Questions and Answers with J.E. Lorin
Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
A: Even though I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, it was really difficult for me to say, “I’m a writer” whenever someone asked me, “What do you do?” For a long time, it didn’t feel true even though it was true. I didn’t begin to feel comfortable saying it until after I published my first book.
Q: What inspired you to write your first book?
A: My first published book started as a project for National Novel Writing Month. After completing the challenge, I went on to write nearly 50K more words! The idea evolved out of my desire to write something Indiana Jones-like. Since I’m lazy, however, and didn’t want to do any archeological research, I set it in the future. I often refer to this book as “Indiana Jones in space” when I describe it.
Q: Do you have a specific writing style?
A: My writing style is pretty straightforward. I don’t like to use a lot of description. Personally, I like to use my imagination when I’m reading, so I treat my readers as though they feel the same way. Also, I strive to write natural conversations & realistic interpersonal interactions.
Q: What is your writing process?
A: I don’t have a very strict process. Mornings are usually my best time but that’s not a hard and fast rule. If I don’t have time in the mornings, I’ll try to get in some words later in the day. I write on a laptop. While I do have a dedicated writing room with a desk, I also work in other areas of my home, such as the bedroom or family room. Sometimes I work in coffee shops. The key for me is to not put too much pressure on myself. When I pressure myself, that’s when writer’s block tends to strike.
Q: How long does it take you to write a book?
A: It really varies. I’ve written a book in as little as two months. Sometimes the ideas simply flow and I couldn’t stop myself from writing if I tried. Other times, it’s like pulling teeth. I try to respect the process, not force anything, and temper my frustration. I find that my novels turn out better that way.
Q: How much of your own personal life goes into writing your books?
A: I like to throw small details of my own life into my books. For example, in The Finder series, Luke’s dog Jack is modeled after a friend’s dog of the same name. I like to include a little German here and there because I speak it and I often mention soccer because I love the sport. However, all of my characters are completely fictional. I don’t model them after people I know.
Q: How did you get into writing sci fi and fantasy?
A: I’ve been into both since I was young. I would say that I was heavily influenced by my older brothers, who liked to play video games, read comic books, and listen to heavy metal, all of which tend to incorporate a lot of sci fi and fantasy themes. I particularly enjoyed reading fantasy when I was a teenager. My biggest source of inspiration was a little-remembered series by Geraldine Harris called the Seven Citadels. It was after I read those that I began to work on my first (unfinished) novel at the age of 15. I’ve been writing ever since, and I rarely write anything contemporary. It wasn’t until I was much older, and decided to really focus on finishing a novel, that I threw romance into the mix.
Q: So what got you into writing m/m?
A: It’s kind of like why I write sci fi/fantasy. It’s just something I’ve always done. I grew up in a very conservative area. I never knew any gay people (that I know of) until I went to college. At the same time, gay people didn’t start getting a lot of representation in TV, movies, or books until I was an adult, either. Even so, when I began to write as a teenager, my male characters gravitated toward one another. In the beginning, those relationships were more of the romantic friendship than romance variety. Eventually, I learned to embrace my own writing inclinations. Writing m/m has always been inside me. While I do write straight, lesbian, and other romances into my stories, m/m is the main focus.
Q: Do you have a goal with your writing?
A: I have two goals. The first is to write an interesting story that engages my readers. I enjoy writing about people falling in love in the midst of danger. While I try to make the sexy scenes good, to me they’re secondary. For me, it’s all about writing a good story. The second is to write novels where the most interesting thing about my LGBT characters is not the fact that they’re LGBT. I want to produce adventure-filled, romantic, exciting fiction for LGBT people that isn’t any different from the same sort of fiction that’s written for straight people.
Questions specific to The Finder/The Found
Q: What was your inspiration for The Finder?
A: I don’t think of my story ideas as coming from “inspiration” in the traditional sense. Instead, I will typically get a phrase or scene in my head that I can’t seem to shake out until I write it down. Most of the time, these ideas will come to me when I’m not actively engaged in anything, like when I first wake up in the morning or when I’m walking the dog. With The Finder, it was the opening phrase of the book, Help me. For weeks, I couldn’t get that phrase out of my head. I began to imagine what it would be like to wake up to the sound of those words. From there, the idea of August and his psychic power grew.
Q: What is your main character like?
A: In The Finder, August is a 25-year-old man who runs his own Mr. Fix-It type business. He also has a psychic power, which he developed at the age of 16, that allows him to find people who are lost, missing, or deceased. He uses that power to help the police. August has experienced a lot of trauma in his life, and therefore he’s a pretty flawed character. That was intentional. I wanted to write a story where my main character experienced a tremendous amount of growth during the course of the book. In my sequel, The Found, which takes place nearly three years after my first book, my readers will meet a kinder, more mature, and thoughtful August.