them are really good. That is just to name a few. With all of the Free samples Indies give out you should try a few! You might find some new favorites!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
To see what happens next and try to get it down in writing so I can share it with others.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Researching online, chatting on twitter and Facebook with fellow authors. Reading manga, watching Asian Dramas. Playing games or watching Tv shows with my husband. Spending time with my animals and just enjoying and being grateful for what I have.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I browse listings and look at descriptions and then if it sounds intriguing I will look at a sample. That is a good things about ebooks, you can try before you buy....without having to hang around in isles with shop keepers frowning at you while you 'sample' a few chapters.
How do you approach cover design?
I try to think of what the book is about and attempt to include some part of that in the cover image.
What is your writing process?
My stories usually begin with a snippet of a conversation or a 'What If?' idea. Then I will see the main character, I get to know their physical looks, their wardrobe, personality. Then I start to look into their background, who are they, why are they were they are now, what is going on in their life.
After that a story will begin to appear and I will write down the basics. When writing I have an outline that shows the story progression, I have a timeline to place conversations or pivotal events, I have an idea file where I stick things that I might like to include in this or a different story and I have my WIP. I also make up a character sheet of the persons looks, likes, dislikes, background and other pertinent information I need to keep them cohesive.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Physical Advertising. Putting Ads in programs at local functions.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I started writing stories as soon as I could write words. My first stories were rabbit adventures, I had a pet rabbit.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I have always loved Fairy Tales. I think that love made me a bit of a dreamer. Anything is possible, as long as you try hard and are a good person.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Pride and Prejudice- Given to me by my 7th grade Drama & Language Teacher. I love Austen's humor.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams is so great at zanny SciFi
The Last Of the Really Great Wangdoodles- It is a fun read and really gets your imagination going. Smell the marshmallows.
Evelina- This is such a cute romance. Very sweet. Wish they would make a mini-series of it
Fairy Tales- Can never get tired of a good romantic Fairy Tale.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mangas, lots of mangas. Also I like mysteries. My favorite series growing up was Trixie Belden. I like rom-com style of stories so just about any genre as long as it has some humor, interesting characters and a little romance. Tsundere is best. haha
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I am not much of an ereader. I like physical books best. If I have a digital book I have my PC read it to me. Can't stand staring at the screen that long reading. I do it enough while writing!
Published 2015-06-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Space Trippers Book 5: Don't Even Ask
Series: Space Trippers. Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 55,760. Language: English. Published: March 3, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Science fiction » Space opera
Episode 5 of the Space Trippers series. Valesque is close to her goal, but how do you find someone on a planet where the answer to every question comes from the barrel of a gun?
Space Trippers Book 4: Will Work For Parts
Series: Space Trippers, Book 4. Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 61,460. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » Adventure, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
As the ship makes its first jump home, the tracker Valesque found points her to a nearby planet. Making an excuse to stop for repair supplies, can she find her contact on the mysterious supply planet where all of the technology keeps disappearing?
Brass Hearts- A Steampunk Fairytale
Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 61,700. Language: English. Published: July 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
A classic Romantic tale, set in a picturesque steampunk world. All Dulcy Spry wants in life is to inherit her family business, and help run it while she waits. But after a fateful encounter with the snobbish Mr Pridget, Dulcy's best friend, Alise, and younger sister, Rosa, drag the reluctant Miss Spry into high society, where lies, manipulations and family secrets threaten to ruin her happiness.
Space Trippers Book 3: A Frosty Farewell
Series: Space Trippers, Book 3. Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 64,170. Language: English. Published: January 20, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
The ship is in need of water, so the crew sets off to the nearest water trade planet. Meanwhile, Valesque has unlocked some disturbing secret files on one of the upper crewmen. Secrets that could change the entire life of one person onboard. With their record in the area so far, will our heroes be able to get the water they need? And if they do will they be going home with one less crewmate?
Space Trippers Book 2: Just Passing Through
Series: Space Trippers, Book 2. Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 82,330. Language: English. Published: January 19, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Science fiction » General
The story continues. After the disaster in the hydroponics lab the ship needs more food supplies. But the trade aliens seem a little too interested in Valesque for Tim and Sanic's comfort. With the addition of a new, sifting alien girl, they set out to rescue her and discover major secrets along the way.
Space Trippers Book 1: Trippin'
Series: Space Trippers, Book 1. Price: $2.50 USD. Words: 70,320. Language: English. Published: October 27, 2009. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Science fiction » General
Exiled from her home planet for allegedly selling weapons to the humans,Engineer Valesque lives undercover in hostile territory. Soon her world falls apart as her unfinished ship is commandeered for war duty by the enemy of her people and subsequently winds up in uncharted space. With only a shy genius, a flirty pilot and an airhead android for help can she figure out what is happening in time?