Welcome, one and all, to today’s author interview! Today, I’m speaking with LJ Hamlin. So, let’s get to it!
LJ, for those unfamiliar with you and your work, can you give us a quick introduction?
My work is a bit of a mixed bag, m/m, f/f and some polyam, all across genres from fantasy, urban fantasy, historical and contemporary. All queer and all disability positive. I’m a disabled bisexual and demi romantic woman, I want to see characters like me and my diverse friends in more books.
The first book in your Visions series, Blood Visions, sees a PI named Ronan called in by the police to work with a psychic named Dustin McPherson. Dustin has had a vision about a missing woman, and the PD need help with the case. What did you create first here, the two leads or the mystery?
The two leads came first. I knew I wanted a detective, kind of like a noir PI but in the modern day with a supernatural twist. Dustin the psychic is partly based on me, his anxiety and depression, some of his personality, but his powers came from my imagination sadly not me.
With Ronan and Dustin growing closer as the story continues, was it hard to balance out the paranormal elements with the romance at all?
It was hard at time to balance things, hunting mysterious things is important to both men, they like to help people. In the third book Ronan will have to face putting Dustin before a job.
The two men don’t quite have a love at first sight moment, and in fact, their first meeting is actually one of distrust, with Ronan not being certain whether Dustin is really a psychic or not. Personally, I prefer to watch relationships grow over time, so I’m a fan of this sort of arc. Do you prefer slow-burn romance or love at sight stories?
I’m okay with lust at first sight, but I prefer love to take time. Ronan and Dustin both have baggage from their families that they’ve been dealing with in “blood visions” and “dark visions” and they will deal with that a lot more in book three. This will test their relationship, but I promise no break ups!
When it comes to the paranormal elements of the book, did you need to do any research as to reported paranormal phenomena, demon sightings and regularly occurring signs pf psychic ability?
I did a little research and already had some knowledge, I had spoken to psychics (and been told I have an untrained gift) and a lot of what I wrote was based on exaggerated things I had seen. I also researched Latin for the demon’s name in “blood visions”
Did you always intend this to be a series, or did you plan to work with one book and see where it goes from there?
About halfway through writing book one I got the idea to make it a series, give them more adventures and time together.
How long after the release of Blood Visions did you start working on the second book, Dark Visions?
I’m not sure, a few months at least. I had a lot of other projects.
In this sequel, Ronan and Dustin have now been dating for a year, and are planning to take a break from work when they conclude their latest case. What can you tell us about what the pair are facing this time around?
They face a kind of siren luring people into the swap and draining them of energy till they fie. It becomes more complicated when the siren sets its sights on Dustin.
Both books are published by Less Than Three Press, who specialize is LGBTQ romance of varying genres. How did you come to work with them on this series, and will they be releasing the rest of the series too?
I came to work with less than three press after my original publisher closed on bad terms. But I had my rights back and I started researching publishers. I contacted them about the possibility of taking on my backlog of work, I had already submitted a brand new story to them. They took on everything and I fully intend to publish the rest of the series with them.
In terms of what’s scheduled, you’ve got a third book in the series in the works, as well as a spin-off. Starting with the mainline title, can you give us any details on this one yet?
Ronan will face a monster from his past and Dustin will be faced with a threat he felt in book two. Together they will fight the creatures and deal with watching loved ones in danger.
Who will the spin-off focus on, and how much is it tied in to the main series?
The spin off characters have been introduced in a story in my collection “Even in the grave” A mute hunter and a bartender in a bar for those who hunt the supernatural end up dealing with romance and danger. This hunter is not like Ronan, but does know of him.
Moving away from the Visions series for a moment, your back catalogue of books is quite extensive. Are there any titles that you’re particularly proud of?
Rise Again is a book I love, it deals with a dancer who is badly injured and has to relearn his place in the world as well as finding love. This will also have a sequel hopefully in a year or so.
You also write under the pseudonym Lizzie Colt, and have a book titled Tale of a Dragon Princess listed as coming soon. Why did you choose to release this one under a different name? Can readers expect any differences between Lizzie Colt and LJ Hamlin books?
Lizzie Colt books are YA/NA; there is romance but it will be less erotic and fewer sex scenes and a younger cast.
What can you tell us about Tale of a Dragon Princess?
It contains one of my favourite characters, Adie, a warrior with multiple disabilities who still gets the girl.
You openly list yourself as a disabled queer writer, and your books tend to feature gay, lesbian and bi characters. There seems to be a lot more LGBT fiction out there compared to twenty years ago, and in a bigger variety of genres. Do you think that the LGBT fiction scene has always been strong but floated under the radar, or has it seen growth in recent years? Has fiction featuring disabled characters seen any growth too?
LGBT fiction is growing and becoming more mainstream, such as Love Simon, but there is less fiction with disabled characters and in films the characters are never played by actual disabled people and in books we’re often written by abled people with limited research.
How important do you think it is to see more diverse characters appearing in speculative fiction and other non-contemporary settings?
I think it is very important, they big genres that lots of people enjoy and should get to see people like themselves in.
What would you say is the most important piece of advice that you could give to authors trying to get a footing in the industry?
Research your publisher or agent, don’t rush and be polite, even if you get rejections, don’t burn bridges with rudeness.
Finally, I wanted to thank you for stopping by today. Do you have any final messages for readers? Where can they go to find out more about you and your work? Feel free to link to anywhere that you want.
My website www.ljhamlin.com has a bit about me, I try to keep it up to date with my books and it also has a blog. Or you can find me on twitter under both ljhamlin and lizziecolt for writing rambling and life stuff.