Inspired

A few have asked me if I’m still writing. I’ll admit life has been very chaotic since I published my last book. Moving to France has been more intense than I imagined, and although we’ve had some amazing moments, it is still a lot of work to create a whole new life overseas.

But, the really incredible thing is this: Northern France is the dream world I always wanted to live in. I am surrounded by things that inspire me at every turn. A wall of ivy, a set of ruins, a moss-covered pathway, fog creeping through the trees, a chateau peeking above the forest in the distance, ancient stones with faded markings… there is something new to discover every day.

And there are funny things, too, that stick in my head. For instance, the way someone looks at you when you try to explain you are moving here…on purpose. The way some words sound the same, but mean something VERY different. The odd little social rules that no one seems to realize are actual rules, but you seem to be breaking every single one. We weren’t here a week before I began to imagine myself as a character in a story that was equal parts ridiculous and adventurous. This lead me to invent other characters, people I could send off into the woods the way I wanted to be able to roam, or into a chateau where some local can embarass her and woo her all at the same time. I was writing stories in my head every day for weeks before I finally had the time to sit down and write a single word. Then, one day, my husband said, “I think it’s time for you to write. Tonight, I want you to sit down and write for a few hours. If you do that every night before we leave, you’ll have a rough draft of your next book finished.”

Okay, first of all, how lucky am I to have a guy who sees the story inside of me itching to get out and helps me prioritize that passion? I am so blessed! Secondly, I really thought I would be writing one of the two books I have slated to finish next. Instead, I found myself pouring out the first few chapters of a new contemporary romantic comedy. It’s fun to let the story take over and see where it goes. It’s so much fun to write characters who are desperate to be heard. I can’t wait for you to see a little of what life is like here in France through the eyes of my main character.

There are other stories to be told here, too. The village, the chateau, the medieval fortress, they all are fabulous settings. I can imagine Merrilyn and Justan here as I walk through the forest, and I’m eager to return to their journey with all of these beautiful scenes to help make it come alive. My mind is full of ideas to bring a troupe here to eastern France and see how the world I’ve created in the Soul Ties series takes on new dimension with the added cultures and history of Europe. I mean, just imagine a troupe of gypsies, or a scene that included the gargoyles of Notre Dame! Wouldn’t that be amazing?

There is so much writing to do here, and I’m only just getting started. So, don’t give up on me, friends. If you want to see me writing more, then share my books with your friends. Introduce them to one of my series. You can start them all for FREE! Here’s how:

The Light of Loian Series: A Light in the Darkness

The Wanderer Series: Seen

The Soul Ties Series: A Familiar Darkness

 

Characters and Friends

Light Series adLast week I told you about the time I wrote my first book, A Light in the Darkness. It’s amazing to me now to look back and see how far I’ve come from that first night at my computer. What an adventure it’s all been! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that those words would turn into a real book with fans reading it around the world. I’m just in awe of the whole journey from page one to where I sit now days away from releasing my sixth book into the world. Wow. This weekend I watched that first book climb the charts on Amazon. It hit #3 in Christian Fantasy and stayed there for three days. What an amazing rush that was to see it, too. I am so proud that The Light Series is still resonating with readers.

BUT the reason I really love The Light Series and keep writing is because of the characters. The characters in The Light Series are really the best part of the story. As I wrote this series, they quickly took on a life of their own, shaping the story in their own way and making me want to spend more and more time with them. It’s hard when you love a character not to wish they were real so that you could be friends. Well, with this crew, I sort of wish they were ALL real. I just can’t get enough of them. Here are a few of my favorite characters from the series starting with the one’s who started it all…

Merrilyn is loyal and kind. She’s a bit naive, having lived her entire life in the tiny village of Nomar. An orphan, she was raised by the village healer, Aileena, and taught the trade as her apprentice. She longs to be more than just a healer, though. She wants to be one of the great Alaiths, a rare and powerful group of  healers who can heal with the mysterious power of light. On her journey, she’ll discover not only a vast world filled with incredible people and creatures she could never have imagined, but she’ll also find her true self along the way.

Justan is Merrilyn’s best friend. The prince of Nomar and second son to King Andraus, he doesn’t have a lot of responsibility at court. He spends his days following Merrilyn around and trying to amuse her. That is, until his brother goes missing and he’s forced to step up into a role he never thought he’d have to fill. Justan’s greatest fear is losing Merrilyn and he’ll do anything to protect her – even if that means pushing her away. Here’s a quote from one of my favorite scenes in the second book, To Light the Path.

Justan

Who’s your favorite character in The Light Series?

LA Notes: The Swag Shop

Hey, it’s LA. Mom wants me to introduce the new Sutherlin Swag Shop!!! We’ve been working on it for quite a while and I’m excited that we finally get to show you the results. Here I’m going to explain about the shop, why we started it, and what my favorite swag is.

The shop was created in Café Press and we got to use our own designs to sell in the shop. We mostly made the shop because we need more money if mom’s ever going to write more books. So, mom started with just designing jewelry. Since then we have added a lot more and plan to keep adding new items each month. My favorite thing so far is the Aiden T-shirt.

Light shirt 1

It’s so cool, right? We have tons of swag but my slow computer won’t let me upload any pictures. We are so excited to finally have the shop go live and we hope you enjoy shopping. Have an idea for our next design? Let us know!

   Rock On!

   LilliAnn