IN-DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH L. BACHMAN

Why Do You Write?

I began writing as a child as a coping mechanism and therapy. I would write silly stories of acceptance and people finally seeing how awesome I really was. Of course, as I got older, I’ve realized that if someone doesn’t accept me for me, they’re not worth my time and not very good people to try and be friends with. As a child, though, my writing gave me a way to “fix” this.

Writing also gave me a way to take things out creatively. I’ve never been very good at drawing with a pencil, but I could write, and that was more than its weight in gold. It became therapeutic, even though I wasn’t aware of it at the time.

What Does Writing Mean To You?

For me, writing has been a lifesaver, a creative outlet, and something I could call my own. Writing means so much to me, I’ve sometimes become emotional when speaking about it. It’s not just a hobby. It’s a true passion of mine. I am utterly in love with it and the way in which one can create pure poetry from everyday words.

There is a dance that occurs between the writer and their story. Two separate things that come together in a beautifully orchestrated tango. This dance, in my case, is captured, polished, and sent out into the world so people can watch the performance played out on a grand stage.

I get the same happy emotions when I create art or work on a cover for another author. The only difference is I’m trying to help the writer and their “partner”, the story, come together visually for the audience to see before diving into the performance. It can be difficult to do, it’s not easy seeing what “dance” the writer has in mind, but I do my very best to figure it out.

How Much Research Do You Do For Each Story?

It depends. I love having a wide-ranging physical book library at my fingertips, so when I need something, I can refer to one of those works. For books in The Blasphemer Series, I didn’t have to do very much. I have been a fan of the subject matter for years, so I only had to brush up to make sure things were accurate. There’s an old saying… “Write what you know.” For me, I take that to heart and learn as much as I can so I can then write what I know.

Why Write Horror?

Fear is one of the strongest emotions one can experience. The spike of adrenaline that surges through the body, causing the heart to pump faster and the body to react, is the ultimate compliment. I don’t always purposefully try to write something scary, but when I do, my goal is to get a reaction. I want to write something emotional to get the reader to feel what I’m feeling in the highs and lows of the story.

For years, possession and demons were a topic I’d not even talk about because of the fear, but that also motivated me to confront it and write about them. I wasn’t sure if this would make me more fearful or make me simply get over them, so I rolled the dice. Thankfully, it helped instead of making things worse.

What’s The Hardest Part Of Being A Writer?

The marathon, the method of writing for long periods of time. This also includes all the other things that go into the writing process. I do all my own work, from the covers to the formatting. The only thing I refuse to do myself is the professional editing. That’s something I hire someone to do for me after I’ve done my many drafts. The marathon is about keeping motivated throughout all the ups and downs that may occur.

For example, while I was still writing Harvest, I realized the deadline was fast approaching, so I began the publishing/marketing end of the entire process so it would all flush perfectly together. Unfortunately, there were many setbacks. The first was misprinting of merchandise involving a lot of back and forth between me and the company. The second was keeping motivated to just push through the stagnation that had begun to happen when scenes weren’t working well or hadn’t started going in the direction I needed them to go. Third, I realized things weren’t going to happen on time due to things not going well with printers and design. Reluctantly, the release date was pushed back, but everything came together in the end.

Some would say I didn’t plan properly, but I often don’t know what merchandise I’m going to need until the story is already written, so things tend to overlap. This is natural and, oftentimes, is just how it is for those who do the amount of work per project that I do.

How Long Does It Take You To Write A Story?

This is also something that simply depends on motivation or time. Sometimes a story takes a month, Maxwell Demon, and others take a few months, like Harvest. I’ve written short stories in a matter of a couple weeks, whereas others have taken months. My biggest hurdle is time. I have noticed that I work better… Okay, let’s be serious here. I thrive on short deadlines. They help me focus.

Do You Believe In Writer’s Block?

Yes, and it can be truly damaging. For me, writer’s block isn’t a lack of ideas or inspiration, but the lack motivation to keep going and keep writing. For four years, I had tons of ideas, tons of things on the back burner resting in a stagnant state. I would open a document and start, then stop, close, and not touch that document again. It would find its way onto a hard floppy disk somewhere. In fact, I recently found one of these colorful disks and stared at it blankly, unable to remember what I had on it because I hadn’t labeled it.

