Winterview with Author Lara Lillibridge

To celebrate 13 weeks of winter, Hàlön Chronicles will be conducting one interview a week for 13 weeks. We’ve also partnered with additional artists and authors for a few surprises throughout the winter. Join us on the hashtag #13Winterviews, or check out our blog hop for a sneak peek at who’s on the roster in the coming weeks.

Hosted by: K. J. Harrowick

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.


I am a divorced mother of two boys, a really fractious cat, and a mostly blind dog. I’m in my mid-forties and don’t care who knows it—it’s the happiest I’ve been in my life and also the best I have ever felt about my physical appearance. I really love to sing but I’m fairly tone deaf. I love to dance but I have no natural rhythm whatsoever. It’s unfortunate, but I don’t let it stop me.

2. What types of books do you write, and why?

I write mostly creative nonfiction—memoir, essay, and blogs. I feel like I’m given so much good material in real life that it would be a shame to waste it. That being said, I’m currently trying my hand at a novel, because I want to say something about alternative sexuality in a way that touches people, and a novel seems the best way to do that.

3. What were your early influences, and how does this manifest in your work today?

I read a lot of everything as a child. I always had overdue books at the library, so I raided my older brother’s bookshelves as well as my mother’s. This forced me to read books I never would have chosen on my own, and I think I benefitted from that. I still try to read a variety of genres because I think it makes us look at the world and at writing differently.

4. Are there aspects of the craft that excite you more than others?

I love anything that crumples up the rules and throws them away. For example, I recently read “They Both Die at the End” by Adam Silvera, and the idea that he spoiled his ending in the title and still had a book worth reading fascinated me. I love anyone that plays with form: essays written as footnotes, encyclopedic entries, multiple choice tests. Jeanette Winterson’s novel, “Written on the Body” has a protagonist with no name or assigned gender. I love anything unusual, and often think weirding up a piece can unlock resonance in the reader as well, because it breaks down our expectations and forces us to look at writing with fresh eyes.

5. What books or websites are your go-to places while editing?

I write with open at all times. I used to have a better memory before I had kids, and there are a lot of words I almost remember but not exactly.

I love Grammar Girl’s quick and dirty tips, and’s time traveler is great for getting into the feel of a certain year or decade.

6. Tell us about your writing space.

I write in a recliner. It doesn’t matter where the recliner is located, but I have to put my feet up to write effectively. Also, I need slippers and coffee. I don’t need a cat hovering on the arm of my chair, but I often have one whether I specifically requested one or not. I can’t write about sex or abuse when my children are home. I have to wait until they are at school or at their father’s house for those chapters.

7. Tell us about your current WIP or your latest book release.

My memoir, Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home, is scheduled for release April 3, 2018 with Skyhorse Publishing. I wrote it in third-person as that was the only way I could get enough distance to show my family as fully formed characters. I also interrupt the narrative with “Notes from the Fourth Wall.” When an actor breaks character and speaks directly to the audience, this is called breaking the fourth wall. In my memoir, these chapters allow me to write first person with a reflective gaze to offer explanation or more information than the characters knew at the time. I am curious to see if these experiments work for the reader as well as they do for me.

Plot-wise, Girlish is the story of my childhood. I was raised primarily by my mother and her bipolar wusband (woman-husband). My father lived in Anchorage, Alaska, and has been married seven times. None of them were good at appropriate boundaries or believed in wearing clothing all the time.

Also, I can be found every Tuesday on, or you can jump straight to her amazing book, Girlish: Growing Up in a Lesbian Home: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

Curious to know more about Lara Lillibridge? Be sure to visit her website, follow her on Twitter, hang out with her on Facebook, or follow her book list at Goodreads.

Don’t forget to check out this year’s Winterviews and partner interviews. You can also follow my main blog and be the first to know when new content is released.


Spotlight: Catching Up with Morgan

I’m so excited today to spotlight fantasy writer and blogger Morgan Hazelwood. She runs PitchWars and Query support groups on Facebook, a video blog (vlog), Morgan’s Query Corner, and recently started a new blog series: A Starter’s Guide for Fiction Writers. You can also find her in last year’s Winterviews where she chats about her books and writing process.

You’ve been unrolling some amazing new segments on your blog. Will you tell us about them?

For those who don’t know, I typically blog about my writing, tips that I’ve learned along the way, and notes from Writing Panels at SF/F conventions I’ve attended. (But not workshops, because those are proprietary!)

