Author Spotlight

LJ  Hachmeister


Interview Questions:


1: Hi, and thanks for joining today. In your own words tell us about yourself, not you the author, but just you!

A: Hi, thanks for having me. Well, most of the time I’m just an aging thirty-something-year-old athlete who wishes back the healthy ligaments and vertebral discs of yore. I love soccer, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Eskrima, and climbing mountains, and the makers of Ibuprofen. I also play drums and a few other instruments, and have enjoyed the band scene…though at this juncture, I enjoy a good book and being in bed by 9pm even more.


2: Why did you decide to become an author and what’s the best part? Yeah, it’s a double-whammy of a question. So unexpected!

A: Honestly, I’ve been writing stories for as far back as I can remember. As a little kid, I used to love getting up on Saturday mornings and sneaking down to the basement to use my dad’s old typewriter. I always dreamed of writing a book, but it wasn’t until I graduated college that I finally sat down and wrote Triorion: Awakening, the first novel in a series of seven.

Oh man—the best part? Meeting fans. I don’t know if I could endure the zillion hours of editing and re-editing a manuscript, publishing rejections, bad reviews, and all the other negative stuff we authors face if it wasn’t for the fans.


3: So, tell us about your work. Sell us on it! Why should we read it and why it will capture us?

A: Honestly, I’m conflicted about my work. I’ve revealed unconscionable truths, unearthed all the ugliness and beauty I’ve experienced, unleashed my personal hell on paper. It’s terribly raw and revealing; I feel like I’m exposing all my wounds and scars. But another part of me, the one rooted in my career as a nurse, knows that sharing experiences, forging bridges, can heal the deepest of wounds and help others in their journey. And if I make a positive difference in just one person’s life with my novels, that makes it all worth it.

If you want a more traditional pitch: The series follows triplet siblings who unknowingly possess the power of an ancient evil and are coerced into military service. The siblings must decide how to use their gifts in a time of war, even if it means tearing apart entire worlds—or each other—to save the galaxy.

I tell readers if they like character-driven, gritty stories featuring strong female characters and lots of action, this is the series for them. My favorite moment is always when a hesitant reader tells me, “I don’t like science fiction/fantasy,” and then they contact me afterward to tell me that they couldn’t put the books down.

I’m also excited about the first book in my new YA series called, Shadowless – Volume One: Outlier. I was inspired by The Legend of Korra, The Hunger Games, and some of my intense jiu-jitsu training partners to create this world.

The series follows Sen, a teenage girl who fears she is one of the unfortunate few “Outliers” born without any powers. To avoid shaming her family, she runs away. But when war breaks out within her homeland, and death and decay spread throughout the world, will Sen discover her true power in time to save her family?

I love this new series. It explores what it’s like to feel powerless, undeserving, and the illusion of separation that keeps us from realizing our greatness and worth in the world.

4: Why did you choose the genre you write in over others to start your publishing career? Did others appeal to you more and you chose this? Was there a bit of choice weighing or was it rather simple?

A: I love the freedom that comes with science fiction/fantasy. Anything is possible—time-traveling werewolves, talking dinosaurs, prankster aliens—as long as you can write a convincing story. That’s all it took for me to fall in love with the genre.

5: So far, what would you say has been the hardest part of being an author?

A: The glacial waiting periods. Seriously. It’s no wonder that most authors have several novels and dozens of short stories under their belt before they’re noticed. Hearing back from editors, agents, and waiting for fans to read your work and post a review takes time, and for a relatively impatient person like me, it’s agonizing.

6: Now for the ever-so-shocking follow-up question. What’s the best/easiest part, if there is one?

A: Meeting other authors such as yourself ranks up there as the “best part.” And fans. Nothing compares to when a fan runs up to you at a convention and does the high-pitched “squee” before telling you how much they liked your book.

7: Tell us about what your experiences in the author life have been like. I don’t mean the writing aspects. I mean the daily human life. Tell us what it’s like to live the day life you do and be an author at the same time. What’s it like when people in your life and, the people you come across, find out you’re an author?

A: Hmmm. I’m a nurse by day, and even if I won the lottery, I’d want to stay active in that capacity. I do everything I can to create the best possible experience for my patients, and I am so thankful that I can express kindness and compassion in my work, and help people when they’re sick or injured.

My patients are always fascinated that I’m an author as well, and most of my co-workers want me to write them into a novel. So I did. My latest book is a romance novel set in the same universe as Triorion, and features nurses and doctors on a medical mission in deep space. My “work wife” is essentially the main character’s best friend, and the other nurses and doctors are based off many of the saucy and spicy people I work with.

I love this new novel. The main character, Niks, an uptight, conservative nurse, accidentally winds up telepathically linked to her patient, a wild and sexually liberated simulation/stimulation virtual reality operator. Think “50 Shades of Grey” meets “Sense8.” It’s fun, fast-paced, and there’s a lot of sex in it. I’ve never had so much fun writing it – and my wife certainly enjoyed all the “research” that went along with it. Right now I’ve tentatively entitled it, “The Laws of Attraction.”