What Does Your Family Think Of Your Writing Career?

I was surprised by the support I got since I went public. Many members of my family knew I wrote, but only a small number knew my seriousness about it. For many years, I was too nervous to share any of my writings with my family, including my husband.

A few years ago, I decided to not only do this but to “go big or go home”. I took a deep breath and, after doing some research into the field, decided to go indie. I have had some negative reviews, but I didn’t let it get me down. I was more nervous about how my family would respond, but my parents surprised me the most with how supportive they were. My in-laws have also been very supportive, and that makes me happy to know I’m making good.

What Do You Say To Anyone Considering Writing?

  1. Never give up. Keep going, no matter what. There will always be negative people in the world, people who take their jealousy to a level of hatred, but you must never listen to it. Love what you write and your writing will find a readership. Be confident, and others will respond.
  2. Everyone, absolutely everyone, gets bad reviews. In an article done by HuffPost entitled “12 Classic Books That Got Horrible Reviews When They First Came Out”, this is explained perfectly. Another article that can be found is done by Buzzfeed entitled “11 Beloved Books With Shockingly Bad Reviews”. Some of the works mentioned in these two articles are surprising. It just proves no one is beyond public opinion, whether good or bad. It’s just a part of putting your work and yourself out there. You cannot please everyone. Don’t let this bring you down. Just breathe and keep moving forward.
  3. Forgive yourself. You will have days that you’re harder on yourself than others are. Forgive yourself for not being a machine. Mistakes will be made. You might as well accept it. Even after something gets published, little things are sometimes found. It happens to everyone. Don’t sweat it.
  4. When submitting to a publishing house, make sure the manuscript or chapter they request is exactly how you want it to be before submitting. Nothing can be more frustrating than submitting and realizing you can’t fix it after you hit send. It also causes issues on the receiving end of the process if you’re constantly emailing them updated versions. Be professional, submit exactly what you wanted in the first place. If it’s accepted, edits will occur throughout the process, if needed.
  5. Make sure you have all the social media accounts you’re comfortable with and/or are active on. This helps connect to readers and helps with promoting/marketing your work.
  6. Always keep a pen and paper next to your bed. Memo pad, notebook, steno pad… It doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s something you can write on.

Do You Write Every Day?

I try to. I know many try to force something out daily, but if I force it, it won’t be worth it in the end. I know enough to know that. I write until I get to a point I know I can stop and pick it right back up again the next time. This helps me continue working on a project instead of stalling. This also helps me work on multiple projects at once. My current daily word count is roughly three thousand words, but if I have complete focus and zero distractions, I’ve been able to push out ten thousand.

Are Any Of Your Characters Inspired By A Real Person?

None are carbon copies of real people, but some personality traits, including my own, have wiggled themselves into my characters. Things I’ve found interesting about those I’ve met, things that stood out, have found themselves here and there.

I like how beautifully flawed human beings can be, so I try to create characters that are the same. I try hard to keep characters realistic, even though I write many of them into fantastical situations and worlds. This ultimately serves my one pet peeve of things remaining realistic enough for me to understand them. It is how I have to approach everything. If it makes sense to me and I can explain it well enough for another to understand, then I’m golden.

I also have a habit of trying not to name characters after people I know. I don’t want anyone to ever think that a character with this or that name is how someone really is or how they act. It’s something rooted in my anxiety that I can’t escape. Any character who has a name of a real person is just an honest coincidence.

When You’re Not Writing, What Do You Do?

When not writing, I do other types of work. I’m a freelance artist who takes on clients under the business name Bachman Designs. I’ve done many book covers, promotional images, and media for other published authors. L. Bachman’s my work name. Initially, I didn’t want my real name known. I wanted to write under the L. Bachman name for a privacy barrier, but I’ve become more flexible over time with those knowing I’m L. Bachman. I stand behind my work with confidence.

When not doing some sort of work, I enjoy spending time with my family. They’re important to me. I’m married to a wonderful man and we have one child. My son has become involved in the community as a beta reader of children’s books. This was something I asked him if he wanted to do and he was all for it. He knows if he doesn’t want to read something, that is fine, as well. He loves reading things before publication.

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