I’ve received a tonne of questions lately – both from readers and authors – so I thought it’d be nice to put together a condensed list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions!

On Writing

Are you a plotter or a pantster?

I’m a hybrid, with leanings towards plotting. I’m generally a very organised person and I struggle without guidelines. When I’ve tried to free write, I end up running out of steam well before the middle, much less the end.

I outline the key events and scenes, but leave the details of getting from point A to point B a blank. As such, the plot changes from what I’d originally outlined, while giving myself the flexibility to be creative when it makes sense to do so.

Do you set yourself a writing target?

I write best when I know what I want to write – this is why plotting works for me. I can write between 3,000 and 3,500 words an hour and so can easily crank out 10,000 words on a good day. However this says nothing about editing. I love getting my thoughts onto the screen, and sometimes they slip away very quickly. I enjoy getting the bones of an idea down quickly and thusly spend more time revising and tying up plot holes and whatnot.

I try and dedicate at least two hours every evening to my own writing – be it plotting, editing, or actual writing. It doesn’t always work, but I can say my fiction is on my mind 100% of the time!

On Reading

Who is your favourite author(s)?

I’m not as well read as I would like to be, and who I enjoy depends on my frame of mind. I’m currently enjoying Guy Gavriel Kay, Laini Taylor, and Scott Lynch.

I’m an indie author, too! Can you read my stuff/give me feedback?

Sorry, I can’t. I’d love to, but I really don’t have the time to do this. If you’re still writing and want critique, I suggest joining a writing group and sharing your work with peers. If you want reviews, I suggest researching and contacting book bloggers – Goodreads and Twitter are good starting points.

On Self-Publishing

Why isn’t your World of Linaria series traditionally published? 

I decided to give self-publishing a go. I’ve worked in Marketing for over six years, and felt I could do a lot of what the publisher would myself. I also enjoy the speed of self-publishing, the control, and being able to sell at conventions. I have met so many wonderful people through this process, and am lucky enough that my writing is successful enough that I can continue doing it.

I wrote a five-part blog series about my self-publishing journey if you want to know more. Check it out here!

Who did you self-publish with? Createspace, Ingram, etc.?

None of them. I’ve done everything myself! For my first eBook, I formatted my Word document per Amazon’s KDP guidelines and uploaded the eBook there. I now write in Google Docs (though I’m tempted by Scrivener, too) and use Vellum for my formatting.

For my paperbacks, I work with a designer to format it in InDesign before sending the manuscript to a press based here in the UK, and have stock printed.

This means I have a pile of boxes of books in my dining room, and it means I package them and send them out via Royal Mail (through my village post office!) when people buy them through my website.

There are a number of reasons for this: chiefly so I had more control over the quality of the finished paperback (and could add touches like embossing), I could set a more competitive price than the Print-On-Demand services, I could sign books before shipping them out directly (and include freebies like bookmarks, business cards, and flyers), and I had plenty on hand ready, rather than waiting for author proofs to come from the US (along with associated international shipping costs and time). It also means when someone buys a paperback through my website, they receive it within two days (if they’re in the UK!).

It was a financial risk as I could end up with a tonne of stock that wouldn’t sell, but I’ve been successful with them, and have ordered numerous re-prints after selling out!

Who designed your covers?

Book Beaver designed the covers for Moroda and Palom.

Holly Jameson designed the cover for the Expanded Companion Guide (she also designed my business cards).

Katie Pettit has also tweaked my novel covers and I credit her with formatting them.

Who illustrated your character artwork?

Moroda and Sapora were illustrated by Art of Monztre.

Amarah, Anahrik, Eryn, Kohl, Morgen, and Palom were illustrated by Trevor Smith Art.

All my other pieces of character artwork, including the cover of the Expanded Companion Guide, were illustrated by Omercan Cirit.

Who illustrated your map of Linaria?

The map was illustrated by Ekaterina Moskvina.

Who printed your paperbacks?

Clays Ltd.

What is Three Dragon Publishing?

Some time after publishing my second novel, Palom, I decided to register a publishing company so I could attribute a name to my works.

As such, you’ll see the Three Dragon Publishing logo in my books going forward.

Although I’m focussing on my own books at the moment, I may expand the name into a fully-fledged publishing house with a focus on indie fantasy books.

Watch this space!

On Conventions

What conventions are you going to?

Check out my Events page for an up-to-date list. These will be UK-only!

Can I meet you at a convention?

Of course! If you’re going to a convention where I have a dealer table, please do come and say hi! But be aware that if it’s a busy show, I may not have a huge amount of time to chat if there are other people waiting to buy / have their books signed.

On Getting To Know Me/Miscellaneous

What do you do for a living?

I work for a Creative Agency as a Content Writer and also write freelance. Prior to this, I was a Copywriter for a chauffeur/private hire company. Prior to that, I was a Marketing Communication Coordinator for Subway Franchisees in Europe. Basically I’ve been writing for a living for a WHILE!

Why are dragons gods in the World of Linaria?

I love dragons.

Seriously, who DOESN’T?

I’ve loved them since I can remember. The 1996 film Dragonheart certainly sparked a love for dragons, and growing up, I adored Spyro the Dragon and variations of Bahamut, the dragon summon in Final Fantasy. Since then, I’ve devoured all media with dragons in them and have plenty of ornaments and pictures at home. Right now, I love Drogon (and his brothers) in Game of Thrones, Smaug in the Hobbit films, and my favourite dragon of all time is Toothless.

Where do you live?

In a village in Oxfordshire!

I’ll add to this as necessary, but if you’d like to know something specific, you’re welcome to email me: lauren@llmcneil.com.

Best wishes, and happy reading!