On a more serious note, about 75% of the way through the novel, I realized I didn’t know how I’d finish it. I had the ending mapped out, but I didn’t believe that the transformation my characters would have to undergo was possible, or that the kind of love they experienced really existed. Then, something crazy happened – I wound up having an unexpected surgery, and my co-workers – doctors (shout out to Pedro!), nurses, and techs – all rallied around me. Childhood friends, family, and other folks made sure I was okay. I was completely overwhelmed by their love, care, and concern, and it was that experience that allowed me the vision to finish my story.

*Reaches for glass of wine after all that cheese*


8: Writing is a hard craft and a harder career. What are the things that keep you going, both in improving the craft, and enduring the downs/lows of the career?

A: Insanity, mostly. And I’m not entirely joking about that. It’s been the best outlet for my thoughts and feelings, especially the unwanted junk, and all the problems I’ve had to work out since I was a kid. I never expected to get any answers back, but my characters constantly surprise me, whispering – or shouting – the answers I subconsciously seek back at me in their most authentic, and raw, moments. So there.

Also, having awesome author friends (like you!) who support you and cheer you on when things get rough is essential.

9: What do you love about the genre you write and what others appeal to you?

A: I love the limitlessness of speculative fiction, and since it is highly unlikely that in my lifetime I’ll be able to walk on another planet, or even the moon, I love imagining those things and making them real on paper.

However, I gravitate toward non-fiction when I read, especially if it’s about someone else’s life. I’ve found that even if they’re from a different culture, time, a different gender, sexuality, religion – you name it – there are still experiences that bind us all, and I cherish those connections.

10: What can we expect from you next? Tell us about the plans for your series and body of work.

A: Well, I just finished The Laws of Attraction, the romance novel I mentioned earlier. It’s a prequel to Triorion: Awakening, but also a standalone. Shadowless is another prequel novel in a four-book series. Both Laws and Shadowless feature characters that will appear later in the Triorion series, around book six. I have Triorion planned for seven books, five of which are completed, four of which are available. Don’t worry – the first four books give you a satisfactory ending that will tide you over until the rest of the books are completed. But for now, expect more short stories as I wait to hear back from my beta readers, agent, and editors!


11: The writing and publishing world has changed a lot. Self-publishing, small to medium presses popping up, and things like becoming a hybrid between indie pubbing and traditional. What are your thoughts on that? Any predictions on what the future might hold? What would you like to see, both as an author yourself, and, as a consumer/reader?

A: *momentarily collapses onto keyboard* I don’t know. For me, especially with all the heartache and troubles I’ve had to face this year both personally and professionally, I’m taking things day-by-day. I’ve done well self-publishing, but it’s been one of the hardest fought battles I’ve put up to date – and I’ve competed in a stick-fighting world championship with two herniated cervical discs and a torn ACL.

I’d like to be a hybrid author, both traditionally and self-published, and I’m working hard toward that goal. I’d like to see folks seeking to self-publish to really take the time to understand what they’re getting into before putting their book out there because it effects all of us. Every time someone publishes something that hasn’t been edited, is of poor quality, it detracts from the indie author community. That may seem harsh, but it’s an unfortunate reality.

12: The always done and asked question. Who are your favorite authors? What are you favorite books? What are you reading now? Tell us. Tell us!

A: Right now I’m reading Richard Wright’s novel, “Black Boy.” Mr. Wright is blowing my mind. I’m going over and over some pages just because his words are so captivating, both raw and eloquent, and I am deeply entrenched in the main character’s plight.

Honestly, there are so many good authors out there, but the ones that are my favorite are the ones like Wright, who give you a true glimpse into their world, their heart, and instill in you a sense of connection and shared experience in an otherwise lonely existence.

13: I’ve got to know…what’s your favorite word to use. Every author has one. What’s the word you catch yourself using a lot? We’ve all got those as well. What’s your favorite word just to say? Something where you like the way it sounds. What’s your favorite curse worse, if you’ve got one and or use them?

A: My favorite word? That’s tough. There are so many great ones—basorexia, bletcherous, sehnsucht… Oh man. How about this: I did enjoy creating new swear words, and sometimes, on my worst days, I’ll shake my fist to the sky and say, “chak it all!” And then chuckle.

14: Lastly, where can we find you? Facebook? Twitter? Website? Links to your material. Go on, don’t be shy. Share!

A: Website: www.triorion.com

Twitter: twitter.com/LJ_Hachmeister

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Triorion/

Thank you, it was a pleasure.

LJ



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 Bio:

Author L.J. Hachmeister writes and fights—though she tries to avoid doing them at the same time. After winning the WEKAF world championship in double-stick fighting and achieving a second black belt in Doce Pares Eskrima, L.J. decided to take a new approach to world domination and focus on her literary career. Best known for her Triorion series, L.J. enjoys writing in multiple genres, especially speculative fiction.

When not battling the dark forces, or her never-ending craving for sweets, L.J. enjoys teaching the next generation of Filipino stick-fighters and mentoring young authors.


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