Hi and welcome to my blog, L.J. LaBarthe. Please make yourself at home and grab a drink from my hunky cabana boys, Zeke and Jake. So tell us a little about yourself.
Q: What genre do you write and for what publisher(s)?
I write contemporary romance, paranormal romance and historical romance. So far, I’ve had the pleasure of being published by Dreamspinner Press, Noble Romance LLC, Freaky Fountain Press and Less Than Three Press.
Q: Tell us about your latest/upcoming release. What inspired it?
My upcoming release is a short story called “Fire, Burn,” written for the “Erotica Apocrypha” anthology released by Freaky Fountain Press. The anthology will be out on September 30th. The anthology is erotic interpretations of myth and the divine. My story is set in Sodom and I was inspired to retell the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah from the point of view of Archangel Gabriel, with the reason for the destruction of those cities being greed and avarice. I was inspired to write it after watching a documentary on ancient world archaeology, which was looking at possible locations for Sodom and Gomorrah.
I have a novella length story with Dreamspinner Press coming out as part of the Christmas 2011 anthology, called “Long Road Back.” It’s a story between an Australian Defence Force soldier and a Korean exchange student who meet through the soldier’s sister. It’s set in the city of Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
Q: How do you build characters and their personalities and looks?
I don’t consciously think about it, actually. I’ve been pondering this question and I don’t really have an answer! There are actors and actresses and singers that catch my attention and I think, ‘he/she would be awesome as X or Y if I made a movie of this story,’ and that somehow segues into how the characters look in my head. Personality-wise, I want to write characters that are fun and engaging, the kind of character you could have a beer down the pub with. At the same time, they’re flawed, because I don’t believe that anyone is perfect, and good heroes and heroines aren’t exempt from that, just as good villains can also be likable as well as despicable.
Q: Tell me about some of your heroes/heroines:
One of my favorite characters is Archangel Gabriel. In the novel “No Quarter,” which is not out yet, Gabriel is physically gorgeous – he’s blond, he’s buff, he’s got these amazing ice-blue eyes. He’s also a larrikin – he swears like a pirate, he smokes cigarettes, he drinks and he’s very fond of sex. He’s also one of the most powerful creatures in existence and has committed genocide without batting an eyelid, imprisoned an angel inside a constellation, and fulfilled his orders to the best of his very violent ability. Gabriel’s the sort of character that you could enjoy a laugh and a beer with, but woe betide you if you anger him or if he’s decided you need to be killed for the good of humanity as a whole. That’s his mandate – the mandate of all angels in my novel – protect and guide humanity. He’s immortal, he’s lived forever and he’s very good at his job, which is General of God, second in command to Archangel Michael.
In my novel, the Archangels aren’t related per se – they’re the same species but not brothers. They’re also genderless in their real forms, so they take on physical shape in order to move around the world.
Agrat, angel of sex and prostitution, is my favorite heroine. She’s a sensual, elegant creature with a very dry sense of humor and is very, very compassionate. She has houses and refuges all over the world for victims of sexual crimes and uses her power to protect men and women who work in prostitution and to save children from being used in that profession. Agrat is quietly spoken, friendly and kind, and I enjoy writing her dry wit and her humor as well as her powers a very great deal.
Q: What do you do when the muse decides to take a holiday or become really difficult? How do you try to coax them back to the drawing board?
Flail! LOL. Seriously, I go and work on something else. I blog, I read, I watch movies, I role play, I listen to music or play with my cat (and try not to be scratched to shreds, he’s a rough-houser.), anything that isn’t related to writing. Sometimes, I make up playlists or fanmixes for what I’m working on as music is incredibly important to me and that will sometimes have the effect of bringing the muses back.
Q: Do you have any specific things (or rituals) that help you to write or that inspire you?
Music. Loud, window-shaking music. 30 Seconds to Mars, Avenged Sevenfold and similar artists get a lot of playtime when I’m writing. I also use the magic of the Room of Wisdom – I know, it sounds weird, lol. The Room of Wisdom, or RoW, is the bathroom. If I need inspiration or f I’m writer’s blocked, I’ll go stand in the bathroom. I don’t need to do anything, but the bathroom seems to be the power room because I usually think of something that will work as a scene in the bathroom. It’s the magic room because of that, and I can’t explain it. Standing in the bathroom, brushing my hair or teeth, washing my face, or just looking out the bathroom window, and bam! Idea.
