May 24th, 2019
I asked Lucie where she would like to interview:
The crisp air has a bite to it. It’s one of those days you could be buried in a fuzzy sweater and skinny jeans, burrowing your legs underneath you. Golden-yellow, deep scarlet, and orange leaves tumble from trees in a graceless dance. Warm coffee touches your lips, and you sigh. It is amazing to have a cup of coffee in this city that is neither too hot nor too cold, but this particular cup is perfect. It has a blend of flavors, whipped cream, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, they swirl up a frenzy of memories.
Laura Mae: What inspired you to enter the world of writing?
Lucie Guerre: Honestly, I have been crafting stories for longer than I have been able to write. I created all kinds of stories in my head before I ever put a pen to paper. But as weird as it sounds, it was the letter g (or was it the letter j?) that got me hooked on writing. When I was learning how to print, I struggled to tell the difference between the letters g and j, and as a result, I had a homework assignment of practicing words that began with the letter g. Once I got the hang of the letters, I wrote a short story called “Gum Drops, Gum Drops Make Me Hungry”. I illustrated it and became fascinated with the world of words. I had always enjoyed reading, but writing? Oh my. That just opened up a brand new world of creation for me.
Laura: What are you currently working on?
Lucie: I am in the middle of revisions for my novel. I am working very closely with my editor to create a magical realism novel like no other. This is the story of a nineteen-year-old girl, Aisling McHale, who discovers she is trapped between the transitory world of dreams and reality. When she discovers objects from her dreams in her waking life, she is startled to discover the thin line between these worlds is dissolving, and it is up to her to save her family and friends from an evil force that threatens to destroy their lives. I also have a couple of side projects: two short story collections and a poetry book.
Laura: What’s a word or phrase that people say that always irritates you?
Lucie: I’m probably showing my age here (only thirty-one, but I feel much older), but I can’t stand the word “yeet” or the phrase “on fleek”…I’m not even sure if people say either of these anymore. For a while there, one of my friends used the word “huzzah” a lot, and I couldn’t bear to tell her how much I hate that word.
Laura: Are there any books or authors who inspire your work?
Lucie: I am very outspoken about the authors who influence me in all my interviews, but here goes me rattling off my list again. I love Neil Gaiman for his imagination and world-building skills. Janet Fitch, the author of White Oleander, inspires me because of the lyrical language she uses and how she crafts believable characters. Erin Morgenstern who wrote The Night Circus somehow couples lush descriptions and fiction that feels rich and vivid. Simon van Booy who crafted one of my favorite novels Everything Beautiful Began After uses simple language that reads like a poem. Finally, I read everything I can get my hands on by Jeanette Winterson. I never regret reading her work, and it has inspired a lot of my writing since I was a teenager.
Laura: Are there any regrets you have or anything you wish you knew sooner?
Lucie: I wish I had known to start sooner. I never had much confidence in my work, and I was often very ashamed to share my writing with anyone, but I wish I could go back in time and have had more faith in my own writing. If I had that confidence, I think I would have done more to improve my craft earlier and to really focus in on my strengths and improve my weaknesses. One regret I have was not researching my publishing options earlier and not learning marketing. Marketing is so important for the self-published author but also for the traditionally published author, and it’s harder than it looks!
Laura: Any songs or type of music you need to listen to when you write?
Lucie: I use Amazon Music as my source for playlists and stations, and I love to listen to the Of Monsters and Men station when I write. Of Monsters and Men has become so familiar to me that it can play in the background without me even noticing the music, but everything on that station is great background music when writing: The Civil Wars, Daughter, The Heart and the Head, Mumford and Son, and Death Cab for Cutie to name a few. I like folksy, indie music. I also like movie soundtracks especially when Trent Reznor is helping out on them–the Gone Girl soundtrack is especially inspiring when writing tense scenes. Hans Zimmer also does great soundtracks to write to as well.
Laura: Where would you say you get most of your inspiration?
Lucie: Wow. I really have to think about this. For most of my novels, I like to use dreams as inspiration. They are a great launching point, but I take them in different directions than my subconscious…and of course add about 70,000 to 80,000 words to them, give or take. 😉 For short stories, it depends on the short story, sometimes, I use prompts as an idea builder, but other times, it might just be from an imaginative take on something I saw out my window or a thought I had. My poetry is almost always autobiographical.
Laura: What genre do you read?
