Thursday, March 14, 2013

L.M. Steel Tells All


Today's featured author is LM Steel; the L stands for Lee. Her book Once Upon A Set Of Wheels is a two-part crime drama. Read about her today, and I'm have an excerpt for you tomorrow. Go ahead and leave a comment if you enjoyed it.

Tell us a little about yourself? Perhaps something not many people know?

On paper I’m a forensic scientist, by trade I’m a factory baker, by day I’m a technologist, by history I’m an ex-farmers daughter, by family venture I’m a kitchen, but by choice hope and ambition I’m a writer. I’m a jack of many trades I guess.

I’m a Yorkshire lass at heart, no matter where I travel. And no matter that I write drama, crime and comedy, I am a huge science fiction geek! (I’m a proud trekkie; I even have my own com badge!)

What made you want to become a writer?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember; I actually had my first poem read out on Children BBC radio when I was seven. From there on I have continued to write poems, short stories, novels, scripts, even had a go at a few songs.

What prompted me to start writing is that ever since I was a child I have had a wild imagination and keen desire to share my own fantasy’s and tales with the world. For what is a story teller, without someone to tell the story to?

Could you tell us a bit about your most recent book and why it is a must-read?

Once Upon A Set Of Wheels, is a two part story as it is a long story.

The first part is Baby Driver; and tells the story of Lotus Ogden who was abandoned as a baby in a stolen Lotus Esprit. She is abused at the hands of her adoptive father and then moved into foster care where she is also abused, neglected and abandoned. She finds allies in car thieves and drug dealers whom she adores and follows, but is also aware that she can manipulate and wrap around her finger.

Very young she takes a life in self-defence, and gets away with it as no-one would ever suspect the shy little girl no-one really care about.

The Second Part: Take it to the Limit; follows Lotus as she grows into a teenager and becomes ever so much more dangerous. No longer acting as a cornered animal fighting back and defending herself, she is calculating and malicious. Having her heart broken three times in her early teens, she decides the life of crime isn’t worth it anymore: She is determined to have a normal life and will rid herself of almost everyone from her past to achieve it.

What gives you inspiration for your book?


I actually recently wrote a blog about this as I was asked what inspired me to write first person as a serial killer. (I think it was just a check to make it wasn’t first hand experience!) Many things inspire me to write, from soaps to Star Trek. Many of the stories I write now are developed from ideas I had as a teenager: I love Star Trek, but in all the episodes and series they never had a teenage female character; they had a lot of teenage boys; Wesley Crusher, Jake Sisko, Nog. No teenage girls. Being a teenage girl when it was on I found this sad as there was no character to relate to, and having a wild imagination, I actually created one in my head that would have fit into the stories. I should point out here that my ultimate dream as a writer would be to write a star trek film, I have six actual story lines for films, four of which I have combined, twisted, messed about and merged and built the framework and leading characters in Once Upon A Set Of Wheels.
Also songs. I listen to the lyrics of songs and try and fathom what story could be behind the words, what could have happened to inspire such words and music, and it develops overtime into a full blown story.
In fact in once Upon A Set of Wheels, all the chapter titles are song titles from the last fifty years, almost as a homage to the inspiration they leant me in developing the story.

The major ones in this story was Simon and Garfunkel’s hits. The first of course is obvious by the first part of the story: Baby Driver. I listened to it over and over and thought about why someone would have parents with so many professions? Of course came along Foster care. After that I just love the nickname: baby Driver and the main line of the chorus that caught my attention was of course Once Upon A Pair Of Wheels.

The Boxer, I love this song, and listening to the words I envisaged at first lotus and then Tempo. A beaten up, desolate waste of a person that had so much potential but found himself on the wrong road in life.

Sound Of Silence. Of course this was an inspiration, it’s the cover song to the video and in the very first chapter, but why was it an inspiration? the lyrics in the first verse! ‘The image that was planted in my brain, still remains.’ It made think and wonder what image could stay with you, could haunt you, could mould you and affect you for your entire life?

Bridge Over Trouble Water. This was the inspiration for the most important character aside from Lotus; Sergeant Graham Davidson. Listen to the lyrics all the way through; it’s a song of protection, guidance, refuge and love—the love of a father for a child. No matter what she would do wrong he will always be there for her.

Are your characters based off real people or did they come entirely from your imagination?

I think their personalities definitely came from real people, but their identities I created myself, trying to see myself in those situations, I came up with characters I had never intended as I realized, in that situation, I would need someone else there.

Lotus’ personality came very much from a girl that used to hang around the shop I worked at when I first started writing it. She was always on her own, waiting for her parents to finish work, sometimes till I finished at nine in the evening. She was only about ten or eleven, and she always came off as so angry, but at the same time very lonely, which was why she hung out with us at the shop all the time.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

It has to be Miss Tetley because she starts off being very misunderstood. She is seen as strict, dominant and almost uncaring; then we realize with Lotus that she is in fact the most important person in her life, and although she’s strict, she’ll fight tooth and nail for her when most give up, which lets face it is how most of us see our mothers as we grow up and then realize everything they actually do for us.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

The long hours, I’ve been up since Six am; it’s now nearly midnight, and I’m still tapping away, whether it’s writing or marketing my books, and I know it’ll be the same tomorrow and the next day, but at first it really took me by surprise just how little sleep I was getting. I’m getting the hang of it now though...I think.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Narnia! I loved all seven books; they set my imagination alight!

My mum used to read them to me and my sister every night at bedtime, and we fell in love with them. From that time on I just loved stories and books, reading them and writing them, I just wanted to let my imagination go crazy and create something as beautiful as Narnia.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?  If so, what do you do during the day? 

I am a technologist for a large corporation working in research and development, which basically at the moment as I understand it means I’m a bit of a lab monkey. But I do love science, and the work is interesting at times, and until I become the next JK Rowling (all positive thoughts and prayers for that please) it pays the bills.

What is your favorite writing tip or quote?

It’s actually an Einstein quote:
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.

Tell us a little about your plans for the future.  Where do you see yourself as a writer in five years?  Do you have any other books in the works?

Well I’d love to be the next JK Rowling, but I’d be happy to be able to work as a writer fulltime, enjoying the work I’m doing and making a comfortable enough living that I can dedicate my time to it completely.

I’m working on 2 projects at the moment:
I’m working on a story which is actually based on a true story. It’s called Wedding in Paradise, and it’s based on a family holiday to Thailand for my sister’s wedding.
This idea is very much based on truth as a result of my family’s trip to Thailand for my sister’s wedding in 2010, which became a cross between the most hilarious holiday and a real holiday from hell. The two weeks we spent there seriously could not be made up; it was just too ridiculous worthy of national lampoons.
It was a hilarious calamity, and I’m using as the base for my first attempt at a comedy story.

I am also picking up a story I started writing a while ago and have finally decided to get back to it:
Birds Of Prey, which is another two-part crime story that is a kind of parallel to Once upon A Set Of Wheels, about a family on the other side of town who are even more dangerous than Lotus. They are the family of Maureen Astin who we know from Once Upon A Set of Wheels as one of the most evil foe Lotus finds herself up against... if we thought she was a nasty piece of work..meet the family!

Where can we find you online? (please cut and paste links):
Twitter: @LMSteel1