Interview with Lawrence A. Votee

Who are your favorite authors?
Khalil Gibran, Arthur C. Clarke, Graham Hancock, Susan Ee, Steven Pressfield, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman. I love all of these authors. Collectively, they combine what I find to be beautiful, not just in truth or history, but in the lives I see as well as those I create, and those I can only imagine. Each of these authors are responsible for waking something within me and what greater gift can you give someone.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually by searching genres and reading descriptions. If something sparks my interest, even minutely, I give it a shot. Also, once a month a choose something I wouldn't normally read, on the off chance that I might discover something more about myself. I also look to blogs that are specific to the genres I like as well as check out some recommendations by my Twitter followers, who are an amazing bunch.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My kids, hands down. I know that seems like an easy answer but, they have always been what has pushed me to be a better person every day and seeing them at the beginning of each day brings a happiness that can never be topped.

In addition, my characters inspire me. I love them like family. When I am writing about what they are going through I see every aspect of them. Their size and shape. Their facial expressions. The ways they interact with one another and how they feel about one another absolutely captivate me. It amazes me how, when they hurt, I hurt and how, when they laugh, I laugh. Being able to write what I write whether for myself or for others, means the absolute world to me and if I am able to make even one other person feel that through my words is a joy that is indescribable.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love books, movies, t.v., watching stand up comedy, video games. So the times when I'm not writing or hanging out with my kids is usually spent doing one of these.

I am also a rabid Doctor Who fan so a lot of time is spent with the Good Doctor and his companions.

I also greatly enjoy meditation, which I am still relatively new to. I very much enjoy the peace it brings as well as the health benefits. For anyone who hasn't tried, please do yourself the favor.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I would love to say that it was when I was a child, but I was far more of a reader only back then. The first time I ever wrote anything, it was poetry. I never thought of writing anything like a story until I was a couple of years out of the military, so around 2008. I loved the story that was shaping up but for whatever reason, I never saw it through. I still have that story amongst a pile of notebooks and will finish it down the road.

It wasn't until I began writing Aeternum that I became completely enamored with writing, storytelling, character creation and development, the whole process. It was definitely difficult but, thanks to Mr. Pressfield, I refused to give in to resistance and pushed on. I am so happy I did as I absolutely love Aeternum. As I'm still new to this, I do not know if an author saying he loves his own work is at all uncouth or vain, but who gives a damn. I absolutely love that story and Book Two is shaping up to become my new favorite.
What is your writing process?
Coffee. Everything starts with coffee. Once I have that, I throw my headphones on and hit my playlist specific to what I'm writing. I write the entire story in 5 subject notebooks. Of course it's easier using a laptop but there is something about seeing all the margin notes, the crossed out words with their replacements hovering above, the utter chaos of it that brings me a great deal of satisfaction. Once the story is all written out, I type it up on the laptop and print it out. That's when I start the revision process. I'll use all my notes from the notebooks and make sure I changed or added what I wanted and then I'll continue that process until I am reading the entire story of what I saw play out in my head.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I do not remember the first story I ever read (it was probably Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein), but I do remember the first story that had an impact on me. It was "The Prophet" by Khalil Gibran. Up to that point I had never read anything so beautiful in my life. Others may have a different take on it, but to me it was moving. I had read volumes of poetry throughout my years, but that, there was just something about it that resonated greatly with me. It was the first time someone else's words impacted me so profoundly.
What are the themes in your writing?
I prefer to deal with many that I feel are intertwined in a way. Sadness, hope, loss, friendship, violence, peace. Overall though, I would have to say love. I'm sure many people think that that, in particular, has been done to death but I don't.

I feel that many look at love as this beautiful and wonderful emotion, and it most certainly is but, I love the absolute rawness of it. It is the one emotion that can inspire and devastate. There is a willingness and readiness to kill and die that love carries with it. Its ability to utterly and completely overtake someone is what I find most beautiful about it.

It is the only emotion, I feel, that can build one up to their highest potential, their absolute pinnacle of happiness and in the blink of an eye, strip them to the core of who they are and really show them themselves.