Lucie: I pretty much read everything I can get my hands on. Growing up, my parents teased me I would read the back of the cereal box if there was nothing else in front of me to read.
Laura: What are you currently reading?
Lucie: I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan as I mentioned before, and right now, I am rereading Neverwhere. It’s one of my absolute favorite novels. It’s like a topsy-turvy Alice in Wonderland story but wholly unique and fresh. I love the little details Gaiman sprinkles in.
Laura: What does a typical day of writing look like for you? Any rituals or “must-haves”
Lucie: I do not have many days to write these days. I am currently in school and doing an internship for my degree in Social Work, but when I do have time, I like to get up early. I have a favorite spot on the couch, but before I settle in, I fix myself a cup of coffee. Usually, it is scalding hot, and I forget about it in my haste to work on my story, but when I do remember it, I microwave it. I like to have music going as I write, whether it’s movie soundtracks or like I said in a previous answer, my Amazon Music station. I also have a writing playlist that I like to listen to sometimes. Usually, when I have a day to myself, I spend most of it writing and researching.
Laura: What would you say is your favorite book or series of all time? Why?
Lucie: I would have to say when I hear this question, I think of the books that inspired me, but I think my favorite book of all time is The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was one of the first books that made me appreciate ambiguous endings, but it also inspired me to think outside of the box. It really challenged my perceptions when I first read it and made me wonder about conformity and other “big” issues that I had never considered before reading it. I admired Jonas’ strength, but I felt the pain he did as the truth slowly unraveled in front of him. It inspired me to write stories that challenge people and their perceptions.
Laura: What has been the most challenging for you so far?
Lucie: I have to admit, I really struggle with marketing. I write really slowly, and I feel like it’s sometimes hard to build momentum when you are still crafting your stories. I try to engage people on my author channels (Facebook, my website, Instagram, and Twitter), but sometimes, it feels like there’s little engagement.
Laura: In a brief statement, have you self-published or traditionally published?
Lucie: I have mostly self-published. I enjoy certain aspects of self-publishing: the control of my creative content and even creating eBook covers myself, but it is hard to manage all aspects of my writing. Like I mentioned before, marketing is challenging for me, but it is also hard to manage my time well and budget how to afford an editor and how to find a good editor that “fits” me.
Laura: Besides writing, what is it you like to do?
Lucie: I’m a big movie watcher. I feel like watching movies can help inform my novels, but I also love the pure escapism of movies. It is like entering a dream state and just watching these scenes play out in front of you. I also like cooking with my husband. My husband is quite the chef, and I am the one who gives him ideas of what to make, then we end up making these delicious meals together. We binge-watched The Great British Baking Show last year and now have begun baking together. We also like going on hikes with our beagle, Callie. I love creating art, whether it is mixed-media projects or pen-and-ink drawings.
Laura: For aspiring writers out there, what would be the best advice you want them to know?
Lucie: Never give up. It’s daunting at times, but be proud that you have an entire story in your head. Take it in chunks, but do not grow discouraged in the process. It’s not an easy hobby, but it’s so rewarding when you craft your world. Also: read everything you can get your hands on. I cannot stress how important it is to read both awful writing and good writing. All of it informs you in how to write well.
Lucie Guerre is a pseudonym. Lucie is derived from a Latin word meaning “light”, and St. Lucy lost her eyes either through her own volition, through torture, or due to an admirer’s liking of her eyes. I personally love the idea of my writing providing vision to the blind. Guerre stems from the phrase “nom de guerre”, which essentially means a name of war. Generally, it comes from names chosen in times of combat. Idiomatically, it is another word for a pseudonym. My pseudonym is used mostly with pieces I’m too ashamed to write under (or too afraid to write under) my real name, but I feel like I am stepping into war with a pen as my weapon when I write.
Land of Memories Forgotten – In the American Southwest is an antique and souvenir shop owned by the elderly Muriel Adams. When a stranger breaks into her store, Muriel is confronted with a decision from her youth. As she struggles with the important choice of her past, it is her present-day and future that hang in the balance. Lucie Guerre’s debut short story will leave you wanting more.
Buy it here!
Shattered Memories: The Traveler’s Series – Vanessa and her father live in the heart of the desert, the perfect place to sell repurposed goods and forget about her mother. As Vanessa digs through other people’s memories, she never imagines her own would come back to haunt her.
Buy it here!
Buy it here!