Wednesday, June 19, 2019

J. Lawson's Debut Author Spotlight #NewBook #20Questions and #coffee at Operation Awesome

Debut Author Spotlight from @JLenniDorner on @OpAwesome6

The Amulets (The Amulets Trilogy) by J. Lawson

1- Your book is in paperback. Any plans to offer it as an ebook as well, and why or why not?

The book was available in paperback only for the first month and is now available in e-book as well. I originally wanted to coordinate the release of the e-book with the title and cover debut of the second book in the series, but the cover artist I work with, Cheyenne Leslie Hurst, was working with a hand injury and that was delayed. She is amazing and I’m so lucky to be working with her.

2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?

Find a place you can be comfortable and productive. Try multiple locations and figure out what does and doesn’t work about each. Many people think it would be somewhere quiet and alone, but I find I’m most productive when writing in public where I can have short bursts of hyper focus and then distract for a bit before another burst.

3- What ignited your passion for writing?

Reading was always something I loved from a young age; getting lost in worlds and events that truly affected me, even if they weren’t real. I always thought it would be amazing to be able to create and write something like that for other people. Once I started, I knew I couldn’t stop. It became an outlet for me; something I could do to feel good.

4- You have characters who work in a bookstore. What prompted you to pick that location?

I love bookstores, I feel at home in bookstores, and I’ve worked in bookstores multiple times throughout my life. I know many readers feel the same, so it would be an anchor of sorts through the rest of the events. The characters in the book enjoy escaping the more difficult aspects of their life and immersing themselves in other worlds they can find in the store; something else I think most readers can relate to.

5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?

My Twitter handle is @AuthorLawson. I’d love to shout out to @JenniferFlaig, @therealzombres, and @ThePenguinBard. These authors are my support net. They’re incredibly talented and have been amazing at helping me develop along my journey.

6- Would you share a picture with us of your book by the trees

7- Jordan, Georgia, and Sawyer -- a country, a state, and a town. Coincidence?

Complete coincidence!! That’s crazy and I love it. I never would have noticed that, but now I need to do some soul searching to see if there was something subconscious going on there. Technically, another couple of characters in the next book have names that could be city names as well. That’s bizarre; you’re freaking me out.

8- What most motivates you to read a new book?

I put a lot of stock in recommendations from people whose taste I trust. I also love to read local and indie authors’ books because we all gotta stick together! When I’m looking on my own, I start looking within a specific genre based on whatever mood I’m in at the time. Once I’m there, it’s all about the back of the books and whether they grab me. Writing blurbs for my books is painful, but they really are an amazing tool for drawing interest.

9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!

My all-time favorite book is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. She’s a little behind the times in terms of social media so no Twitter handle. It’s a shame because I’d follow the heck out of her if she did! Real-time favorite is probably:
Author name: Karen Marie Moning @KarenMMoning
Title: Darkfever (the whole series is amazing)
Love because: In terms of modern fantasy, it does the best job of world building in an already existent world. She writes characters so clearly without an indecent amount of superfluous detail. It seems effortless. In my limited experience, making something seem effortless is ironically one of the hardest things to do.

Good choice! That is on my TBR/ wishlist.

10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?

I am fortunate to have many supportive people in my life who are fans. My best friend, Laura, has been emotionally and creatively invested in this whole process with me and she’s one of my biggest fans. She says she’s drawn into a world that’s different from her own but still relatable. She can see herself as a patron at the book store getting to know the characters makes it easy to understand how they can make the decisions they do because it’s what’s right. She’s a treasure and I appreciate her so much.

11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?

I really wanted the book to be an effortless read. To have that happen, I needed the characters to be relatable so the reader could connect with them and their experiences. There is a scene in the middle of the book where Jordan’s frustration with her current situation finally boils over and she had a short but emotional rant calling out everyone’s involvement. I felt a lot of feelings while writing it. I hope that comes through to the readers.

