Guest Interview: Lucy March

15 Apr

Lucy March

Lucy March is the split personality of NYT and USA Today bestselling author Lani Diane Rich. As Lani, she blogs and teaches online writing classes at, and co-hosts the popular writing instruction podcast, Storywonk Daily, with her husband, Alastair Stephens.

As Lucy, she writes amazing magical romances for St. Martin’s Press, and co-hosts Popcorn Dialogues, a podcast in which she analyzes romantic comedy movies and tries to extract lessons about writing, with NYT Bestselling author Jennifer Crusie. She is also blogging at every day until she turns 40 on June 7th, 2011. She’ll still blog after that, but probably not every day. The Betties, however, will go on…

Both personalities write fabulous books, and live in Ohio with two kids, two cats, five dogs, countless mice (although the cats are seeing to that population) and one best friend.

Feel free to e-mail Lucy, but if Lani writes back, try not to freak out. It’s all perfectly under control…

Hi Lucy. Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview.

Can you give us some insight to your writing process?

It definitely varies as I go, but in general, I start with an idea, then spend anywhere from six weeks to three months doing intensive discovery work – building the soundtrack, creating the collage, immersing myself in story via reading and watching movies and television, writing snippets to get a sense of tone and voice – and then anywhere from six to nine months writing the damn thing. Then there’s at least six weeks of pretending it doesn’t exist and trying to forget it so I can go in and do a decent edit. I’ve “pantsed” a lot of books – just started on page one and seen where it took me – but lately, I’ve been mapping out the major scenes of the book to be sure I have a decent structure holding up the story, and then I pants between them. So I’m a half-pantser, half-plotter, I guess. 

How can a new writer “find” their voice when they aren’t sure what voice means? 😉

Write stuff you don’t intend for anyone to ever read. Go to the blank page with the intention to write crap, and have fun. Your voice comes out when you’re enjoying yourself, and when we think about how our work looks to other people, we cover up, pretend to be other writers. We write in the voice and tone of people we admire, instead of being true to ourselves. So the best thing you can do is write like no one will ever read it, and see what shows up on the page. That’s you.

When you read books, is there any one weakness you find the most often?

Many authors don’t know when to start the story. They start telling all the backstory and infodumping loads of stuff in the early chapters that doesn’t move the story. When they finally get to the story, usually around Chapter 3, they’ve lost me. I think all that stuff is important for the author to write, it informs their knowledge and understanding of the characters and the story, but I consider most of it to be the bottom 90% of the iceberg – it holds up the tip that floats above the water, but the reader only needs to see the tip. The entire iceberg is too overwhelming.

All those deadlines must bring a lot of stress. What do you like to do when you take a break from writing?

I’m not sure a writer ever takes a break. Even when I’m doing things that are specifically not writing, the book is always churning in the back of my head. I find that the only thing that really refreshes me mentally is getting out of my head and into my body – good, solid, regular exercise. I do far too little of it, though, but when I do, everything works better.

Your Lucy March book , A Little Night Magic, is due out soon. Can you give us a hint of what it’s about ?

You bet! A LITTLE NIGHT MAGIC is the story of a small town waffle waitress named Olivia Kiskey who discovers she has magical powers, right as dark magic is threatening to take over her town, and now she has to save her world. It’s funny and sexy and romantic, and though it was really hard to write – I wrote it while going through a huge life change of my own – looking back, it’s one of the books I’m most proud of. It’s really a lot of fun. 

When can we expect another Lani Diane Rich book?

Right now, Lani Diane Rich is taking a break from fiction. She might come back someday, but I think I’m going to be Lucy March for a while. She’s a better dancer, anyway. 🙂


Posted by on April 15, 2011 in Guest Blog, writing



15 responses to “Guest Interview: Lucy March

  1. lizfredericks

    April 15, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Lucy – Thank you for joining us today and for validating the half-n-half approach to plotting.

    • Lucy March

      April 15, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      Thanks, Liz! And don’t you worry – however you plot or don’t plot is fine, as long as it’s working for you!

  2. Clarissa Southwick

    April 15, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    Welcome, Lucy– I loved hearing how you work. Your advice on having both structure and spontaneity was pure genius. Thanks for a great interview. 🙂

    • Lucy March

      April 15, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Thanks so much, Clarissa! It is definitely important to find the balance that’s right for you. What people often forget is that if it works, it’s okay. You can be as structured or spontaneous as you need to be. For some reason, we think that if we don’t make it even harder on ourselves, we’re not working. Not true! 🙂

  3. Janis

    April 15, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Lucy — It’s all about the magic. Thanks!

    • Lucy March

      April 15, 2011 at 11:59 AM

      Thank you, Janis! It’s great to be here!

  4. Anne Hamilton

    April 15, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    How fun to see an interview with an author whose blog I started reading a couple of month’s ago (love the Fortune Quilt!) on a site a friend of mine blogs for.

    • Lucy March

      April 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      Thanks, Anne! Glad you’re following the blog. The Betties are awesome, aren’t they?

  5. Clarissa Southwick

    April 15, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Lucy– A thousand apologies for the glitch in the comments earlier today. For some reason they were all caught up in the spam filter. I will keep a better eye on it now that I know it’s a problem. We really appreciate your doing this interview for us today.

    • Lucy March

      April 15, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      No worries, Clarissa! I run a blog – I understand how these things happen. 🙂

  6. Carley Ash

    April 15, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Great blog Lucy. Thanks for sharing your writing strategy with us.

    • Lucy March

      April 15, 2011 at 7:57 PM

      Thanks, Carley! It was fun to be here!

  7. Clever Betty

    April 16, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    Lucy – I enjoyed that interview. I didn’t think you were rambly. When to start the story is tricky for me, that’s for sure.
    Can’t wait for Little Night Magic!

  8. Johanna Harness

    April 16, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    Thanks so much for doing this interview. I followed your link and spent time wandering around your website. It’s so well-done! I’ll definitely be back. 🙂

  9. maryvine

    April 16, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    Thanks, Lucy! I like the part about how to find your voice-a lot.


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