What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
Writing and self-publishing garbage. It drives me crazy. Everyone thinks they’re the next Edgar Allen Poe or Maya Angelo. Just because you keep a diary doesn’t mean you can write. It makes it harder on actual authors who are trying to make a living at it but potential buyers can’t find you because of the “weeds”.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Depends on what I’m writing. My memoir can wear me out. I do it in bits.
What are common traps for aspiring writers?
Thinking they’re going to be famous, going on book tours, signing autographs. It’s a real job, actual work. You write, rewrite, edit, hire a copywriter/editor, submit the work to reviewers, go back and rewrite more based on the feedback, format it in the correct format depending on who the publisher is, design a book cover, and that’s just off the top of my head.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Hurt. You have to get out of your own way. It isn’t about you. It’s about the reader.
Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
Oh yeah. I refer to it lovingly as a brain fart!
Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?
I write under two pseudonyms. Purity Pierce (Amazon) for the “adult content” stuff and Lydia Chandler (Smashwords) for the rest.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A little of both. I know readers on Amazon want erotica in various forms so that’s what I write.
Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Sure. I do it all the time. I live inside my own head. The rent is free!
Do you want each book to stand on its own or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
So far they have been individual works on Amazon. I do have some series on Smashwords however.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Hide your journals so your mother won’t burn them when you move out. There was gold lost in those.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
It didn’t really. I had enough material stocked up to publish 8 books in 6-weeks.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Fiverr when I don’t have time to edit or design my own covers.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
I worked at Children’s Hospital in DC a million years ago. On my rounds I would always stop off and check on this one infant. She had been so badly beaten that both of her legs were broken and in casts. She would come to me when she wouldn’t go to others. One day she reached into my shirt pocket and pulled out my gold pen and said, “shiny”. Everyone gasped. I kept my cool and said shiny. It was a major moment for the both of us.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
A panther. You never see a panther panicked or worried about anything. Chill. Lying around. Flipping his tail tip as he watches the world go by. That’s me when I write. I don’t usually get wound up about anything unless I’m having technical issues. That irritates me. Especially if I’m on a roll.
What do you owe the real people upon whom you base your characters?
I changed their names to protect them from their guilt. That’s as good as it gets.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
More than I can count.
What’s the best way to market your books?
I’m still ironing that part out. Social media would be the “big one”. My research has shown that people do book signing and yes, you can do a book signing for ebooks. People do public speaking. Joining writer’s groups on and off line.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do little to know research on erotica. That’s just my imagination. Although I do have a subject matter that I will be writing on at some point to be released in 2020 that will take some research. I’m not going to do a huge undertaking with the research. I read somewhere, and although it’s crass it’s true – the erotica that I write is referred to “one-handed reading” so I don’t need to be Hemingway to get the job done.
I’ll be writing a series on various people in my family tree. There are quite a few characters. One was burned as a witch in Salem. Two were on the Lusitania when it was torpedoed. One was murdered by his in-laws. You get the idea.
How long were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one?
Decades. I’ve been writing since I was 7. I’m now 56 and am just writing fulltime now.
How many hours a day do you write?
As much as I feel up to. Some days that’s an hour other days I write until my carpal tunnel kicks in.
What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
I’m working on my memoir which covers it all.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Whatever comes up off the top of my head.
Do you Google yourself?
Nope. The best way for me to stay positive and focused is to not subject myself to internet trolls.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
The admin stuff – copy edit, word check, marketing, promoting.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Depends on the book. I write fiction and nonfiction. I write everything from flash erotica to true crime stories. If I’m doing flash erotica I can bang out one a day. Pun unintended.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Not for me. I have more ideas than I have time.
A common misconception entwined with authors is that they are socially inept, how true is that?
I can’t speak for every writer on the planet but I know that I’m antisocial but I wouldn’t call that inept. I always have been quiet. I’ve been a bookworm since I was old enough to read.
What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
I use my laptop. That way I can snuggle in, get comfortable, and then start banging out product.
How often do you write?
Almost every day. If I’m not writing them I’m researching.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or are you one of those who write only when they feel inspired?
I’ll get ideas rolling around in my head and it won’t stop until I get it out of my system and on a Word document.
Do you aim to complete a set number of pages or words each day?
No. I write until I’m done or until I get brain fog. Then I quit and pick up where I left off the next day.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?
For me it’s going back to a piece that I started years ago and trying to finish it. I have that “issue” now. I started a piece in 2013, if you can believe it, that I never finished. Now I have it slated to be published in October. That will help me get the lead out and get it done once and for all.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
Like everything else, I do it when I feel like it. Nora Roberts and Philippa Gregory are the two that I am most devoted to. I’ve read everything that Nora has written (not the JD Robb stuff). With Philippa I’ve read all of her books that deal with the royals. I’m related to nearly every single one of them so it’s fun to read about your ancestors even if it is fiction.
Do you proofread and edit your work on your own or pay someone to do it for you?
Neither. I have Chrome extensions for that. I use Grammarly and ProWritingAid. They do all the work for me. I type up my work in Word and then copy and paste it into ProWritingAid and let it do its magic. Quicker, thorough and free!
Have you ever left any of your books stew for months on end or even a year?
Years. Plural. After that initial push in 2013 I was burned out. It stopped being fun and became more like work. This is (2019) the first time I’ve really been putting time and effort into it.
What is your take on the importance of a good cover and title?
Both are extremely important. That’s the first thing the reader sees. Some people are visual people so it won’t matter how well you’ve written your sales blurb if your cover and title suck no one is going to give it a second glance.
