But first, let’s get to know Lacy …
Name/Pen name: Lacy Hart
General Location: New York
- When did you first know you wanted to write?
I first started writing back when I was in junior high. I used to create short stories all the time and enjoyed coming up with different characters and worlds. That carried with me all through high school, college, and beyond.
- What inspired you to write?
My inspirations have always come from different places. Some of it is what I have seen and experienced in my life, read in other books, seen in movies, or just seen in everyday life. The great thing about inspiration is that it can come from anywhere. Even what may seem like a small thing in life can turn into a great story!
- Are you a planner or a pantster?
I am definitely a planner. I spend a lot of time sketching out what I am going to write and crafting outlines to work from. I do character bios, research on whatever it is I am writing about, and more so I can get as many details together before I sit down and write. That being said, there have been many times where I am writing and completely change course with what I had planned to do just because it feels right at the moment. That is often when I come up with some of my best ideas.
- Which of your works is your favorite? Why?
My favorite book of mine is After Midnight. I think I felt the best writing this one because the characters involved experience some of the things I have faced in my life. I also feel the story is the best, and the writing is the strongest in this book.
- Would you say your stories are plot or character-driven?
My stories are much more character-driven than plot-driven. As important as the overall plot is to keep the reader interested, I find that I am more drawn to stories that have characters that are engaging in many ways. I’m also most comfortable writing more about what a character is thinking, feeling, and experiencing and I think that can help drive the story along as much as the plot.
- What do you take with you on vacation?
Besides whatever clothes I need? I don’t like to take my computer with me, but I do always have a journal with me so that I can write things down that I see, feel, or experience. You never know where the next story idea is going to come from!
- What’s your motto as a writer? For me, it is any writing is good writing. Just getting something down is often enough to help spur me along and get things moving forward. It may not work for everyone, but it works well for me.
- What’s your next project, or what is in your future? I’m just getting ready to start book 3 in the Homestand Series, the follow-up to my last release, Balk. After that, I have a long list of story ideas to flesh out, so who knows what may come up after that!
Any information you would like to share about yourself
I came to being a published writer pretty late in life and after years of different careers and experiences, but I am glad that the opportunity came along when it did. I feel very fortunate to get to do something I love, and I never thought I would get the opportunity to share my writing with anyone.
Now for ‘Keeping it Real?’
I don’t necessarily feel I am in the position to give great writing advice to anyone. To me writing is so personal that it can mean many things to me that mean nothing to you as a reader or writer. However, since I am giving some info about the writing craft and how it works for me, I’ll let you in a bit behind the curtain regarding what helps me the most.
Characters are important to me whether I am reading or writing. Sure, a great plot can draw you in, and I know I have read many blurbs on the dustjackets of books that have made me rush to the register to buy a book. Sometimes it works out well, and the book is great, but other times, as much as I wanted to get into the story, I just couldn’t get into it, usually because of the characters. It has nothing to do with likability; some of the best characters are individuals that you despise, hate or fear. It has more to do with the connection you make with the characters, and this is where my advice comes in.
I want my readers to connect with the characters I create, if it is only one trait in them that sparks some interest. To do that, I want to make my characters as realistic as I can make them. Even fantasy characters that have three arms, six eyes, and are purple can have characteristics that your readers will connect with. Finding those traits, those commonalities, with a character will help the reader stay involved with your writing. The readers will look at your hero, heroine, villain, or even secondary character and see that this person, alien, dog, or who or whatever is someone that they want to know more about, someone they understand in a way, or someone they relate to on one level or another.
I spend a lot of time before I start writing doing character studies. I ‘m not as concerned about what a character looks like, even though it matters a great deal and can be useful to help you build a character’s traits, emotions, and base. I want to know what it is that makes my character tick, what are his or her faults, fears, aspirations, positives, and negatives. Even beyond all that, I want my characters to seem real to the people who read about them.
Yes, reading is an ideal escape from the “real” world, and goodness knows we need that now and then. But I find the books I get most involved with and can’t put down are books where the characters have not just shared interests like baseball, movies, reading, cooking, music, or anything else, but feel experience life like I do or would if in the same situation.
In the romances I write, my heroes and heroines find love and happily ever after, but they face the same issues you and I face. They have family issues, relationship problems, fears, and flaws, and make good and bad decisions. One of the comments I love to see from my readers is that they love the characters for how they deal with life, love, and relationships, whether it is with humor (which I like to use a lot of), family (another important factor for me), sadness, disappointment, or one of a thousand other emotions.
So my advice about writing is this – I like to create characters that I would like to watch in a movie or on TV, or even be in a room with or talk to (okay, maybe not some of the villains, but even they might be interesting to talk with). Spend some time with your characters before you put them down on the page to learn what they are to you. Have a conversation with them. Ask them questions, and then start writing it all down. By the time you are done, you will have a lot more background and detail than you thought possible, and you’ll have fleshed-out characters your readers will appreciate.
Let’s congratulate Lacy on her latest release entitled Back, The Home Stand Series.