Interview with author Lola Blake

Guess what day it is? Ok, I’m sure most of you aren’t like me and that this guessing game isn’t as difficult for you as it is for me. I usually have a hard time remembering what day it is. haha But for those of you who are like me, I have the pleasure of reminding you that today is Friday! And that means guest interview day. Yahoo! (Side note, that was an excited yell, not an endorsement for the company that goes by that name.) I love all the advice and writing tips that my guests graciously bestow upon us.

And today’s guest is the fabulous author whose name I absolutely adore. Lola! And FYI I have had that song stuck in my head for days and I don’t hate it! (I may or may not also have the Weird Al version mixed in there every so often too, but I think that’s a little too much geekery for your Friday afternoon). So let’s get this party started!

My dear, could you tell us a little about yourself?

Lola:
My name is Lola Blake, I live on the surf coast in Victoria, Australia. I’ve been writing as a hobby for as long as I can remember, but my first book, Coming Home, was released in 2014. Since then I’ve written two others, Dying to be Thin and Seven Sisters which is due for publication this year.

The Writing Piazza:
Just because I’m curious, what made you decide to become a writer?

Lola:
I don’t know whether or not I ever made a conscious decision to become a writer. I’ve always just done it. Then one day, I thought, why not publish something? I didn’t know how it would go and didn’t really expect anything, but Dying to be Thin went straight to #2 on Amazon and continued to sell well, so here I am. Still writing!

The Writing Piazza:
That sounds awesome! And you said you have two completed books, can you tell us a little about them?

Lola:
The first book, Coming Home, has been categorized as paranormal romance, but personally I disagree with this, I think it’s more drama, or general fiction, or Chick Lit. It’s the longer of my two novels. The second novel, Dying to be Thin, is a YA book and is more of a novella. It’s actually based on real events and I interviewed the real life ‘Becky’ several times to prepare for this book. I think that’s why it’s continued to generate such interest, is because it’s real, which makes it completely relatable and a little bit scary!

The Writing Piazza:
I was reading your website about Dying to be Thin. I think it’s a good topic that needs to be addressed. I’m not surprised that it did so well. It’s something that happens far to often and has been brushed under the rug for far too long. Is that your first published work?

Lola:
Coming Home is the first of my published works.

The Writing Piazza:
One of the big topics of today’s publishing age, did you self-publish or did you go with a traditional publisher?

Lola:
Both my books are published through Any Subject Books

The Writing Piazza:
I always love hearing about the road people take to publish, mostly because I’m at that point with my book. And since I get to ask the questions, I get to ask about what currently holds my fascination. 🙂 Tell us, what made you decide to go with Any Subject Books?

Lola:
I was looking for a predominately online publisher that also provided an editing and distribution service and didn’t charge an absurd amount. There’s a lot of dodgy publishers out there that will take your money and not promote your work, but fortunately Any Subject Books isn’t one of them.

The Writing Piazza:
There are definitely a lot of shady “book publishers” out there. It’s always helpful to hear about the good ones. I love being able to point out resources to my fellow writers as well. This is a good one to have for those looking for an online publisher. I’m thinking about doing that with the novella that I’m working on so this is helpful info for me as well. 🙂

If we go back a bit to before you published. Did you work with any critique partners and/or beta readers?

Lola:
Valerie Day-Sanchez is the author of the Harlow Whitaker trilogy, which is currently awaiting its 3rd installment. Her and I read and review each other’s work when it’s ready to go to publication. I’ve never actually met her in person, we found each other on Twitter, but that’s the beauty of social media. We live in a global community and it’s easy to connect to other authors and aspiring writers.

The Writing Piazza:
I’ve met a lot of great people on Twitter, including you! It really is a great place to expand your circles. That’s so fantastic that you’ve connected with another writer and that you can help each other out like that. It’s something I love to see, writers helping other writers. It’s something I really hope my blog accomplishes too, I hope other writers are really getting a lot out of the postings here.

I’m always interested in hearing how people find their CPs and beta readers. Did you talk with Valerie and then the subject came up or did you specifically go out looking for a CP?

Lola:
I don’t know if I found Valerie, she might have found me. I tweeted that I was after a peer-reviewer and she responded, so that was that! 🙂

The Writing Piazza:
Excellent! It’s amazing what we can find if we have the boldness to look for it. I encourage anyone reading this to not be afraid to ask others when they are looking for help with something. Of course you have to be careful with those who respond to your requests for assistance but there are still good people in this world who are willing to help. I’m so glad you and Valerie found each other! I think a good CP and beta readers can make a huge difference. It can really take a good book into the great book category!

And you mentioned that you met on Twitter so let’s jump to the social media topic. How important do you think social media is for writers in the ever changing world of publishing?

Lola:
Extremely important! It can be a bit of a hassle, because social media is quite involved and takes up a lot of time, which could be utilized for writing, but without it, you’re really without a way to promote your books. I’ve got a massive Twitter following now and I’m constantly being exposed to other writers, publishers and promoters so it’s great. I actually think part of the reason for Dying to be Thin’s success is that its Facebook page attracted so many fans.

The Writing Piazza:
Well it does take a lot of time but you made some very excellent points! Even when you work with a publisher, as the author you are still vital in marketing and selling your book. And it’s good to know that our efforts will one day pay off! Hearing how helpful your Facebook page is really encourages me to keep going in my efforts to build my own page up. It can feel pretty exhausting and pointless at first, but knowing that down the road it will be worth it is highly motivating!

I’m really digging all this great advice and encouragement you’re laying down for us today! I’ve learned so much from other authors who have “been there, done that, bought the t-shirt.” I think one of the most helpful questions I ask is, what’s something you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

Lola:
If I had known that I would have set my website, Twitter and Facebook accounts up before Coming Home was released, instead of afterwards.

Lola:
More excellent advice. I have heard this on numerous occasions. It’s such a daunting task thinking about setting up your own “platform” as an author so a lot of writers put off doing it until after they’ve published. But many of the published authors I’ve spoken to, all wish they had started sooner. If you’re working on a book now, I know it seems overwhelming to think about social media but it’s one of those “you’ll thank me for this later” things. 🙂

What other advice would you give to writers who are writing and/or attempting to publish their work?

Lola:
Be prepared to sell your work, because it’s not enough just to write it. Be prepared to blog on your website, to update your Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly.

The Writing Piazza:
I know I like to think that once my book is published all the hard work will be over, but what you said is definitely something I need to remember. Marketing you book is also a part of the author’s job, whether you publish traditionally or self-publish. If you want your book to do well you gotta work at it.

And before we wind up the interview, I always like to ask, are you currently working on another book?

Lola:
I’m in the throes of publishing my third book and second YA book, Seven Sisters, which is an anthology series, consisting of seven interlocking stories about six different characters across seven different time spans and eras. I’m hoping it will be released before June.

The Writing Piazza:
I was reading about that book on your website, it sounds really interesting! Can you tell my readers where they can go to read about it too?

Lola:
You can also find more info about me and my upcoming projects on my website. www.lolablake.net

The Writing Piazza:
And where can they go to purchase your books?

Lola:
My books can be purchased on Amazon at:

And Coming Home:

The Writing Piazza:
This wraps up another fantastic guest author interview. I want to thank the amazing Lola Blake again for being with us today! And as always, I pour out my immense gratitude to all you fabulous readers for joining us! I hope you’ll come back to see who our exciting guest will be next week. Have a great weekend!

Until we meet again.

  • Excellent interview & advice. Especially the part about being prepared to sell your work after you’ve written it! Thank you for posting.

    • Kara

      I thought that was really great advice too! I know it feels like once we finish our book that we’re all done. It helps to prepare mentally to know that I will need to keep going even now that my first novel is written.

  • Very well said. Very interesting interview and the author sounds incredibly articulate. She sounds very inspirational too. I have to check out one of her books. Well done, Kara.

    • Kara

      She is indeed, truly inspiring. I am glad you enjoyed the interview. And I love connecting writers and readers. (And writers who read lol)

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