Have you ever designed your own book cover?
Many times. I find it really easy but my talents are limited. If I have something stellar that I want to wow people with then I’ll hire someone to do the cover for me.
How much of yourself do you put into your books?
The memoir definitely will as well as the series about the cast of characters that I’m related to.
Who are your books mostly dedicated to?
Whoever is playing a special role in my life at that moment.
Poets and writers in general, have a reputation of committing suicide; in your opinion, why is that the case?
Keith Andes (2005), American actor, asphyxiation
Anthony Bourdain (2018), American chef, author, and television personality, hanging
Spalding Gray (2004), American actor, playwright, screenwriter, jumped off Staten Island Ferry
Aaron Hernandez (2017), American football player and convicted murderer, hung in his prison
Isaac Kappy (2019), American actor and writer, jumped off an overpass
Dan Johnson (2017), American pastor and Republican member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, he claimed to be suffering from PTSD from the September 11 attacks, though he also faced sexual harassment allegations, gunshot
Don Lapre (2011), American television pitchman noted for several products, cut throat with a razor blade
Lil’ Chris (2015), English musician, hanging after battling depression
Bhaiyyu Maharaj (2018), Indian spiritual guru, gunshot
Mindy McCready (2013), American country music singer, gunshot
John Rheinecker (2017) American Major League Baseball pitcher, hanging
Robin Williams (2014), American comedian and actor, hanging
And that’s just a partial list. Suicide affects people of all ages, races, economic and education backgrounds as well as both genders. So do I think it’s specific to writers? No, not at all. All artists have a tendency to be sensitive (luckily I don’t have that problem!) so they wear their hearts out on their sleeves. They don’t take rejection well. They are total people pleasers and if someone is no pleased then they feel as though they have failed.
Is it true that anyone can be a writer?
Every author is a writer but not every writer is an author.
Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?
What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
Just write. Don’t over think it. Write, write, write, and write some more. You’ll have plenty of time for editing and rewrites later.
If you die today, how would want the world to remember you?
If I die today I’m going to be pissed. I’ve still got writing to do!
Can you tell us about your current projects?
Finishing up the flash erotica to be released in October. Then I have a 3-part series that I’m going to put together to help other first timers. Book one, how to get the book written and assembled. Book two, the cover, title, sales blurb, publishing. Book three marketing, sales, free tools to make life easier, etc. Then there’s the memoir. And I have about 30 (at least) writing prompts to get me moving on whatever is next. And that’s just off the top of my head. Oh and I started a blog yesterday. Today is about setting it up and getting it loaded with content right after this interview.
When can the readers expect your next book in print?
If you go to my Amazon author page there’s a list there. Names of projects and the month’s that they will be released right up through January 2020. For Smashwords, I write when I feel inspired and publish immediately so you may want to go to my profile page and click ‘follow’ so you’ll know when new pieces come out.
You don’t have to be a writer in order to be an author – how true is that?
False. You have to know how to write in order to be an author. The difference between author and writer is ambiguous as the difference between porn and erotica. For me, anyone can write but to be published and make money from your work is an author.
Do you need to be in a specific place or room to write, or you can just sit in the middle of a café full of people and write?
On top of my bed, pillows propped behind me, TV on mute.
Is today’s generation more aware of the literary art or less?
Considerably less. Many can’t write with a pen on paper because they’ve grown up with electronic devices to do the work for them. They don’t read like we did in years gone by. Again, too many distractions.
Do you think the charm of public libraries has toned down much in the last decade?
I can’t speak for all libraries but around here they’ve gone to the dogs. They’re not maintained well. Homeless people hang out there during the day so you can’t even hear yourself think. Limited resources. I go only if I have no other choice.
Is there a particular kind of attire you like to write in?
What are your views on modern erotica? Have they completely dehumanized the idea, or is it better?
They are at the top of the garbage pile of mass produced writing. Words, words, words, words, taadaa! I wrote a book! Un nah. You just wasted your time, internet space, and made it harder for serious buyers to find real work to buy.
If you could live anywhere in the world, which country would you choose and why?
Europe. One big space, many languages, cultures, foods, etc. to experience.
Do you prefer being intoxicated to write? Or would you rather write sober?
I don’t drink so that makes it easy.
Do you think translating books into languages other than their origin forces the intended essence away?
Haven’t really thought about it. I’ve just started putting out ebooks in languages other than English earlier this month. Right now I’m doing Spanish versions. If I see a need for it I’ll add French and maybe even Italian.
Do you blog?
As of today I do.
How active are you on social media? And how do you think it affects the way you write?
Not as much as I should be only because I haven’t established any social media as a writer! That’s on my to do list for tomorrow morning actually. I plan on having a FB page for each pen name before noon.
How many books have you written?
As Lydia I’ve published 11 and at least outlined a dozen more. As Purity I’ve written 8-9 but published one so far. The rest will be coming out the beginning of each month on Amazon from now until 2020.
Tea or coffee = coffee
Hot or cold = cold (If you’re cold you can put more layers on. If you’re hot you can only get but so naked)
Movie or book = book
Coke or Pepsi = Coke
Toilet paper – over or under = Over of course
Morning person or Night owl = morning
Shower or bath = shower
City or country = both
Social Media or book = book
Paperback or ebook = paperback (ah the irony)
Where can readers find out more about you and your books?
All the “G” stuff can be found here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/LydiaChandler
All the naughty stuff can be found here: