5-STAR Fantasy / Sci-Fi

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Indie Author Interview: Dr. LL

Today's Interview is with Dr. LL - the Author of the Self-Help Book I Married a Narcissist Parasite - released in June 2012 - "Why Prince Harming Seduced You & How to Get Out"

Dr. LL, as the author is known to friends and people in the research industry that she works in, lives and runs in the NYC region with her rescue dog, Snooks, who has taught her about patience. She is a breast cancer survivor which has taught her about priorities. And her divorce taught her about boundaries.

Interview with Author Dr. LL

Indie Author News Interview with Dr. LL
Dr. LL with Snooks
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Dr. LL: Even as a child, I was forever writing short stories, entering essay & poetry contests (won several) and had my nose in a book. I had always dreamed of writing a book and had many stop-starts over the years. I'm not professionally trained as a writer but, having learned how to adapt from free-style writing to the rigor of scientific reports and the flow required for business strategy plans, I feel I've had a few lessons!

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite book, and who or what are your writing influences?
Oh so many choices! Nora Ephron had a style like no other and, since her passing, I've begun re-reading some of her books and they have an even greater impact and influence on me now then they did the first time around. Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift From the Sea" remains one of my favorites as its timelessness, simple analogies and life lessons for women make it a go-to-favorite over and over again. Books like Eric Lawson's "Devil in a White City", Barry Werth's "Billion Dollar Molecule" and Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" are also key books in my favorite genre where auto/biographies of fascinating people play out in the context of history, research and scientific discovery. And then books like "Sarah's Key", "The Art of Racing in the Rain", "Amazing Gracie", "A Big Little Life", "Marley & Me", "Snowflower and the Secret Fan" rip your heart out but somehow make you smile inwardly, inspire you and leave you feeling grateful for all that you have versus making you focus on what you've lost.

Tell us about your writing process. Do you have a writing routine?
I like to write every night before I go to bed. On many nights, this is problematic as I don't get started until after 10 or 11pm and then, once I'm in the mode, I'll keep going well into the wee hours - sometimes all night!

What do you find easiest about writing? What the hardest?
The easiest bit about writing is laying in bed when I'm trying to stop thinking so that I can wind down and sleep yet it is precisely the time that concepts, constructs or whole paragraphs automagically create themselves - and then I have to get up and capture them! The hardest part is when I feel like I have to write - for example - my blog. It's been suffering lately because I'm burnt out and need to take a break from writing after a very intense first half of the year.

"I love writing! And story-telling."

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
Kindergarten! I always love English more than Math and Science. Truth be told, in high school, when I announced to my family that I was going to pursue an English degree in university, it was pretty much kabashed by everyone but my English teachers. Even my Science teachers were on the fence about which direction I should go and they all felt I could go either way because I had passion for both. In the end, I went all the way to a PhD in molecular biology but have always gravitated to career roles where I am actively writing reports, marketing copy or business proposals. I love writing! And story-telling. Anytime I'm in front of the campfire, a dinner table, just about any audience, I enjoy kicking off a story and getting the group to chime in.

Dr. LL, please tell us a little about your debut 'I Married a Narcissist Parasite'.
My debut was a bit ill-timed and just happened to be the day before I began an all-consuming project in my day job which has required evenings and weekends of work since the debut. I could complain and moan about how my "work-work" has taken me away from my focus on my book debut but, all it does is make me more determined to relish it and take my book to the next step as soon as finish my project! That said, I was incredibly excited and Tweeted / Facebooked / Emailed / Called just about everyone I know to share my big news. I was enormously proud of myself for completing something I had always dreamed of and in my heart, knew that I didn't need to sell a zillion copies to feel like I had achieved success. Simply publishing it was an incredible achievement for me. And, being the optimist that I am, launching it into The Universe with the hopes that it may help others who are experiencing their own challenges made me pause and think about how grateful I was to have the opportunity to do so and then I felt warm, yet also had goosebumps, about the idea that maybe, just maybe, I could actually help someone.

