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  • Anna P.

Indie Support Sunday: Thea Lawrence

When I put out a call on Threads a few months ago about asking indie authors if they’d like to be a part of this interview series, I got so many great responses. One of those people happened to be Thea Lawrence. She sold me on a rockstar duet and as a sucker for rockstar romances, I was there instantly. I read and fell in love with Thea’s storytelling through Babydoll and I’m so excited to read Dollhouse when it comes out in two days!


I learned so much about Thea through this interview too, like the fact that she used to write Lord of the Rings fanfiction. That she also used to do burlesque and was a professional actor at one point. I’m even intrigued by their dystopian vampire book Heathens and desperately want to know more about their forbidden romance that’s coming soon.


In the meantime, please pick up Babydoll and Heathens, both are available in Kindle Unlimited, and preorder Dollhouse, which releases February 20th!


BEING AN AUTHOR

Who or what inspired you to write?

I’ve loved telling stories ever since I was a little kid. My mom was big on journaling and always told me to write my feelings out. I’ve always been a better writer than I am a speaker.


I didn’t start writing anything full-length until I was in high school. I would sit in the back of the class and hand write Lord of the Rings fanfiction. It was terrible, but it taught me a lot about building characters, how to tell a story, etc. I’ve always written pretty voraciously, and I’ve always been drawn to creativity. I write, I used to do burlesque, I was a professional actor at one point. There’s just this drive in me to be creative, no matter what I’m doing.


During the pandemic, I was in grad school and I needed an outlet because my mental health was in the gutter. I went back to fanfiction, wrote something in about an hour, and tossed it up online without a second thought. It got about 5,000 reads in 18 hours and people wanted more, so I wrote more. Soon, this amazingly supportive and wonderful community rallied around me and gave me the courage I needed to pursue self publishing.


What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author? 

The best part is finding new readers and connecting with them. It makes me bawl whenever someone tags me in a picture of my book, or messages me to scream about my characters with me. This community is really incredible and so supportive.


The worst part is marketing. I’m not super great at “putting myself out there” but I’m trying. Marketing just feels tedious, but it’s 100% necessary to building an author brand and getting new readers, so I keep doing it! I like making reels and graphics, so I focus on the part of marketing that I do enjoy to help get me through it.


Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?

I have a bachelor’s, master’s, and half a PhD (I burned out and I’m on leave) in Criminology, but I minored in creative writing for a while and know how hard the traditional route is because we were taught the different publishing avenues. I love self-publishing because I’ve always been a “fine, I’ll do it myself” kind of person. I like having the kind of control that I have over every aspect of my books.


When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?

I love to go for walks, I love super long bus rides where I just listen to music and stare out the window. I also clean my house which has weirdly given me inspiration for a couple of books, I read, and I watch a LOT of movies.


If I’m really stuck on a book, I’ll take a shower. For some reason, shower ideas are the best ideas.


If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. The writing is crisp and clean, descriptive without being overbearing, and the book is incredibly well-crafted. It’s such an incredible character study, too, especially the parts from Karras’s POV. I have so many different versions of this book. I love it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it. It’s one of those books that I reach for when I don’t know what to read and I get something new out of it every read. I don’t write a lot of horror, but I love to read it.


Just Kids by Patti Smith. Probably one of the most beautiful and touching memoirs I’ve ever read, and one of the most incredible love stories. This book inspired certain elements of my debut novel. Patti Smith is such a gifted writer.


What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?

  1. Just go for it. You’re not too old, you’re not too young. You’re not too inexperienced. You have a story to tell and people want to read it. I used to be really afraid to be ambitious and just go for things, until I had a professor tell me, “You can start your life over any time you want.” I’ve never forgotten those words and they carry me through every major change that I make.

  2. Your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be finished.

  3. Trying to be like other people or catch up to them is a waste of time because the only person you can be is you. Believe in yourself, believe in your work, believe in your voice, and the rest will come.

  4. Reach out to other authors! My DMs are always open to help people out the best I can, and if I don’t know the answer, I can help you find someone who might know.

  5. Your story deserves to be told the way that YOU tell it.


ROMANCE AS A GENRE

Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?