What greater thing could there be to write about or read about or experience or imagine?
Your book is called "Aeternum". Why that name?
Aeternum means forever, all of time, eternally. In the story, this is the love the main character has for his Eternal but also his two friends and grandfather. He is a most gifted warrior and has only known warfare his whole life. Once he experiences this type of love for his Eternal, he cannot imagine existence without it. As such, he is ready and willing to fight to the death for her and will stop at nothing to get her safe. If he dies in the process, that is fine by him. After experiencing this type of love, the only alternative for him if he doesn't have it is death.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design was the hardest part of the whole process for me. I learned early on in the process how critical the cover was and it was a bit intimidating. I searched day and night for, what I felt would be, the perfect cover.

I was in talks with an amazing artist to design a cover, which would have been far different from what I went with, but decided not to go that route. I searched websites for free images, royalty images, etc. and couldn't find what I was looking for.

One day, after quite a few hours of searching, I told myself "One more page and then we're shutting it down for the night" and then I found it (actually, I like to think it found me). The cover I went with had everything I wanted to convey. The beautiful face, the reference to time and space, it was perfect. All I had to do was pay to use it, change the skin tone to match a pivotal character, and I was done. I was thrilled beyond belief the first time I saw the whole thing come together.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The first is "The Prophet" by Khalil Gibran for reasons mentioned earlier.

The next would be "The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield because it gave me the kick in the pants I needed and still continues to do so whenever I need it. I highly recommend this book to any artist of any kind.

Third would be "Angelfall" by Susan Ee. There are a lot of angel themed books coming out nowadays and Susan Ee's should be what all of them strive to achieve. The story is excellent, the characters are amazing (I love Penryn and Raffe), and her writing is flawless.

Anything by Graham Hancock. I love and have great respect for anything and anyone that can open my eyes to a new way of thinking or to things I had no previous knowledge of and Mr. Hancock does that consistently.

Last would be "Bravo Two Zero" by Andy Mcnab. This is the true story of a group of soldiers (I believe British S.A.S) who got trapped behind enemy lines during the first war with Iraq, were taken prisoner, and all they endured. I read this as a soldier two days before pushing into Iraq in 2003. This story taught me to persevere no matter the conditions and is one I continually return to as example of the strength of human spirit.
Do you read for pleasure?
Absolutely yes. As I mentioned earlier, I love movies and t.v. but the problem with those mediums is that you're being shown what to see. It requires little to no imagination on the part of the viewer. When you read a great book the words are simply the materials for building. Your mind is the architect that puts it all together to your unique specifications. Granted, the author tells you what and who's there, what's going on, and tries to get you feel a certain way but it is the reader who has to put the work in. You have to show it to yourself in the best way for you to understand and enjoy it. I hope that makes sense. If not, let me know and I'll try and specify.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
My first e-reader was the Kindle Fire and I absolutely love it. It was the best gift I've ever gotten. The things I've learned since first using it are incredible. Some of my new favorite books were found using it. It was the first place I saw my book and that meant the world to me. Also, I just got the newest iPad and as a reader and writer, am quickly falling in love with all it can do. I do want to say though, that while I love what e-readers give people the chance to do (not just readers but writers as well), no matter how technically advanced or jaw dropping awesome they will become, there will always be a most special place in my heart for a good old fashioned book. The feel and smell of the pages and the myriad shapes and sizes will always possess a great comfort for me.
What do your fans mean to you?
I don't know exactly if I have fans yet. But, if the day comes when someone else feels for the characters in my books the way I do or if the day comes when words I've written spark something in someone else, then I would not have enough time in this life to express how very much they would mean to me.
What are you working on next?
My next book is called "Rise of the New Gods". I am so very excited about this story. There have been times already where I will finish writing a certain part and just stand up and shout "YES!" in response to what one of the characters has done. I absolutely cannot wait to get it out to everyone. There are also times when I am devastated because of something that's happened in the story, to the point where I have to take a few days from writing it just to deal with what has happened.
Is there a way for your readers to reach you should they have any questions or comments?
Absolutely. I am very interested in hearing from them. They can reach me by email at lvotee01@yahoo.com and on Twitter as well @Billy_Bedlum. I greatly look forward to hearing from anyone who has read the book.
Published 2014-08-04.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Aeternum
Price: Free! Words: 50,050. Language: English. Published: October 18, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Fantasy
(5.00)
Aeternum is the story of Lucian Solis-a seemingly ordinary teenager. On the eve of his high school graduation an impossible and painful secret is revealed to him. He is not who he thinks he is. He is not from this place. He is not human. With the help of the man who raised him, his two closest friends, and a beautiful and mysterious stranger, Lucian must become who he once was to save his Eternal.