I Married a [Narcissist] Parasite - Dr. LL
Click to Read an Excerpt

What inspired you to write the book?
I'm a strong woman. Independent. Fueled by interaction with my friends and family. I started writing to manage some of the secrets in my life that were quickly spiraling out of control and I felt that I had to capture them somewhere. Most of my friends knew something was going on with me and my marriage, as I had withdrawn but they couldn't quite put their finger on it. My friend, Terri, after a particularly harrowing couples weekend away, inspired me to take the notes I was keeping and to first re-read them to myself so that it would be unequivocally clear how I needed to make changes in my life and, secondly, to use my strength and my story to help others as doing so has always been my passion.

Who do you see as your target audience and where can we buy the book?
In the broadest sense, my book is for anyone struggling with a challenge in their life as my book deals with everything from cancer to divorce to domestic violence to financial peril - but does so with humor and lightness to convey my lessons learned which are meant to inspire people to get through whatever challenges they are facing. More specifically, my book is designed for the audience with relationship problems and most narrowly, for those in a relationship (be it professional or personal) with a narcissist. The book, in paperback and Kindle, is currently only available on Amazon with 10% being donated to Project Safety Net which finds safe harbor for victims of abuse and their pets.

"...great reviews that have been posted."

How would you describe the success of your book so far? (Sales, Awards, Reviews)
Sales so far are moving along but it's unclear if/when sales will actually take off - don't we all aspire to be the next E.L.James or J.K.Rowling?! I'd love for my book to do so as my beneficiary is in need of more support but TBD! No awards - sigh - but maybe one day, right?! As for my reviews, there are not that many yet but I am truly humbled, validated and liberated by the great reviews that have been posted. If these are the last sales and reviews, of course I will be disappointed on some level, but, if that is how it is to be, I will sleep well at night knowing that my book was essential to my own catharsis and has also helped a few others laugh, understand and move through their own catharses and that's a wonderful feeling!

How long did it take it to write the book?
I worked every night for a few hours per night for about three years, adding diary content and splicing it with self-analysis. Then, over the 2011 holidays, my dear friend and mentor, Trudy, challenged me to take it to the next level. I scrapped it (not the diary entries of course), took a break from writing in January 2012 to collect my thoughts, then wrote like a mad woman every night, usually almost through the night, and every weekend non-stop for four months. Paused. Got feedback. Edited it for a few weeks and then released it to The Universe!

Please, tell us where you self-published the book.
I did a lot of research comparing different options regarding traditional publishing houses vs. self-publishing and which sources of the latter to use. In the end, I felt that Amazon Create-space really had the best and easiest-to-follow package.

How smooth went the self-publishing process?Any issues? What are things to look for when self-publishing a book? 
I didn't like all of the stage-gates! Yes, checklists are good but, you were literally frozen and prohibited from advancing until you had completed a step. And, in the case of editing where you had to wait for your proof to ship (each time you made a major edit), it added a lot of extra time that I did not plan for.

Did you hire an editor and/or Cover Designer for your book?
I have editors for friends so I did not have to hire them but I did hire a designer who I've worked with before on creative projects for the cover. I knew he would render the cover with the concept that I had in my head. It took us eight go-rounds and almost two months, but, in the end, I'm glad I waited as his creative genius came through!

Can you give some tips for other Indie Authors regarding the writing and self-publishing process?
I think writing about something you are passionate about is an amazing opportunity and you should take it and run with it to follow your heart. Self-publishing has really been demystified by CreateSpace. They make it simple and affordable but you need to be prepared that you are not going to be earning very much for each sale: don't quit your day job just yet! Writing and publishing are probably the easiest steps as it is the marketing and trying to stand out in a crowded sea of ~10,000 new books each week that is the challenge you need to prepare yourself for both in mindset and budget if your goal is to drive readership.

