Interview with L.N. Mayer

Published 2020-03-22.
What's the story behind your latest book?
TELL, OR THE ADVENTURES IN THEMIDDLE is a coming-of-age novel about the power of imagination. It’s a story about finding resilience in impossible situations—situations where you believe you don't have control and feel without a friend or parent to guide you. It’s also a story about feeling stuck in a world that doesn’t belong to you and neglecting your power, whatever power that may be. The ultimate lessons the story has to offer are about resilience, purpose, friendship and trusting yourself.
Why would a MG reader want to read your book?
This book might not please those who expect to see the same types of stories that have already been written for middle grade. I’m hoping, however, that it will intrigue those who are itching to see an attempt at something different.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I wanted to learn as much as I could about how to edit, design, distribute and market a book.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
It's not so much where I lived that influenced my writing, but the fantastic teachers I had (Mrs. Ferris, Mrs. Moon, Mrs. Schmidt, Mrs. Mayer, Mr. Fallon). I was told at an early age (like many children) that anything I put my mind to was possible, and encouraged in the creative arts!
Does TELL have anything to do with the Swiss folk hero William Tell?
No. In fact, I hadn't heard of William Tell until a friend mentioned it to me in 2019, after TELL was set to be published. Any parallel made to the Swiss folk hero is entirely coincidental! The inspiration for the name 'William Teller' comes from French culture. Some French parents give their children hyphenated names like Pierre-Yves or Jean-Claude.
When did you first start writing?
Like so many writers, I started writing when I was very young. One of the first stories that I can remember writing and illustrating was about a family of pigs...
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
One of the first stories to have a major impact on me was ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy. I was amazed at Tolstoy's perceptivity into the human psyche and his ability to fluidly create such vulnerable, complex characters. I went on to read his short stories, his diary entries, and WAR AND PEACE. I generally became fascinated with his writing, and even tried my hand at adapting SEVASTAPOL SKETCHES into a screenplay, which perhaps someday I'll finish. I recently found out it was rumored that Tolstoy thought ANNA KARENINA was too much of a 'fluff piece' and regretted publishing it. However, I don't know if this is true. What's really remarkable is that the book was first published in installments between 1875 and 1877, meaning Tolstoy couldn't go back and rewrite any of the initial story.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Gustave Flaubert once wrote, “It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them close their love-drowned eyes. When I brood over these marvelous pleasures I have enjoyed, I would be tempted to offer God a prayer of thanks if I knew he could hear me. Praised may he be for not creating me a cotton merchant, a vaudevillain, or a wit.” I completely agree with Flaubert.
What is your writing process?
My writing process is constantly evolving. However, in my initial writing process, I write like I collage: I start with an interesting idea, a quote I heard, or something I find funny or fascinating and store them on my computer or in a notebook. While writing, I'm guilty of doing something that's not recommended, which is revising as I write. Otherwise, I'm actually very methodical. It was Gustave Flaubert who said, “Be regular and orderly in your life... so that you may be violent and original in your work.” 
I try to adhere to this principle!
Who are your favorite authors?
Tolstoy, Turgenev, Flaubert, Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, W.H. Hudson, Philip Pullman, just to name a few...
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Working in a full-time job!
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Knowing that there's a really good cup of coffee to be made...
Describe your desk
My desk is a clear sheet of glass propped on two wooden trestles. A bad idea for storage, but I like it because I can look down and see Oslo, my English cocker spaniel, sleeping at my feet. Typical objects that one might find on my desk: A laptop, a second computer screen (crucial for revisions), a quote by Norman Mailer "Being a real writer means being able to do the work on a bad day," a 'to-do pile' and a cup of coffee, of course.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read so many different things: From W.H. Hudson's IDLE DAYS IN PATAGONIA to David Sedaris's CALYPSO to professional books in the Harvard Business Review series to ancient philosophers like Seneca and Marcus Aurelius... I recently discovered George Orwell's diaries (DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON) as well as a literary anthology called AMERICANS IN PARIS by Adam Gopnik, which I loved.
What's the greatest lesson you've learned from writing?
It's a lesson I'm still learning: Just because you can write a scene well doesn’t mean it should be included in the plot.
What are you working on next?
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Books by This Author

Yves, or the Man Who Wasn't
Series: The Tell Trilogy. You set the price! Words: 77,890. Language: English. Published: October 3, 2021. Categories: Fiction » Coming of age, Fiction » Fantasy » Epic
The sequel to TELL, OR THE ADVENTURES IN THEMIDDLE. William Teller Fontaine ('Tell') is no longer ignorant of his power. Fixated on the unfairness of his situation, Tell has a choice: go back to where he came from and forget about Themiddle—or take his fate into his own hands and reclaim his rightful place. However, will his desire to take control be his own undoing...?