It’s Friday again, which means it’s time for another Getting to know… session! Today we have romance author Ursula Sinclair, the alter ego for LaVerne Thompson, an award winning, best- selling, multi-published author, an avid reader and a writer of contemporary, fantasy, and sci/fi sensual romances. She writes romantic suspense and new adult romance under the pen name Ursula Sinclair. Ursula shares a little of everything with us–including an excerpt from her latest book, Shaken, which is part of the Club Prestige series. Make yourselves comfortable and let’s get to know Ursula.
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even before I was old enough to realize what I was doing I wrote my stories on the walls. Much to my mother’s chagrin. lol
I can imagine! My mother would have gone ballistic if I’d written on the walls. 🙂 So tell me, which author or book inspired you to become a novelist?
I’ve always been a voracious reader so I can’t say it was one particular book or person, but I will say that Octavia Butler’s work opened up a whole new sci/fi world for me.
I was late discovering Octavia Butler, but I totally fell in love with her stories. They were so innovative and she was inclusive in her writing from the very beginning. With that in mind, do you think fiction should address topical social issues? Some readers say they only read to escape and don’t want to be reminded of racism, social inequality, etc when they open a book. What’s your take on this?
I think authors should write whatever they want to write about, and if that includes relevant social topics of the day I have no problem with that. I don’t believe authors should be limited that way. Just as readers are free to read whatever subject matters or genres interest them or not. There should be something out there for everyone.
I am with you there. I think, even if we write romantic fiction, we should be able to write about whatever issues feel natural to the story or write the stories we want and need to tell. So tell us — are you a plotter or pantster?
Pantser. Woot Woot! lol
Haha! I am a little of both. I love the freedom of being a pantser, but then I never get to the end. I need a bit of a roadmap. 🙂 So what is your favorite part of being a writer?
The freedom to let my imagine run where ever it wants to take me, and the freedoms being an indie author brings. I have no limitations and I reap what I sow. But most of all I love bringing something entertaining and enjoyable to my readers.
What are you reading now?
I don’t have a lot of time to read so I’ve been listening to a lot of audio books. I can workout while I listen to them. It’s great. Right now I’m listening to Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews, I’m enjoying it.
Are you working on a new book now? Can you give us a sneak peek of the plot?
I’m always working on a new book, usually more than one at a time but in different stages. One that I’m working on today is called Lost Gods. It’s about Zeus and how he’s been reborn several times with no memory of his past and his powers have been bound. But the world now faces a great danger and there are powers trying to get him to remember so he can put a stop to the world’s destruction while at the same time trying to ensure that Zeus won’t then turn around and destroy the world himself in his vengeance against the Fates who took away his memories. All the gods are dead, long live the gods. *grins*
Oh wow–I love this idea! I can’t wait to read it! What do you think is the most difficult part of being a writer?
For me the most difficult aspect is finding the time to write. As an indie author I’m a self-employed business person and, while I have people behind me, I still have to organize everything and still have to market myself as well as my books. All of which takes up a big chunk of time in which I’d rather be writing.
I know that feeling. I would much rather write than spend time doing promo, which brings me to my next question. A lot of people say that writers need to be active on Twitter, Facebook, Periscope, etc if they want to make it these days in the literary world. What’s your take on social media? Is it vital for today’s authors?
I can’t speak for all writers, I’m sure there might be a handful not on social media yet they still manage to sell a handful of books. However, to reach the masses it’s a must. The world has become very small and the way it’s accessed these days is through the thing called the internet. More specifically social media platforms. Some people have better success in reaching an audience on one platform over another. Depends on many factors. For me I’m very active on Facebook and Twitter. A little on Google and Pintrest. But the bulk of my connections come primarily from my interaction on Facebook. That’s where the core of my readers are so that’s where I have to be.
Do you have a favorite writing space? Could you describe it for us?
I have an office upstairs, it’s in a lot of disarray right now because I’m collecting swag to take to a few conventions and I’m in the process of renovating the master bathroom and bedroom and I my office is used as a holding area. But it has windows on two sides so I have lots of light. I’ve two framed large oil paintings my kids did for me in art camp when they were younger. My desk is a table I got from an antique shop sanded it down and painted it yellow. My chair is a Henry Miller chair which my cat decided to chew on the handles can you say I want to murder an animal. Yeah.
Sounds like my dearly departed cat, Smokey. He loved to scratch and chew everything. So what’s your typical day of writing like?
Everyday for me is a writing day. I turn on my laptop and my fingers hit the keys and I just keep going.
If you could work on a collaborative project with any writer, who would be your dream writing partner?
My favorite male character is Maze from my Ballerina Series. He does what he has to do and makes no apology about it. Lol My favorite female character is Thalya from Angel Rising. She’s strong willed and can kick ass too.
What was the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
What advice would you give to novice writers?
Keep writing. And when you’re finished that book, go on to the next.
Thanks for joining us today, Ursula! Before we sign off, let’s take a sneak peek at Shaken!
I couldn’t quite stifle a yawn. Between my law school classes during the day, studying, and coming into the club every night this week to help out in the Martini Room, I was exhausted. Yet, I wouldn’t trade any of it. Even this, our regular monthly meeting. We would bring up names for consideration of membership in our exclusive strip club. Now after just a year, it was doing very, very well. We even had a waitlist. We were extremely selective in who we allowed in. If you had to ask about our fees, you couldn’t afford us. I glanced around the room at the other four women. I couldn’t have been happier to call them friends and partners in this extraordinary enterprise.