But this year, I’ve tried to branch out. A lot of people in my writer groups like my query rewrites, so I’ve started featuring a new one a week, EXPLAINING why I’m changing different points, and trying to help other query writers see where they could possibly fix theirs. CAVEAT: I’m unagented, and have a ZERO percent success rate, but I feel the queries are in better shape after I’ve played with them, than before.

I’ve also started sharing book reviews for books I like that I’ve read. I didn’t read anything in February, but March will have a few more.

You’ve also unveiled A Starters Guide for Fiction Writers. What sparked the idea for this and how do you envision it helping others?

I’ve been online for ages and involved in writer communities for about three years now. And after New Years, there was the regular influx of writers, trying to take their writing to the next step, floundering, and asking in several of my writing groups how to take the next step. That’s when I decided to turn all my individual private messages and fb comments into a coherent blogpost. It got a little long… so now my Starter’s Guide is turning into a series.

What are some of the common traps you’ve seen for newer fiction writers?

Some common traps for newer fiction writers are:

  • Not reading the group descriptions.
  • Using support groups for advertisements.
  • Not trusting their own story, and looking for external validation before they’ve finished the first chapter. To make sure they’re going in the right direction. We can’t tell you that! Often, the 1st chapter is just setting the scene so YOU know what you’re writing about and will get cut after the story is edited. You’ve got to write the story before we know if the opening chapter works!
  • Mistaking line-edits for revisions.
  • Wanting feedback without being willing to offer their own. Yes, you’re new, but you’ve likely been a reader a lot longer than you’ve been a writer. You do have something to offer. And this way, the group doesn’t feel that you’re just using them.
  • Offering negative feedback, as a way to point out errors, and NOT in a supportive manner, with suggestions of ways they can get better. Don’t dogpile! Point them in the right direction, but too much feedback can be very disheartening.
  • Not knowing the market. Having books too long or too short, or not picking 1-2 genres, then wondering why they’re getting rejection after rejection.
  • Inconsistency – using different profiles and names all over the place.
  • Not being a friendly PROFESSIONAL. If you’re using the internet to forward your writing career, you should be posting stuff that you’re okay with your future agent, your future fans, and your mother reading.
  • Ummmm, I think I should stop here. Clearly, I have a lot to say on this subject. Hence the latest series.

Okay, now let’s talk about your books. What projects are you working on these days?

Currently, I’m querying my first novel, while letting my last 2 NaNoWriMo drafts fester in the drawer. It’s been revised 4 times, edited about 5 times, but I’m going over it with a fine comb while awaiting query responses (or queries time-outs). Also, taking the time to catch up on my reading and do some beta reading.

I’m gearing up to move next month, so will likely start on an edit of Book 2 after the move.

Have you taken any literary pilgrimages to give a stronger impact to your stories or your blog articles?

I attend Balticon, a SF/F convention in Baltimore Maryland every year, attending up to 21 panels on writing a year. I’ve also attended WorldCon, another SF/F convention. I’ve attended a few NaNoWriMo meetings and write-ins. But those are, I suppose, evocative but not true literary pilgrimages.

Have you hidden any secrets in your works intended for close friends and family to find?

A friend of mine keeps telling me my story lacks iguanas, and thus I’ll be disappointing the super-strong Iguana Loving Contingent. So, I may have slipped in a few napping or scurrying iguanas.

There are a couple lines that start off like specific song lyrics, and one that is evocative of a line from a children’s book.

Are there any deleted scenes or short where readers might get a taste of what’s to come?

Well, my best deleted scene just got reworked, retimed, and put back into my story. So, let’s go with this snippet from chapter seven:

Lunch was a polite and lonely affair. I ignored the clerk’s glares and ate as neatly as I could, trying to ignore the dark end of the hall. I’d nearly finished when I heard a commotion out front.

“Oh dear, another one?” the clerk sighed and hurried to open the door… Read More >

Morgan writes from her lair in the DC Metro area. When not writing, she helps run the Facebook support groups for PitchWars hopefuls. You can also find Morgan lending her voice to Anansi Storytime, a fairy tale audio drama.

Check out her blog:

You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, and YouTube. And probably anywhere else you look. She’s proof that social-ambiverts can be writers, too.

Don’t forget to check out this year’s Winterviews and partner interviews. You can also follow my main blog and be the first to know when new content is released.