Hello, L J – please tell us a little about yourself …
I am a civil trial attorney and mediator who practices in Miami, Florida. L.J. Taylor is my pen name.The oldest of six children, I grew up in New York City. I escaped my noisy siblings by voraciously reading every romance novel I could check out of the public library. My tastes later expanded to include spy novels and thrillers. As a teenager, I wrote poetry and song lyrics (straight out of the eighties). Inspired by Star Wars, I even tried to write a fantasy novel at 13 years old. I began writing novels during National November Writing Month in 2007 and have been chugging along ever since.
What or who inspired you to write?
I think I was inspired to write by the books I read and movies I watched. As a child, they allowed me to escape a sometimes harsh reality. Later, it became a way for me to express myself.
How many books have you written?
I’ve written a total of four books however, so far, I’ve only published one: “Just Dreams.” The other three books are in various stages of revision. The sequel to “Just Dreams” – “Dreams Deferred” – is scheduled to be released in November, 2014.
Briefly, give us the lowdown on what they’re about, including genre and titles.
“Just Dreams” is a romantic legal thriller.
Sparks fly when attorney Kathy Brooks agrees to represent novelist Charles Morgan, Jr. in a high-profile suit against a powerful government defense contractor. But when Charles’ hidden agenda threatens to expose the government’s dirty little secrets, what started out as the case of a lifetime could cost Kathy her heart, her career and even her life.
Charles doesn’t just want to win the lawsuit. He wants to destroy the company responsible for his wife’s death. His enemies, however, will stop at nothing to make the case go away – and that includes blackmail, kidnapping, and murder.
As the body count rises and the stakes get higher, Charles and Kathy will have to decide just how much they’re willing to sacrifice for the win. To get justice, they’ll have to put it all out on the line – including each other – and it still might not be enough.
Where can we find your book?
“Just Dreams” is available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and iTunes:
What or who is the driving force behind your creativity?
I’ve always been creative. I was born that way. I think I inherited it from my mother. She had a beautiful singing voice. I danced and sang in choirs and school plays from kindergarten through law school. I continued to sing in gospel choirs, law firm bands and outside gigs as an adult. I started writing poetry and song lyrics as a tween and never stopped. I guess the creativity derives from a need to entertain and touch people’s hearts as well as a need to express myself and deal with the voices (characters?) inside my head.
What was your first reading experience that ignited your imagination?
I distinctly remember reading a Sesame Street book at a very young age – maybe four or five years old. It was given to me by my brother’s godmother. I don’t know why that book affected me so much, but I must have read it a hundred times and each time, I was transported by the story.
You write romantic legal thrillers. What made you choose this crossover genre?
I love to read romantic suspense novels by authors such as Nora Roberts. I also love action movies and spy novels. Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum, and Jon Land are three of my favorite authors in that genre. Considering my reading habits and my legal background, it is no surprise that I would end up writing a romantic legal thriller with lots of action.
What’s your favourite meal?
I once ate spaghetti and meatballs for dinner for an entire month – not because I couldn’t afford anything else, but because I wanted to. There’s just something so comforting about that meal. With that being said, I love good food. Period. And my tastes include a variety of different cuisines. I had an Indonesian chicken curry stew for lunch a couple of weeks ago that made me miss my mother (she passed away last year). It’s not that she cooked Indonesian food, but she did make a great curry chicken dish.
What’s your favourite movie?
Sneakers starring Robert Redford and Sydney Poitier. I have a special fondness for hacker and heist movies and Sneakers is a bit of both.
What’s your all-time favourite read?
That’s really hard for me to say. Impossible, I think. I’ve gotten so much pleasure out of so many different books that I simply can’t pick just one.
Who is your favourite author?
Again, a very difficult question to answer, but, if I had a gun to my head, I would probably choose Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb. When I read her “In Death” series, I just want to be in that futuristic New York society. Then again, I feel the same way when I watch Star Trek Next Generation and Deep Space Nine episodes.
What other interests do you have besides writing?
I love to sing and to attend music festivals. I also like to travel and take dance lessons. So, far, I’ve taken argentine tango, salsa and bellydance classes.
Chocolate or candy or neither?
Chocolate definitely. I have to limit my intake though because they can be a trigger for migraines. I also have a special weakness for candy corn. I guess it reminds me of childhood.
If you could be an animal, what would it be and why?
Some sort of large feline like a tigress or a panther. There’s something seductive about being sleek, powerful, fast and a huntress.
Do you draw from personal experience when writing, such as situations and settings, with characters based on people you know?
The situations and the characters in my novels are entirely fictional. But I do draw on personal experience sometimes when it comes to settings.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I have eclectic musical tastes. I listen to everything from hiphop to rhythm & blues to jazz to salsa to reggae to pop, club, trance and world music.
Where’s your favourite place in the world, and why?
New Orleans. The food, the music and the people there just draw me back time and time again.
Your book is based in and around the world of law firms. What made you choose this as the background to your novel?
It’s a world that I’ve worked in for over twenty years. They say to write what you know so I chose a familiar setting.
Technophobe or technophile?
Neither. To me, technology is a tool, like any other.
Do you use social networking such as Facebook and/or Twitter, and if so, how do you find it and can we have your details?
I use both. Six months ago, I knew nothing about Twitter and largely ignored my Facebook account. But since then I’ve learned that social media is a useful tool for communicating with your readers. So now you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads and Google Plus. I do however, have to fight against the urge to remain on these sites for hours when I should be writing:
If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you’d buy?
I would pay off my debt and then take my friends and family on a vacation.
How do you market yourself and your book?
I try to find ways to reach my readers whether that is through Goodreads or by doing author interviews and radio podcasts or through my newsletter, my blog and social media.
Legal fiction must be demanding on research. How do you make sure all of your facts are accurate?
Having practiced law for more than twenty years, I’m pretty familiar with the things that I write about. As a result, thankfully, I don’t have to do a lot of research.
What does the future hold for you and your writing?
I intend to keep on writing and publishing books. “Just Dreams” is the first book in the Brooks Sisters Dreams Series. The sequel, “Dreams Deferred,” which features Kathy Brooks’ baby sister Ivy as the heroine, is scheduled to be released in November. The third book in the series, “Caged Dreams,” which features their other sister Mariah Brooks as the heroine, will be released in the spring of 2015. Sometime next year, I also intend to publish a standalone book I’ve written that is flat out suspense (as opposed to romantic suspense) and is set in New York and Liberia. The working title of that book is “False Love,” but it will, most likely, change because “False Love” sounds like a romance novel and it is definitely not a romance.
Who is your #1 hero and why?
I don’t have any personal heroes. I think heroes are regular people who do heroic things as a result of their character and the circumstances presented. There are people whom I admire and respect greatly for their contributions and their heroism; but I have no personal heroes.
If you were stranded on a desert island, and needed to burn one book for
kindling in order to survive, which of these would go into the flames – The Bible, Catcher in the Rye, the Complete Shakespeare or War and Peace?
Whichever book was the longest. Except I would never burn the Bible.
Thank you, LJ, for your your Interview responses!
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