Mostly because it gets a lot of flack and it’s not taken seriously. I’ve found some of the most beautiful and life-changing prose in a romance novel. I’ve found stuff in romance novels that makes me bawl my eyes out, like someone’s speaking directly to my soul. I love how versatile this genre is, I love the sub-genres within it and the niches that can be found. And I love the community.


If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?

I’d love to try my hand at horror or science fiction.


What are your most and least favorite tropes?

Favorite: He falls first, one bed, forced proximity, black cat girlfriend/golden retriever boyfriend, grumpy/sunshine, age gap, forbidden romance.


Least favorite: Miscommunication.


What are some tropes you want to write in the future?

I’m currently working on a forbidden romance which I’m super excited about!


What are some topics (sensitive and otherwise) that you think should exist more in romance?

Healthy relationships with exes.


If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?

I don’t think sex is something that should be shamed or be viewed as shameful to participate in, read, or write about. It’s totally natural, and I think open door romance sheds a light on it. A lot of my work explores kink, consent, communication, and healthy boundary creation.

YOUR BOOKS

What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?

My debut, Babydoll, was a fanfiction before it was a published book. I love fanfiction. I still read it, and I still write it. No shame. 


I believed in Babydoll from the second I started writing it and I worked really closely with my editor to keep the spirit of the fanfiction and re-write the book almost entirely from scratch to help scrub any references that could get me into trouble and further develop the characters into well-rounded people. Now it’s an interconnected duet and I can’t believe how far the story has come. I love books and movies about rock bands. One night, I was watching Almost Famous and just got hit with this idea. Since I was writing fanfiction at the time, that’s where it lived before we pulled it apart and pieced it back together for self-publishing.


My second book, Heathens, came to me randomly. I was out for a walk, listening to music, and the characters just popped into my head. Pretty soon, I was walking and typing on my phone and had a rough outline for what I wanted to write.


Can you briefly tell me about your books?

Babydoll is the first book in the interconnected Revolver Duet about the relationship between a rockstar and a journalist who’s assigned to follow his band on the last half of their North American tour. He hates the press and has a bad reputation, and she’s determined to get a story. It’s frenemies to lovers, one bed, secret romance, and he falls first. 


Book two is in the editing stages, but it’s called Dollhouse and it immediately follows the events of the first book.


Heathens is a dark vampire/mafia/dystopian romance about a virus that has wiped out most of the human population. Vampires have taken over and there are two rival vampires at war with one another. Our FMC is human and gets caught in the middle. 


Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?

Phoebe Miller. She’s ambitious, she’s an anxious mess, but she’s really strong and she grabs life by the horns and gets what she wants. Phoebe is my hero and the person I want to be but am too afraid to be sometimes.


If you were to cast your book for a movie/television show, who would you cast in the lead roles?

Babydoll and Dollhouse: The leads would be young Liv Tyler and young Sebastian Stan.

Heathens: The leads would be Sebastian Stan and Abigail Cowen. It might be lazy to use Sebastian Stan twice, but I really want to see him play a vampire lol


How much of yourself do you put into these characters?

Tons. The good parts, the ugly parts, all of it. It allows me to do some pretty wild self reflection sometimes and sometimes I don’t like what I see, but I keep it on the page anyway. I don’t base specific situations or characters on people I know unless I have their consent.


What is a story/stories that you really want to tell?

There’s one that’s based on something that happened to me when I was younger. I’m waiting for the growth, the strength, and for my skills to improve before I sit down and write it the way I can envision it.


Is there one common element that readers can find in all your stories?

A man who would do anything for the woman he loves, working through self-doubt, and finding your own strength. 


What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?

It’s a small town forbidden romance, and the first standalone in a series.


When you write these stories, what are you hoping your readers will feel?

I hope they laugh, I hope my characters make them smile, I hope they can feel the love that I’ve poured into those pages, and I hope they have a great time.


AUTHOR’S CHOICE

  • Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks. 

  • Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense

  • Single and Dual POV

  • Standalones, series or standalones in a series

  • Open door, ajar door or closed door romances

  • Music or silence when writing

  • Plotter, pantser or plantser

  • Water, tea, coffee or….wine?

  • Cold or warm weather

  • Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?—Early morning and late evening is best for me. 

  • Illustrated and photo cover?


Want to know more about Thea? Make sure you follow them on Instagram and TikTok. You can also join their Facebook group, join their Street Team and find everything you’ll need about Thea’s books and future projects via their website.

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