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Writer Q & A (Archived) > Q and A with author Lexi Revellian: July 8th-10th

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message 1: by A.F. (last edited Jul 08, 2011 06:59AM) (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
Please welcome author Lexi Revellian. She enjoys reading intelligent, pacey books with humour, and that's what she tries to write, believing it's a crime to bore the reader.
Her day job is designing and making jewellery and silver; she’s made pieces for Lady Thatcher, the Athenaeum and Her Majesty the Queen.
Her books include Replica, a sci-fi novel, and Comforted by Darkness and other stories, a collection of stories. Remix is her third novel; it's the story of Caz Tallis, who is startled one quiet Sunday morning to find a stranger asleep on her roof terrace...

Her Goodreads Profile: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4197282.Lexi_Revellian

Replica by Lexi Revellian Comforted by Darkness and other stories by Lexi Revellian Remix by Lexi Revellian

message 2: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hi everyone! This is the first time I've ever done anything like this, so be gentle with me...


message 3: by Bailey (last edited Jul 08, 2011 07:54AM) (new)

Bailey Bristol (baileybristol) | 10 comments Hi, Lexi, You have an amazing "other" life that I would think requires as much creativity as your writing. Do the creative demands ever fight one another?

message 4: by Lexi (last edited Jul 08, 2011 08:00AM) (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Yes. Whatever I am doing I have the sneaking feeling I should be doing something else. I feel a bit less guilty since the books have started earning me real money.

I love restoring rocking horses, and haven't had time for that for ages - largely because I was writing Remix, in which the heroine, Caz, is a rocking horse restorer. So I guess all my areas of creativity feed into each other...

message 5: by Baxter (new)

Baxter Trautman Hi Lexi - how do you come up with the first ideas for your novels? Is it more of a gut or a mental process for you? Thanks - Baxter

Baxter Clare Trautman, The River Within

message 6: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hi Baxter,

For me it's when two or more interesting ideas come together; after I get the right combination I can't wait to start writing.

For instance, as a single mother with a small business, I've often wished there were two of me, and idly wondered what it would be like to meet myself. Then in January 2010 my bike slipped on an icy speed cushion and I broke my shoulder. Unable to drive or cycle, I walked to my workshop and back through freezing London streets. I had a lot of time to think. I imagined walking those same streets with no identity, no home to go to, no money, and the only people who knew I existed were trying to kill me...

I put those two ideas together and got Replica.

But I should add, there's nothing quite like applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair when you need an idea :o)

message 7: by Fred (new)

Fred Limberg | 12 comments Hi Lexi,

Thanks for posting the link here. I got one for you. what are your ratio of sales twixt the UK and America?

Okay, I got another one, kind of a follow up. what do you do differently promotion-wise for UK and American audiences?

I'll hang up and listen...

Fred Limberg

message 8: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Fred, you have asked me a question I don't know the answer to precisely - but I sell LOTS more books in the UK, and this has got more so in the last month or two. I think it's because I'm not promoting much, and this doesn't matter in the UK because Replica is in the top 100 and Remix just outside, so Amazon is doing my promoting for me. But it probably matters in America.

I approached quite a few American review sites, but there aren't many UK ones. Apart from my blog and the occasional tweet, I do very little. No doubt I should do more...

message 9: by Fred (new)

Fred Limberg | 12 comments The fact that you are a UK based writer has to have more than a bit to do with it, but I would think your stories (I haven't read Remix) would have appeal in the US as well.

Thanks to all my old Autho buddies I've actually sold a couple of books via Amazon UK already, but other than accidental cross postings of blogs and such I won't be doing any active promoting over there. I would think with the huge US market you must have considered it. Your thoughts?

message 10: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments I think it would be worth your popping over to the UK Kindle forums, which are much less scary than the US ones, as long as you don't do cut and paste spam. Just join in with the chat, and put a link to your book under your signature.