Q: If the world was to end tomorrow, what three things would be on your bucket list?
Ooh. If money was no object, I would take all my friends and family to a big BBQ and party in the town of Shaniko, Oregon.
Q: Are there any authors who have influenced your work?
Oh definitely. J. Michael Straczynski is a huge influence. David Eddings, Stephen King. Diana Wynn Jones.
Q: What comes first for you: Setting? Storyline? Characters?
It’s different every time. Usually, it’s a scene with a snippet of dialogue and it’ll usually come to me just before I’m about to fall asleep, so I’ll grumble and scribble it down and then go to sleep. If I don’t do that, it bugs me until I do, or, worse, I’ve forgotten it when I wake up the next morning.
Q: If one of your books became a movie, which celebrity would you like to star as your main characters?
Ha! Awesome question. If “No Quarter” was a movie, I would have Daniel Craig as Archangel Gabriel, Yoo Seung Jun as Archangel Michael, and I think Adrian Brody would be a great fit as the villain, Bob Taytton. The other Archangels would be: Chiwetel Ejiofor as Raphael, Steve McQueen as Uriel, Jay Laga’aia as Metatron, Christopher Meloni as Tzadkiel, Peter Mensah as Samael, Saif Ali Khan as Haniel, Ewan McGregor as Remiel, Hans Matheson as Raziel. The other characters who feature prominently in the book would be: Andy Whitfield as Shateiel, Grace Park as Agrat, Li Bing Bing as Sophiel, Don Diamont as Brieus and Aishwarya Rai-Bachan as Ishtahar.
Q: What do you have coming next? Anything you want to tell us?
I’m hoping “No Quarter” finds a home, otherwise at the moment I’m working on a sequel to my short story, “City of Gold,” which is called “City of Jade,” and is a novel length historical, set in 1131AD, on the Silk Road. That one’s slow going because of the amount of research, but I’m loving it and I’m very excited by what I’m writing.
Q: If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
LOL! Aussie chick, given to swearing a *lot*. (It’s my second language.)
Q: What else would you like readers to know about you or your work?
I hope readers enjoy what I write as much as I enjoy writing it. That’s the best I can hope for and I’m always touched and rendered speechless when someone tells me they enjoyed something of mine.
Q: Where can we find you on the web?
“Erotic Apocrypha” Anthology.
All mythologies have them—those dark, twisted, horrible elements that are just Eros turned inside out. From the Biblical to the Norse, the familiar to the esoteric, the twelve stories in this anthology reinterpret and re-imagine these themes. Join us as we explore the known to make it new, and tease the erotic out of the darkness.
Featuring the work of: S.L. Johnson, Pepper Espinoza, J.D. Hastings, Maxine Marsh, Cass Quinn, Clarice Clique, Lydia Swartz, Derrick Della Giorgia, Konrad Hartmann, L.J. LaBarthe, Jennifer Hollie Bowles, and Jacqueline Brocker
Available 30 September 2011!
Preorder now from Freaky Fountain Press, here: http://www.freakyfountain.com/?page_id=289
“Life and Nothing But.”
When Michael Lee takes a job as a tutor to Lord Henilworth’s children, the last thing he expects to find is the love of his life. However, from the moment he first meets Nick, the gardener of Castle Henilworth, he cannot deny the attraction. Believing it to be one-sided, Michael tries to bury himself in his work, but living in the same village and working in the same place make it impossible to completely avoid Nick. Gradually, Michael overcomes his shyness, and, when Nick makes his own interest clear, everything seems to be going Michael’s way. However, ghosts of the past and a racist attack threaten the fragile happiness Michael has found. Will Nick’s love really be enough?
“City of Gold.”
Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, 1131 AD.
Gallienus has spent his life in service of his country, and now his scarred body is no longer up for the fight. Assigned to work the gates of Constantinople, he is charged with examining the cargo brought into the city from all over the world. Misahuen is part of the merchant train bringing wares from the Silk Road to trade, but it’s not Misahuen’s cargo that interests the wounded soldier. Gallienus thought his heart was too battered to love anything but his country. Does he have the courage to dream of a future beyond service to the City of Gold?