12- What is your favorite drink?

coffee cup image
Coffee, coffee, a thousand times, coffee. It is word juice, creation brew, and magic bean water. Coffee can take any mania I'm feeling and bring it back down to baseline. I have coffee with me almost any time I'm writing or editing. It's part of the process. Even the smell is conducive to creativity for me. I seriously love coffee. The people at our local diner know me and bring it without asking when I show up. Same at two of the local Starbucks that I frequent. Coffee is a true and loyal friend.

13- How do you hope your book will help readers in their life?

I’ve touched on it before, but I love how fantasy books offer readers an escape and I hope my books can do that as well. At the same time, relatability is really important to me. I want people to read my work and think “I totally understand how they feel” or “Oh yeah, I know someone like that.”

14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?

None of my characters are too distinctive visually. I love Mama Landry’s dialect. It’s time consuming to write but satisfying to read once I get it right. Most of the main characters love coffee; something I relate to!

15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? #WeNeedDiverseBooks

In this series, it’s actually a secondary character who is the most diverse. All the other characters in the book come from the same small Vermont town, but Mama Landry is a black woman with a heavy dialect who really stands out while somehow still fitting in. Her views on life, death, an existence in general are different than those around her and she brings a noticeably different perspective to the things she’s involved in. I adore her.

16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?

I enjoy FantasyCafe @fantasycafe. I’ve found a number of books I really enjoyed from reading their review and they tend to be pretty accurate for my tastes.

17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?

I looked into standard publishing and I couldn’t come close to affording it. I knew querying was an option, but I honestly just wanted to get the book out there and in people’s hands, so the fastest and most fiscally plausible option was to self-publish, which I did. KDP is a great way to self-publish. It is user friendly and their support, which I’m fortunate to have only needed to contact twice, are fantastic.

18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?

Oh my gosh, book reviews are so incredibly important! They can help a reader decide whether they want to give a book a chance. Especially as a self-published author, word of mouth is one of the strongest tools we have. That being said, reviews need to be written in a useful way. If I read a review and it just says the book was amazing or the book was awful, that’s not useful. WHY was it good or awful? I want to know what specifically about it was good or bad. IT also potentially lets the author know what they can use to apply to future projects. Well-written reviews (whether positive or negative) are incredibly useful feedback.

19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?

What are the three main things you look for and/or appreciate in a fantasy novel or series?

20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?

This book is a dream come to light. I still have a hard time believing something I envisioned during a nap has been actualized. The outpouring of support has been humbling. Book two should be out in summer of 2019 and I hope to have the final book out by summer of 2020. I also have an LGBTQ humor novel coming out later this year as well.


A centuries-old war, a lineage of magic thought long dead, and a girl desperately struggling to find her place.
Jordan has a secret; one that’s kept her intentionally antisocial. So, when new girl Georgia moves to town and begins working at the same bookstore, she is naturally apprehensive. Yet, discovering their unanticipated connection makes her question everything she’s ever believed.
When they discover unusual happenings linked to the old mill, they along with Sawyer, handsome grandson of the town crank, find themselves forced to investigate a potentially evil source of conflict threatening the safety of their town. Will Jordan and Georgia’s common gifts, along with Sawyer’s courage and charm, be enough to get the answers they need to save the town? Or does letting yourself care just mean you have more to lose?


J. Lawson was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. She moved to Peoria, Illinois in 2008, where she currently resides with her husband, son, and two dogs. She graduated from Western Illinois University with a Master's in English Literature. The Amulets (book one in The Amulets Trilogy) is her debut novel. Lawson enjoys reading fantasy, thriller, mystery, and most varieties of fiction. She also loves 80s-90s rock music. Drinking coffee and spending time with friends is her happiest pastime.

Social Media Links: Twitter: @AuthorLawson

The Amulets (The Amulets Trilogy) by J. Lawson

1 comment:

  1. I'd like to say I enjoyed The Amulets because the characters were so relatable. Before the first chapter was over I was sucked into the town. I could feel the woods, hear the water, feel all the emotions of each character. It made me laugh, cry, smile and wonder. What is going to happen next?


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