Spotlight On...

Lara Lacombe

by Dawn Alexander

First, tell us about yourself. You keep saying you aren't interesting, but I hear you have a Ph.D. and lived in London?

Well, I grew up in the DFW area and left to attend graduate school in Maryland (hence the Ph.D., which is in Microbiology and Immunology, if anyone is interested. That's partly why I write under a pen name--if you Google my real name, you'll get all sorts of boring science papers). I moved to Houston in 2009, and moved again last year to be closer to my mom after my dad died. Needless to say, I'm tired of moving! :)

I have two orange and white cats (the color is important, because anyone who has cats knows that orange ones tend to be pesky), and when I'm not at work or writing, I'm probably asleep.

As for the London thing, my college had a JanTerm program (where you just took one class for the month) and I spent the January of my junior year in London going to see plays every night for college credit. I would have loved to have stayed longer, but being the nerd that I am, I had to get back to my science classes in the spring semester. It was a fabulous trip, and to this day, London is one of my very favorite places--I'm always looking for an excuse to go back!

Tell us about what you write and your current WIP.

I write category romantic suspense. My current WIP is about a woman named Claire Fleming, who works for a nuclear watchdog organization in Washington, D.C. After an attempt is made on her life, FBI agent Thomas Kincannon is assigned to the case in the hopes of keeping her safe while they figure out why she's a target and who killed her Russian counterpart. They fall in love (of course), and while they're fighting their attraction, they have to deal with coded documents, kidnappings, and a dangerous assassin (oh my!).

How was your experience at RWA Nationals? Do you have some good news to share?

It was my first Nationals conference, and I had a great time! It was so much fun to see all my favorite authors and to hear them talk about craft, technique, and tips. I also really enjoyed meeting some friends from my online writing group. I do have some good news--I pitched to an editor at Harlequin, and she said she wanted to see the full manuscript. I said something along the lines of "You do?", but she didn't seem to hold it against me :)

What made you join NTRWA? What do you remember most about your first meeting?

I joined NTRWA because I wanted to have a 'real-life' writing group--online groups are great, but it's also very nice to talk to people face to face. I had heard so many good things about local RWA chapters, and when I realized this group meets so close to where I live, I knew I had to join. As for my first meeting, I remember everyone being very friendly and welcoming. I remember Angi telling me that the group really pushes its members to turn PRO as soon as possible, and since that was on my 'to do' list, I knew I had found the right place :)

You also review books on your Science of Romance blog. What has that experience been like?

It's been a blast! I've made a lot of great contacts, both authors and other readers, and I've really enjoyed discussing books with them. At the same time, it's a little stressful. I'm always on the lookout for new content, and writing the reviews does take up time, since I try very hard to give substantive reasons as to why I did or did not enjoy a book. Writing has cut into my reading time so I don't post reviews as often as I used to, but I still enjoy it very much. I've had readers tell me they've decided to buy a book because of one of my reviews, and it always makes me feel good to know that I'm helping in some small way to promote romance.

What is your writing process like?

Well, I usually write in the evenings and on weekends. I am the complete opposite of a morning person, so there is no way I'm getting up even earlier to write!

I generally start out by playing a game of Bejeweled, which is a super-addictive game (and if you haven't played it, don't start!). I tell myself I will only play one game, but that usually turns into three or four or... At some point I will look at the clock, say a bad word because I've wasted so much time, and then open my manuscript. I daydream a lot about the story while I'm at work, so if I'm lucky, I'll know where to start writing.

I'm much more of a pantster than a plotter, but I do have some sense of where the story is going and what the high points are going to be. I can't skip around--if a scene comes to me and I'm not there in the story yet, I tuck it away to pull out when the time is right. I know some people can write in chunks and those people fascinate me--I'm a linear writer.

What is something your chapter mates would be surprised to find out about you?

I have a deep and abiding love for superhero movies.


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