I’ve had the pleasure to take part in Lora’s release party last month and loved it! Lora is so sweet and her new book, MirrorMasters is available to purchase today! She got back into writing as an adult by starting out doing role play, first based on the TV show Roswell and then on Harry Potter. It was a fun, creative outlet, and her muse kept nudging her to get back to writing original stuff!
Lora Palmer writes science fiction and fantasy for young adults. Bucks County, Pennsylvania is her home, where she resides with her wonderful husband and their mischievous cat. She has earned a graduate degree in Psychology and works at a local residential facility serving autistic children and teens. In her spare time, she also sings in a praise band, Chalice Sounds.
She practices mirror-gazing, driven to understand these images and their possible connection to her forgotten past, and discovers that it’s kind of addictive with its wild, boundless power coursing through her veins. Soon, she learns to control what the mirror shows her.
When new neighbors move in, Leah is shocked that they’re dead ringers for the people in her visions. According to Brian, with the gorgeous ice-blue eyes, and his father, she is a MirrorMaster–an alien with a gift that lets her travel through mirrors, even to worlds light years away. Her birth parents sent them to take her from Earth back to her homeworld of Jantyr, a planet she doesn’t remember. They’ve searched for her ever since she disappeared.
What inspired you to write your first book? It started with this story idea I’d had as a kid and would act out with my friends from the neighborhood. Originally, it was a time travel story about two girls who discovered a mirror in an attic, and it took them into the past. Then, as I set down to re-work what I’d first written, what came out was much different than the original story. Now, the main character, Leah, had the gift of controlling mirrors to view, and even travel to, other places. Then, everything else, like the cataclysms her birth sister triggered on their homeworld, fell into place around that.
How long have you been writing? I was writing little stories—even in crayon—from the time I learned to read, so I’m told :). During college and beyond, I kind of got away from it until maybe about 10 years ago or so. I loved writing role play because it was fun creating stories with a partner, and then I finally decided to get back to writing original stuff of my own, starting with this story idea I’d had as a kid and would act out with my friends from the neighborhood. What came out was much different than the original story, but it’s been about 7 or 8 years now since I started writing MIRRORMASTERS.
How long, on average, does it take you to write a book? MIRRORMASTERS took maybe four years, then lots and lots of editing in the years following, then querying, more editing, and so on, until I found my wonderful publisher! I tend to write and edit in fits and starts, so I’m still working on doing the initial edits for RED SKY. I think it took maybe a couple of years to write, and I’ve been working a little at a time on the edits.
I always love this question. When did you first consider yourself a writer? It probably took me until I ‘d written MIRRORMASTERS and had also written a couple short stories. By then, I knew this was something I loved, something I wanted to be doing long-term.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block? Taking a break to go for a walk, or read/listen to a good book definitely helps to come back fresh to the story. Usually, I write scenes in order, but it can sometimes help to write ahead, or at least brainstorm an upcoming scene I’ve been looking forward to working on.
We want to know what’s going on in your life besides being an author. What are your hobbies aside from writing? I love to read, of course! I also sing in a praise band. It’s fun doing little creative projects, like playing around with graphics or designing jewelry like the necklace I gave away for the MIRRORMASTERS release party.
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t been before? Oh, there are so many places I’d love to see it’d be hard to narrow it down to just one! But, since, I need to pick one, I’ll go with Hawaii!
You were just given an Island (by me). What would you name it? And who would live there with you? Ooh, I love this question! It would be wonderful to live on an island with my family and friends. I’d probably call it Paradise Island, because it does sound like paradise to live with my loved ones in such a gorgeous setting!
Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten. I haven’t eaten anything too weird, but I guess the most exotic thing I’ve eaten would be Calimari.
If you could bring one of your characters to life, who would it be? Wow, I would love to meet Leah and help support her on her journey. Oh, and it would be a blast to hang out together, go for smoothies, and travel with her through mirrors to explore the cosmos! And if she could bring Kara along, too, that would make it even more fun! Leah’s sweet, and Kara is adventurous and sassy, so I love them both :).
Do you have any advice for other writers? Persistence does pay off! Keep writing, keep editing, keep querying, and find a really good critique partner and betas to help you get your manuscript in shape. Oh, and once your manuscript is ready, twitter pitch parties like #PitMad and #Pit2Pub can be a great way to connect with industry professionals who may be interested in your work. Check out AgentQuery Connect and the Query Tracker forum. These are places where you can learn from other writers tons of useful information about the publishing industry, as well as workshop your query to get it into shape. The main Query Tracker site also came in handy for keeping track of queries sent and their responses.
I’d love to read some your book. Can you share a little of your work with us?
Strange things happen in Sea Cliff Heights every single year on this date, June 15th. Mysterious pulses of light flickered in the forest. Not-quite-solid figures appeared in the cemetery one second and disappeared the next. All day, I couldn’t shake the intuition that this year would bring something much worse than the usual weirdness, much worse than the usual gibes about how it began thirteen years ago, the same night my parents found me abandoned on the beach.
“Let’s watch something light — not a horror movie,” I said.
“Leah, Leah, Leah.” My brother David shook his head and scooted closer to Kara, my best friend, on their loveseat. They shared a conspiratorial grin. “Don’t tell me you want to watch some lame comedy when we can have a slasher fest. It’s tradition.”
A shiver raced down my spine at the mental image the idea conjured, one of chilling music, strangled sobs and hitching breaths, followed by silenced screams. Tonight also marked the town tragedy of the 1870s, when strangers murdered the Stanford twins, the mayor’s daughters. Of course David would insist we do something scary to commemorate the anniversary.
“Come on!” I shot him a pleading look. “I’m sure you breezed through exams, but I took three AP finals this week and fielded a million alien jokes today. Enough already — I deserve a break from crazy.”
“Just go out to the cemetery with us,” Kara said, her eyes sparkling. “We won’t do anything risky, I promise.”
Sure. Why wait for trouble to find us when we could seek it out and bring it right here?
Glancing out the sliding glass doors toward the church beyond, I couldn’t help checking for signs of unusual activity. My hands fidgeted, and I fought to still them. I thought I could just make out the sound of otherworldly voices speaking in urgent whispers outside. A gust of wind rustled the palm trees, obscuring any other noise and causing moonlight and shadows to flit across the lawn. Every muscle in my body tensed. Whatever might lurk out there, we’d be safer staying away from it.
Wow, that was something. Thanks for sharing it with us!
If you want to purchase a copy of MirrorMasters you can do them here:
Please take a look at Lora’s social media and follow her to keep up to date with more books!
If you have any questions for me or for Lora, please ask away! If you want me to interview another author or artist, comment and let me know. I hope you enjoyed this interview, thanks for reading. Next week I will be talking with Kade Cook, author with Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing, Inc.