Are you working on another book project? Can you tell us a little about it?
I started writing two other books in this series in parallel but had to put them aside given my current workload. I Divorced a Narcissist Parasite (A Diary of Divorce) and We Married Parasites (a collection of stories by women and men who have had epically bad relationships but found freedom and happiness through escape!) I'm currently interviewing people for the latter book and collecting research but not yet writing about their stories.

"...be inspired by others to inspire..."

Are you planning to move forward as an Indie author or are you looking forward to have one of your next books to be traditionally published?
I like the Indie community. I share the philosophy - be inspired by others to inspire - and so I'd like to stay Indie. Now that I have the writer's bug (in a big way!) my plan is to work through the remaining two books in this series, close it out in 2013, and move on to some of the other book ideas I have bouncing around in my head at night while I'm trying to fall asleep!

Where do you see the book market in 5 or 10 years? Will there be only eBooks and will book stores disappear like record stores disappeared?
I think so. We're in a digital society that is becoming increasingly nomadic. I can't count the number of books that I've donated or given away move after move. At the same time, I still can't covert to all digital as there is something magical about the smell of a musty old bookstore and touching the ultra-thin paper used bygones ago so, while I think the book industry will mirror that of the music industry, I don't think the paperback or hardcover will ever truly disappear as a medium for readers to truly connect with the stories contained inside.

Do you write full-time or do you have a day job?
Fortunately / unfortunately, yes! Dang it! If only my day job was writing and could pay my bills!

"I would love readers to reach out to me..."

How can readers connect with you?
I would love readers to reach out to me, offer their thoughts, pose questions, whatever they want to share with me about my book, their book, their experiences or writing in general. I can be reached on Twitter.

Thank you so much for the Interview, Dr. LL.

Dr. LL's about the Book I Married a Narcissist Parasite:

I Married a [Narcissist] Parasite - Read an Excerpt
Funny, informative, poignant and real, I Married a Narcissist Parasite, is a true story chronicling divorce, cancer, abuse, dog custody battles and a relationship with a narcissist. It is perhaps best described as "War of the Roses" meets "Bridget Jones' Diary" meets "The Money Pit".

I knew something wasn't right about our relationship. I knew for a long time. It took years and oceans of tears but I finally figured out the math which revealed that Him + Him - Me = Our Marriage.

It felt like I had taken a vow of indentured servitude. How had Prince Harming seduced me and kept me beholden to him for so long? I was gobsmacked that me, Ms. Independent, an oh-so-super-strong woman, was incapable of answering the question posed by my marriage counselor: "Why have you stayed in an abusive marriage so long?" Dang. Good question! Me, never at a loss for words. A survivor. A thriver. I had gruelled it out for five years under a tyrant for a thesis adviser to graduate with a PhD, battled breast cancer in my 30's (and won!), fought against fungus and all kinds of creepy-crawlies in an epic eight year historic home restoration. Yet, here I was - stumped by her question. Less than an hour later, we had figured it out.

Ah-ha! I had married a narcissist. Who knew? Suddenly it all made sense. I could now put a label on all of those cause-for-pause behaviors I had been observing in him for a long time. In fact, it quickly became clear that he was textbook Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and the only thing unclear, besides the answer to the question of why I stayed, was how was I seduced in the first place and how in the hell do I get out?!

This book includes practical tips that you can use, Top 10's on everything that I did and should have done with lessons learned on how to recognize and handle narcissists. Also included is a list of recommended books to read to help you through each phase in your own journey, plus a playlist with suggested songs to sing your heart out to while you evolve away from the person you've become under Prince Harming's reign. And, you just might have fun singing along with me as you progress through the stages of Laugh, Cry, Learn in preparation for your own Chapter Two. I Married a Narcissist Parasite will inspire others to know they are not alone and that they can overcome - by learning to let go.

Links to the Author and the Book

Connect with Dr. LL on Twitter: @drLLBell

Link to the eBook I Married a Narcissist Parasite on Amazon with Excerpt

Link to the Paperback I Married a Narcissist Parasite on Amazon

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