This week indie author J.P. Lane stops by to discuss her book The Tangled Web.
When top Caribbean reporter Lauren Anderson gets on the trail of a major story involving government ties to drug cartels, she steps into a world where nothing is as it seems. Her aunt, who happens to be a government minister, has some of the answers, but is staying tight lipped. Business magnate Logan Armstrong, a member of the island elite, has some answers, too. But can he be trusted?
When her aunt asks her to deliver a mysterious package while on a trip to London, Lauren finds herself drawn further into the intrigue. As she digs deeper she starts to uncover an international conspiracy involving drug trafficking, hired assassins and deadly political plots. But can Lauren untangle the web before it’s too late? And what is the dark secret she and Armstrong will eventually share?
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been a writer virtually all my adult life, though I never planned on being a writer. A friend who had an ad agency roped me into it. At the time, I was a fashion designer and was thinking of a career change, but not such a drastic change. I’d written a few poems and short stories, but I had absolutely no qualifications for a writing job. But my friend recognized my potential and took a chance on me. As it turned out, the gamble paid off, particularly for me.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I write, but I don’t think of myself as being a writer. I know that’s a bit of an oxymoron, but I don’t really define myself by my career. It’s just one of my facets as a person. Aside from that, I’ve been painting ever since I could hold a paint brush, I dabble in stained glass, and I make costumes for a local theater from time to time. Writing just happens to have been my chosen career path.
What is your writing process? Do you follow a regular routine?
I’m terribly undisciplined when it comes to my fiction writing. I pretty much only write when I’m in the mood, though when I’m in the mood I’ll write for up to 12 hours a day for weeks. Not having a routine is probably some kind of subconscious rebellion against those grueling deadlines when I was in advertising.
How did you come up with the title of this book?
One day while weaving together that complex web of plots, I stopped to clear my head and sighed, “What a tangled web I’ve created.”
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
You wouldn’t think of a Romantic Suspense/Thriller as a likely book to carry a message, but yes, The Tangled Web with its cast of rich and beautiful people does have a message. It’s delivered by various characters. Maria, while walking into a ritzy restaurant flanked by her bodyguards, whispers to Jorge, “I’m a prisoner of my own making.” Logan, a businessman worth multi millions, finally understands the point his grandmother was trying to make when she quoted from Ecclesiastes, “…and behold, all was vanity and striving after the wind and feeding on it, and there was no profit under the sun.” The message is basically wealth doesn’t guarantee happiness.
Are the events in your book or your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, but some of the events in the book are factual and there’s more truth to the story than I realized when I was writing it. For example, there was a real life counterpart to Maria, my drug boss. Though Maria seems tame in comparison to Griselda Blanco, the real Cocaine Godmother and mentor to the famous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
I try not to read my book because there’s never a time I read it that I don’t see something I would change. There’s one chapter I would get rid of and I’d also probably create a dangerous situation for the main characters, Logan and Lauren. Right now, it’s not a true thriller, in the sense that the main characters aren’t in any serious danger. But when I was writing it, I wasn’t working within the perimeters of any particular genre. I was just writing a story as it came to me. The story as it stands is credible. It’s suspenseful, but it’s something that could happen. And it shows a slice of life a lot of people aren’t aware of. People like the characters in The Tangled Web do exist.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
The hardest part was keeping the plots all lined up and making sure I didn’t give anything away too early. I also struggled with the chapter where one of the assassins breaks into an office at night. I can’t tell you how many times I re-worked that chapter.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?
I’ve had writer’s block on very few occasions and that was in the past. And it only happened at the start of a new project. The thing is to start writing. You can always go back and edit. But I’m not sure I understand why anybody writing on their own time would force themselves to write when they’re not in the mood. Writing is a craft, but it’s also an intuitive process. A writer is constantly pulling from their subconscious, and maybe even beyond that. That’s not the kind of thing you can just switch on. It’s either there or it’s not. Yes, a certain amount of discipline is necessary to achieve a goal, but how much of a muse is your goal proving to be when you sit down to write and nothing comes?
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
It’s variable. The only three constants are getting together with friends, reading and gardening. I have a beautiful garden and I enjoy working in it.
Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your book!
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