What are your thoughts on US promotion?

message 11: by Denna (new)

Denna (dholm) | 10 comments First off I'd like to tell you that I've read both Remix and Replica and enjoyed them very much. I look forward to reading more of your work in the future. My question, as a hopeful future writer-- Do you handle personally most details concerning promoting your novels, and if so, how much of your time needs to be shifted in that direction? What avenues have you tried, successfully, and maybe some that were not? Does it interfere with the creative process?

message 12: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (Cat1) | 3 comments What are your plans for the future? Are you thinking of writing another book anytime in the near future? If so, would it be a sequel, or something new?

message 13: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Denna, thanks for reading my books.

Like most indies, I do everything myself. With promotion (and I'm not an expert) I think you need to promote until you get high enough in the Amazon rankings for Amazon to take over. If you have a good product, they want to sell it. I worked out the other day, Amazon has made £4,000 from Replica since I published it in April.

The problem with promotion is that you seldom know what works. The best thing is to push every button you can, in the belief that some of them will make something happen.

And the best thing you can do to increase sales is write another book. Don't let promotion stop you doing this!

message 14: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hi Cat!

Now that is a dangerous question. One of my favourite quotes is from Lynne Truss; "I only asked her how she was getting on with her book, and look, she bit my arm!"

I am mulling over ideas right now, and never talk about a new book until it is past the 50% mark. Except to my daughter. And it's not a sequel, alas. Sequels sell well, I believe :o)

message 15: by Alan (new)

Alan (plumboz) Just wanted to put in my vote for more books featuring Caz, your protagonist in Remix. Creating engaging characters that people care about it is, I think, about the most important thing a writer can do and Caz seems to fit the bill.

One question: Do you think that the ebook reading population leans towards certain types of books?

Oh, and you're my hero.

Just thought I'd mention that.


message 16: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Pish tush, Alan, you showed me how to edit my writing - "Trust the reader, readers are smart," so I think the boot is upon the other foot re heroes.

Going by the UK Kindle charts, thrillers and romance are hot properties. Especially thrillers. Chicklit seems to do well, too. And humour...

I think it comes down to fairy dust in the end. Whether a book is sprinkled with fairy dust. That's what one needs. Amanda Hocking has sackloads of the stuff.

message 17: by Alan (last edited Jul 08, 2011 01:52PM) (new)

Alan (plumboz) Did I say that? Must have been in a rare, lucid moment. It's kind of scary when that happens.

Congrats on getting to the Success Begets Success stage. I really don't think fairy dust has been that big of a factor for you.

message 18: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 115 comments Hi Lexi, which authors inspire you most?

message 19: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Mary Renault, an author whose books are so enjoyable to read you think they can't be as good as they are. In my opinion, the best books are easy reads. There is no virtue in being difficult.

The writing of every author I love has seeped deep into my soul. Some films have done that, too.

message 20: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 115 comments Oh how I love that phrase 'seeped deep into my soul' and how very true for me too. I can think back to decisions made because of what I have read or seen, decisions which have directed my life. How I've longed to thank the author.

I rarely visit your blog (pressure of work) but after I have, I feel better for having done so. Integrity shines from it. So I thank you for that fine example.

And, I just love your books. Most particularly I have fallen in love with your dragons. Will they become available as ebooks? Films? I'd love to see them on screen.

message 21: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hmm...I really can't decide whether to publish my first two novels. Fantasy for non-fantasy readers? But the dragons are good...

...and I'm open to offers from any movie moguls who happen to be on Goodreads reading this thread. I'd like to make that plain.

message 22: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 115 comments I'd never have read a fantasy book with dragons and so on if I hadn't read an excerpt from Torbrek and become instantly hooked.

Some movie mogul somewhere is missing a trick.

message 23: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Any movie moguls, agents, publishers (and others) be advised I am now in bed, and about to turn out the light and go to sleep, as it is nearly midnight here.


message 24: by Angela (new)

Angela Smith (dandilyonfluff) | 86 comments I love how one of your characters was into rocking horse restoration while you were also. Has your jewelry making and other non-literary creative pursuits shown up in your books, and if so, how?

message 25: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hi Angela,

I can think of an example the other way round! In my very first book, Torbrek...and the Dragon Variation Tor inherits a black dagger with serpents twining round the handle. I later made a serpent goblet based on the same idea, which you can see if you scroll down here: http://www.lexidickjeweller.co.uk/701... I was tempted to make the dagger for the book cover, but resisted.

