Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Conversation with Leigh Ann Kopans, Author of ONE, TWO, and SOLVING FOR EX.

Leigh Ann Kopans: Author of One, Two, and Solving for Ex

Hi Leigh Ann! I'm so excited you agreed to a conversation! I've really enjoyed watching your career grow over the past couple of years. I loved your first novel, ONE. Now I have TWO and the soon to be out, SOLVING FOR EX, to look forward to! If you could name the highest point and lowest point of your publishing career so far, what would they be?

Ahhh thank you so much for having me! You've been such an awesome support and friend, and it's been fun to grow into authors together, hasn't it? :)

And I have to say, I so appreciate your reading my books. It really does mean the world to me. On one level, I guess a more meta-level, that's been the highest point. People I respect, and people I don't know, are reading and enjoying my books. That's really the dream, isn't it? But more specifically, hitting the bestseller lists in Teen Science Fiction on Amazon was pretty awesome too. :)

The lowest point, honestly, was right before I decided to self-publish. I really felt like I would never be a published author, and for me, it was really hard to keep going. I was trying to make it in traditional publishing, but I didn't thrive in that system at all, in so many ways.

It has been fun! What's so cool to me is the absolutely real friendships that develop through social media. It's like finding your people and, to me, is the adult equivalent of going to college where there was a much bigger pool of like-minded folks to find and connect with.

I feel like this is probably a been there, done that sort of question, but I think it's one people are still interested in, which is the decision to self-pub. It's exciting to see it becoming more and more accepted, along with all the crossover that's going on with people trad pub'ing some work and self pub'ing other work. For you, are you firmly in the self pub camp now or would you still consider some sort of mix of avenues? Reasons?

I'm pretty firmly in the self-publishing camp now, just because it has made such a difference in my writing life, and I like my new one better. For me, the quest to become traditionally published was very painful. I was constantly wondering if writing what I was writing was a waste of time, whether it would please agents and then publishers, and if it didn't please agents and publishers, how did I know it was any good? Was I improving at all? Was any of this worth it? It was all about writing a book that would sell.
As a self-published author, I know that anything I write that I would like to be published...will be published. I make editorial decisions that I feel are true to the story, I choose a cover and marketing plan based on my vision and instincts. I release books on my timetable - I write quickly - and when I do publish a book, I make 70% of the sale price in profits.
In my view, self-publishing only  has 2 drawbacks - the money you have to spend up front, and the fact that your book will likely not be in a bookstore. I'm okay with both of those things. 

It makes me so happy to hear it's working for you! It's something I never discounted as an option. I just managed to be in the right time, right place, right story situation for my publisher, but I have to admit, I'm happy not to be doing the front end work I know you have to do for marketing, etc. So hoorah for perfect paths and best personal decisions!! And I loved ONE, so you have nothing to worry about.

Oh, totally. Asking for reviews and planning blog tours and ordering swag takes up a LOT of time. It's pretty intense. At worst, it's a slog, at best, it's creative fun. But it always takes up a lot of time (and  money!)
So, yes, hoorah for perfect paths! 

Okay, since I brought up ONE--one of the aspects that I thought was remarkable was your world building. Do you have any tips for writers building near-future science-filled worlds like yours?

Thanks for the props on One's world-building! My CPs had a heavy hand in challenging me to go deeper with the world building in each draft. I think my best tip is to think about the stuff you use every day - phone, cars - and how it would change a hundred years from now. That'll provide the richest world building, because it bleeds into every area of life. 

That makes sense. It's hard to predict isn't it. Some things happen faster than we'd ever expect, some things don't happen. I read Ender's Game about a year ago and what amazed me was how it still felt relevant and sci-fi enough for today's market. 

But you next release is not future set, is it? Tell us a little bit about Solving For Ex and how it was to write a contemporary versus your One Universe series.

Ahhh, Ender's Game! One of my favorites! Yes, that's a great example.
So, no. My next release is not future set. Funnily enough, that comes with a whole new bunch of worldbuilding considerations. I didn't want to mention tech, fashion, or pop culture in great detail, because (maybe hubristically) I didn't want the book to ever seem dated. So I had to be careful to describe the fit of clothing as opposed to its actual style, and mention a phone but not the look of the buttons on it. I know some things will inevitably be dated, but I tried to minimize that as much as possible.
In terms of the plot, it wouldn't have been much different writing it, had it not been a romance. I remember calling my friend Gina Ciocca and telling her that this book was crap because nothing happened in it. "Stuff is happening," she said, "just not the kind of stuff you're used to." I learned quickly that even if there were no literal explosions and action in romance, there was still a lot of metaphorical destruction and upset going on. 

The age old internal versus external issue. And by the way, I saw your postcards for Solving For Ex on Instagram and they are adorable. Really professional job on the part of your graphics person. So yay!

Okay, it's come to the end of our blog time together, but before you go, will you add a line to our Exquisite Corpse story? Here's what we've got - and for now, this is seeming more plot driven than character driven, and perhaps, a middle grade? Thanks for visiting Leigh Ann! 

And readers, at the end of the Exquisite Corpse passage is a Rafflecopter giveaway for your choice of one of Leigh Ann's three books! 

And next week stop back in when I'll chat with Skylar Dorset, author of Breathless!

Exquisite Corpse
Yesterday, at the asylum, Johnny got lost in a hole. One moment he was occupying stall #6 of the third floor boy's restroom, the next he was gone, nothing but a flush and a startled scream in his wake.  Briefly, he wondered how he'd talk himself out of this mess when they found him...if they found him. But a howling sound suddenly echoed through the surrounding darkness and he knew; there wasn’t time to worry. He'd landed on his hands and knees on a stone floor covered with a foul-smelling, slimy liquid that made him glad he'd skipped lunch. When the howling sounded again--this time much closer--Johnny scrambled to his feet. 

He felt a blast of hot wind. No, not wind. Breath. He turned slowly, hoping that he was wrong, but he knew what he would find, what he's always been warned about but never believed truly lived in these dark recesses. A pair of eyes emerged from the tunnel, dark and somewhat bulgy. The beast snorted. It's tongue hung from the corner of its mouth. It was the biggest WerePug he had ever seen, and worse, it looked hungry. 

Everyone knew that WerePugs couldn't see too well - their bulgy eyes found it difficult to focus on anything, so they relied on quick movement combined with sound from whatever object they were chasing. Johnny knew there was only once way out. Taking a deep breath and holding it inside puffed cheeks, he slowly got down on his belly and began to push himself, using the stinky, slimy liquid to slick his way, under the beast's heaving belly and out the other side.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Very interesting! and thanks for the giveaway, is it international?

    1. Hi Ella!

      If an international person wins, I'll give all three books in e-format! :)

      Leigh Ann

  2. World building works for me when I can totally get lost in it, but there is still a trace of the familiar, something I can grab onto and utilize to understand the world I'm reading. Great interview Jaye Robin and Leigh Ann!

  3. Great interview! I'm excited for Solving For Ex!

  4. Great interview! I'm excited for Solving For Ex!

  5. Great interview as always, and I love the title SOLVING FOR EX.

  6. I love these interviews! And it's great to hear how everyone makes their own perfect path in publishing :)


Hey, do you ever wonder why they call it 'your two cents?'