LORI DEVOTI TALKS TO SANDRA CAREY CODY
March 4, 2011
Like so many writers I claim to know, I met Lori Devoti on the internet. We were part of a Sisters in Crime critique group and I was immediately struck by her instinct for pacing and her ability to zero in on the exact detail needed to make a scene or a character come alive. Unlike many of my internet writer friends, I actually met Lori face to face when my husband and I were visiting family in Madison, WI. We met for dinner and spent a pleasant evening talking writing. She was exactly as I had imagined her to be – warm, down to earth and easy to talk to. In the years that have passed since then, Lori has stretched her creative wings to other genres and has recently started an internet How to Write Shop. She has published numerous books and been a finalist for many awards. I think Birth of a Novel readers will enjoy getting to know Lori as much as I have.
SANDY CODY: What prompted you to become a writer?
LORI DEVOTI: Mainly time. I had always worked full time, but when our daughter was seven months old, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. We had just moved to Madison, WI for my husband’s job and I hadn’t found a new job of my own yet. It made sense for me to stay home with her, and I needed something to do for me. Writing became that something.
CODY: What part of writing do you find most satisfying?
DEVOTI: Revising. I find the actual writing part horribly painful, but by the revising stage, you can see how it is all going to work. You know you can fix it and I enjoy doing that.
CODY: What part do you find most difficult?
DEVOTI: The part after planning and before revising. The actual “get the words on the page” part.
CODY: What comes first for you? Characters? Story? Setting?
DEVOTI: When I actually start my on-paper plotting process, I always start with characters, but this is tied pretty tightly to the other two. The initial idea could come from any of them, and probably comes more from setting or situation, but when I plot, it always begins with my characters.
CODY: The stories you were writing when we first met are very different from the ones you’re writing now. What prompted the change? Was the transition difficult? Do you intend to continue to write both types?
DEVOTI: When we met I was in a big mystery stage, reading wise. But I also read both fantasy and romance. My first manuscript was a mystery, and actually I’m planning to put it out on Kindle, Nook, etc., under a pen name soon. My second manuscript was a romance and it just so happened that it sold. When you sell to a publisher, you get on a bit of a track. I’ve switched off of it since, but the switching has had a definite pattern. Contemporary romance to paranormal romance to urban fantasy (with romantic elements) to young adult urban fantasy (with romantic elements). And those weren’t all complete switches. I am still writing paranormal romance and will probably hit all of the genres again at some point.
CODY: What else is in the works?
DEVOTI: I recently released my first full-length young adult urban fantasy, Demon High. http://www.lordidevoti/young-adult If sales go well, I plan to write another in that series. I also plan to put out that first mystery and finish a vampire romance I started a long time ago, but quit working on because powers-that-be-said vampires were overdone. I will also in the next year or so have two more releases with Harlequin Nocturn.
CODY: What do you do when you’re not writing?
DEVOTI: I’ve taken on a couple of new roles in the past few months. I love the freedom that the new self-publishing for eReaders gives authors and the choices it gives readers. Because of that, I’ve been pursuing it quite a bit and am even doing ebook formatting for other authors. I’m also running a website for authors with a friend: http://howtowriteshop.com
In my private world, I have two kids, a husband and two dogs. And I’m planning to take up running again. I’ve committed to doing a 5K run, maybe longer, with the same friend (Kathy Steffen) who runs the How to Write Shop with me.
In a perfect world, I would have about four extra hours in a day.
CODY: What refreshes you creatively?
DEVOTI: Getting outside with my dogs. In the winter I tend to forget how important that is.
CODY: What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you first started writing?
DEVOTI: That’s a hard one. Trusting other people’s opinions/advice over my own instincts. Agents, editors, etc., are not all knowing. And in the end your career is no one’s but your own. Sometimes you have to go with your gut.
CODY: Anything you’re glad you DIDN’T know?
DEVOTI: Knowledge is power and ignorance is bliss. I try to walk a line somewhere in between those two.