Jewellers are invariably obsessive about detail, and that attitude's been a help to me with proofreading and formatting. I like to get every small detail right, and will put in however much time it takes.

I've yet to write a jeweller into my books. Maybe it's too close to home...

message 26: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hi Carroll, yes, after I made The Royal Household's jubilee gift to the Queen I was invited to a Royal garden party where I met her. The gardens are gorgeous.

But funnier were all the visits I had to make to Buckingham Palace while the design was in progress. I enjoyed driving my old Micra through the gates with tourists wondering who I was. There was very little time to make the piece, and though I dressed up for my first visit, after that each time I rushed straight from my workshop I was a little scruffier, till one occasion my daughter made me stop the car so she could pick bits off my gilet to make me look more respectable. I got it finished the day before the celebrations, just in time.

message 27: by Amy Eye (new)

Amy Eye | 98 comments Seems like this is a very hopping Q & A session!

Out of all of the books you have written, what character has stuck with you the most?

message 28: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (Cat1) | 3 comments When developing a character, do you model them after someone you know? Are your own attributes sometimes thrown into the mix? How do you know when the character is fully developed?

message 29: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Amy, I really like all my characters, even the horrid ones, with only one or two exceptions.

Jeff Pike from Remix is a favourite of mine. He has a lot of rage after an abusive childhood; he's rude, badly-behaved, but gets away with it because he's a rich and famous rock drummer. He's been hiding his secret love for another character for years.

And Nick Cavanagh in Replica, who is a bastard with redeeming features. He was interesting to write. Readers aren't sure whether to like him or not. One or two have hated him :o)

message 30: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Cathy wrote: "When developing a character, do you model them after someone you know? Are your own attributes sometimes thrown into the mix? How do you know when the character is fully developed?"

I don't base characters on real people, though I do use some of their traits, because you have to know your characters from the inside. Most of my characters reflect aspects of me (some of those aspects very minor and repressed, I should hastily add!)

I write notes about each character, and there's usually a point where I suddenly 'get' them, and know what they are like and how they'd react in any situation. With Nick, it was his driving - tailgating other drivers, being cavalier towards cyclists and pedestrians. With Trav Zander in my second fantasy novel, it was when I knew he was good at his job as a problem-solver, worked hard - but undercharged so he never had much money.

message 31: by Lexi (last edited Jul 10, 2011 03:54AM) (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments The odd thing is, a designer/craftsman works alone, is badly paid, but now and then goes to the most amazing places and mingles with the great and good. On different occasions I've met Diana, Princess of Wales a few weeks before the wedding, Margaret Thatcher (Dennis Thatcher chatted to me and my daughter for ten minutes and was lovely), John Major (charming, as was his wife) and the Blairs.

I've been to 10 Downing Street a few times with the Silver Trust - I waved out of the window to a group of school children, and they all waved back - and I've been to dinner at the Houses of Parliament.

These were all in connection with silver commissions I did. It's fascinating and a real privilege to visit these places most people don't get the chance to go to.

message 32: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hi Ken - I've just had a good night, rather than a good afternoon, so sorry for the delay in responding.

1) My definition of hope: wanting something nice to happen, and thinking that it might. You need a lot of hope as a writer :o)

2) None of my novels have changed drastically from how I originally intended, but I did alter the ending on Replica at the last moment. I realized the ending I'd been heading towards was too predictable. Also, Nick became a main character when he was supposed to be a bit player.

Agatha Christie worked out her books to the last detail before doing the writing, which she said she found quite boring since she knew exactly what would happen and just had to get it down on paper. Doing it my way - a process of discovery and surprises - is much more fun.

message 33: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Clement (jaclement) | 29 comments Lexi, having had a nosey at Torbrek, you should DEF publish that one!

