Indie Support Sunday: Lauren H. Mae
A new week means a new author interview! And this time, I spoke with one of my favourite indie authors—Lauren H. Mae.
In the middle of the pandemic, I stumbled across Lauren’s debut The Catch while scrolling through Kindle Unlimited. And thus began my love affair with her writing, the characters that she created and the series that is one of my absolute favourites of all time. And then later that year, she released The Rules and introduced me to my ultimate book girlfriend, Dani Petrillo. And in 2021, Lauren co-wrote the third book—The Exception—with Rosalie Rooks and the book was just as awesome and sexy as the others.
An avid Walking Dead fan, Lauren’s books are filled with great friendships, humour and sexy times. Like most of us, she also wrote fanfic first and then ventured into publishing her own books. And, there’s so much more coming from Lauren that’s got me all really excited to see what 2022 has in store for us!
Without further ado, here’s everything you need to know about Lauren H. Mae’s journey as an indie author.
What inspired you to write—was it another author or books you read as you grew up?
I started writing Walking Dead fanfiction and it changed my life. I wrote in college and had given it up, but that fandom really rejuvenated my love for it. Once I found out that both Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne, two of my all-time faves, used to write fan fic before romance, I decided that was my path too.
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in?
I love love. I love romantic comedy movies and, of course, most fanfiction is already romance, or at least about an OTP, so it was a natural progression.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I’m actually doing both! My first series was sort of low-stakes and the hook wasn’t really high-concept enough for trad. I recently wrote a much bigger plot type book and queried agents. I signed with an agent in June and have a book out on submission now!
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
The best part is having creative control. It can be hard to go from that to having other people in charge of things like title and cover etc. The worst part is it’s SO MUCH WORK! You’re the writer, marketer, PR person, etc. etc. etc. It’s never ending, but we don’t get into this business to have it easy. Anyone who goes indie is a hustler.
Do you write full time or is this something you do on the side? And would you want to write full time?
I write full time. Not because I make enough money at it, but because I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom when I started.
Other than writing, what is something you enjoy and are really good at?
I’m in the church choir and I also really love volunteering.
If not romance/or subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
I would love to write a horror or thriller someday!
What are some of your all time favourite books—ones that you recommend to people or can reread multiple times?
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, Roomies by Christina Lauren, The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, and Luck of The Draw by Kate Clayborn. Those are my top faves right now and ones I always recommend.
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
Learn your craft. You can always get better and you owe it to yourself to continue to learn
Don’t write to the market, but be aware of the market—what works, what doesn’t. There is romance for everyone, so find your place, but also figure out where you fit into the greater world of romancelandia and own it.
Prepare to hustle for yourself. If you’re squeamish about approaching people or selling your brand, you have to get over it before you put that book into the world
Diversify! If you’re going indie, put eggs in lots of baskets, full length books, novellas, Vella. Anywhere you can get your words out there, do it!
Find a supportive yet honest critique partner or group. You don’t want someone who can’t be constructive, but you also don’t want someone who is just going to fluff you up. Take that critique and use it to be better than the last time.
Can you briefly tell me about the books you’ve published so far?
I have a rom-com series, three books, called The Summer Nights Series. It focuses on a group of friends who each find their HEAs.
Of your books, who is your favourite character?
One hundred percent Nick Callaway. You haven’t met him yet, but you will.
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
The first book in the series that I have pubbed starts with a girls’ trip to VA Beach. I took a similar trip a long time ago and since then I’ve thought about all of the ways those nights could have played out. It was the jumping off point for a whole world!
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
Some characters are very much me and some aren’t me at all. It depends. Sometimes I put myself into the side characters to knock some sense into the MCs because I love them.
When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?
Love, but also how hard love is. I want them to feel all of the human emotions that form the characters into who they are when they get their HEA. That’s why a lot of my characters have tough backstories. I want people to feel the struggle so the victory will be that much sweeter.
What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?
This is a fluffy answer but I really want to tell a Christmas story.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
I can’t tell you much about the book I have on submission, other than it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever written. The project I’m working on now is similarly secret, but I can say it’s different from anything I’ve done so far. Oh, and you’ll get that Christmas story I mentioned earlier—hopefully this year!
What are your most and least favourite tropes?
Love triangle. Can’t do it. I also can’t do bully romance.
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
I would love to do a second chance romance. I’m fleshing one out in my head now but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?
I’d like to see more global issues in romance. Like Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston.
What is your favourite thing about the romance genre?
The book boyfriends!
THIS OR THAT
Ebooks or audiobooks
Historical romance or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones or series
Music or silence while writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Tea or coffee Red Bull
Cold or warm weather
Morning person or night owl
Illustrated cover or photo cover
All of Lauren’s books are currently available in Kindle Unlimited, but you can also follow her on Instagram to stay updated on what’s coming next!