The first time we all met seemed like so long ago, back when some of them were stripping and I was only a bartender. Working in a place that was nothing but a job, a paycheck. No matter how good the money had been, the crap most of us had to put up with drove us to begin our own club. One we could control. A very different kind of place where our employees were safe, which wasn’t always the case in some strip clubs. We were not a brothel. Everyone who worked here and entered the premises knew it.
Olivia tossed a flyer on the table, bringing my attention back to the meeting.
“What’s this?” I picked it up, and after reading it, passed it around.
“This is bullshit,” Andie exclaimed.
We all knew it was. The flier was asking for signatures to shut down the “whorehouse” known as Club Prestige in the middle of their nice, gentrified neighborhood.
The five of us sat upstairs in the four-story building we owned. The top floor held our offices and was where we conducted the behind-the-scenes aspects of the business, but the real running of the club happened on the other floors.
Assholes! Didn’t even know we were not a whorehouse, but a legitimate strip club. Licensed and registered appropriately. We had all of our permits in line. Since I handled the legal aspects for the club, I damn well knew that. Whoever this person was trying to stir things up needed to get her facts straight. For one thing, this area was zoned for both commercial and residential. We also had some pretty influential clients, so I didn’t think this petition would get very far.
“We’re up to date and in compliance with all the city regs,” I said. “So these busybodies need to go get laid.”
After finishing our business, we went our separate ways for the evening.
We each had a room, or section, within the club that we liked to oversee. It made things easier. My favorite place to be was The Martini Room, third floor. I rode the elevator down, and as soon as it opened, the music piped into the hallway flooded my senses. Tonight, the bouncers were dressed in white tuxedos. They nodded at me as I passed. We placed at least one on each floor to keep the clientele and staff safe.
Our club catered to both male and females, having both sexes of dancers for his or her viewing pleasure. Some of the rooms were separated—male dancers in one room, female in another. Some had both.
The Martini Room was where everyone could mingle, and people came together to drink and chat. Not much dancing was done in here, but when it was done, the strippers present made it standing-ovation worthy. The concept of the lounge was my creation, and I loved the atmosphere.
The room was done in purple—so dark, at first glance it looked black—and emerald green. But it was the bar that truly made the room. Handcrafted using a combination of dark mahogany and pinewoods, it took up the entire back wall. The rest of the room had low tables with lush, comfortable S-shaped leather couches where groups could sit, mingle, and drink.
This was more of a social lounge, a place to sit down and enjoy an appetizer or one of the many flavorful martinis the room offered, hence the name. The music was lower here, more soulful, at just the right volume to allow for conversation.
Unlike the room next door. There was a bachelorette party happening there. Every now and then the frosted glass doors to my room opened and I could hear the excited screams of the women. I grinned, knowing they were enjoying Harper’s performance. At six-three with two hundred pounds of lean, rippling muscle, it would be kinda hard not to scream when he moved.
I made my way behind the bar and motioned for Jay. “Go ahead and take off. Congrats and have fun.”
“Thank you, Redd,” Jay said. “You’re the best.”
I usually helped out or filled in for any of the bartenders in the lounge. We had one out sick, and today was Jay’s wedding anniversary. He wanted to surprise his wife by taking her out of town for the weekend. Lucky. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a boyfriend or got laid.
I wasn’t shy. I enjoyed sex as much as the next breathing woman, but my schedule left me little time for a relationship, which I tended to shy away from anyway. I was still fashioning me. Besides, not many could live up to my idea of perfection, at least no one I wanted to come home to every night. So, I settled for a once-in-a-blue-moon scratching, no strings, no expectations. Somewhat lonely perhaps, but necessary. I still had law school to finish and a future to plan before adding anyone else into my chaotic life.
I took a quick visual inventory behind the bar to make sure we had enough supplies. My pom and blueberry martinis were legendary in this town so I had to make sure I had what I needed.
I glanced over the room. Even though the lighting was muted, my eyes were familiar enough with the space to know what to look for. I was making sure everything was as it should be and that our customers were happy. Almost all of the lounge seats were taken, but a few remained at the bar. It was still early in the evening for us. Judging by the glasses in front of everyone and the orders being placed, as well as the smiles and laughter, I’d say it was a good guess everyone was enjoying themselves.
Movement in my peripheral vision had me turning my head in that direction. Someone had just taken a seat at the far end of the bar. Pat, the other bartender, was closer, but I placed a hand on her shoulder, staying her movement and headed toward him.
He had on what looked like a chauffeur’s uniform. The cap he took off and placed on the counter gave it away. A rare sight in here, but sometimes the members are generous and pay extra to have their drivers on premises.
My heart pulsed harder against my rib cage the closer I got and the clearer the lighting became so I got a better look at him. Thick, dark hair and sharp features that could have graced a movie screen or fashion magazine. Damn.
Gunmetal-gray eyes zeroed in on me. I had a sudden itch that needed immediate scratching.
“What can I do for you?” I asked.
Don’t forget to check out Shaken’s trailer. Shaken is available now for your e-reader!