Do you start with a character, a story, a situation, a genre? Or just the general urge to start writing? What is it that triggers the next book?

And just out of interest, when you first uploaded, how long was it before your books started to move off the shelf?

Always a pleasure!

message 34: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments JAC, I need all of those for a new book, plus a theme since I read somewhere I should have one! The main difficulty for me is detaching myself from the characters in the last book; I may have finished writing about them, but they're still kicking around in my head. I don't really get going on the next book until a new character has grabbed me.

That's encouraging, what you say about Torbrek. Maybe I will publish it and Trav Zander one day.

Re when sales started, I sold 9 in August when I published Remix. September was slow too, until I took Eric Christopherson's advice and lowered my price, getting to 81 that month. Then 664 in October. The UK site was titchy until Christmas, and you could be in the top 100 with fewer than 50 sales a day. I was lucky to publish when I did.

message 35: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Clement (jaclement) | 29 comments You should do! I'd buy them, certainly.

Ah well...I'm looking on mine as a pension plan. I figure anything's a bonus - and actually I think this Christmas is going to be interesting. I read somewhere that they expect numbers of e-readers in the UK to quadruple come December...that would be nice!

message 36: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Thanks!

I can believe e-reader ownership in the UK will quadruple - particularly when Pottermore opens, and all JKR's young fans demand them so they can access all the new material she'll be offering.

I know I keep saying this, but these are such interesting times in publishing.

message 37: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hi Ken, I'm having a great weekend in London pootling about doing very little...

I don't know that my characters surprise me, but they do become more themselves as the book goes on, a bit like characters in a sitcom do over time. One of my favourite scenes in Replica is when Beth Two has had a really bad day, losing everything she's painstakingly acquired while on the run. She goes to confront Sir Peter Ellis, and finding he's not at home, smashes up his Jaguar. I was slightly shocked when she did this :o)

I enjoy research, and Google makes it SO easy. I love Google Street View, and got a lot of the locations for Replica that way. I have a friend who is a doctor, and he helps me with anything medical (I could do with a lawyer friend, and a policeman). I don't know how much time I spend on research - as much as it takes, I guess.

message 38: by Cathy (new)

Cathy (Cat1) | 3 comments Lexi,
What did you learn most from doing this interview?

message 39: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments Hmm, good question, Cathy.

I've learned that a Q & A on Goodreads freezes US sales in some spooky way - my UK sales are totting up as normal, but suddenly I'm the invisible author in America :o)

I've learned that I like doing interviews - written ones, at any rate. I prefer writing to speaking.

Some of the questions have made me consider things I haven't before, always interesting. I'm not sure how much insight writers have about their books. Tom Stoppard says it's like a customs officer finding something untoward in your suitcase; "Did you pack this bag yourself, sir?" "Yes - and I still don't know how that got in there."

There is more in a novel than the writer ever remembers putting in.

message 40: by A.F. (last edited Jul 10, 2011 02:54PM) (new)

A.F. (scribe77) | 1777 comments Mod
I'm a little late to the party (it's been a busy weekend) but I have a question. Did you ever have a character you didn't like writing?

message 41: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments No - I stay within my comfort zone.

I'm never going to write that currently popular character, the serial killer who preys on young women. I wouldn't have any sympathy with him, or want to describe what he does.

In my second novel, Trav Zander, there's a young Knight called Farren who is made of solid wood. Nothing I did could make him come to life. In the end, I cut his scenes to the bone. But it's not that I didn't like writing him, just I failed to make him leap off the page. Still not sure why. It's the only time that's happened to me.

message 42: by Lexi (new)

Lexi Revellian (lexirevellian) | 43 comments It's nearly midnight in London, and I'm about to turn off the light and go to sleep.

Thank you to everyone for having me at Q & A on Goodreads - I've very much enjoyed answering your various questions. I'll still be around the place if anyone has missed me :o)

Good night!


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