Welcome to our latest blog interview, where we get to know some of the most talented and creative writers in the fantasy genre.
Today, we have the pleasure of talking to A. L. Lorensen, a fantasy author with a lifetime passion for writing and the art of storytelling.
Get ready to be transported to the magical worlds of A. L. Lorensen’s imagination, and learn more about the author behind For Evergreens and Aspen Trees.
What inspired you to start writing in the fantasy genre?
I have always loved fantasy. Growing up, I was one of those weird kids that only played imagination games where I ran around my neighborhood pretending to be an empress of some far off land or a powerful sorceress, or what have you.
When I started actually writing when I was about seven or eight, those games were the inspiration I drew from, and then they developed into what I write today.
How do you approach world-building in your stories?
I ask myself a lot of “why” questions while I write. Why do these characters have to get from Point A to Point B? Why does the super-cool-sword look the way it does? Why is my bad guy the bad guy?
With the main world I am writing, it grew up with me, so as I was learning to write, I was also learning more about how to craft stories and worlds, so those “why” questions saved me.
Can you walk us through your writing process?
Absolutely! When I first started writing, I flew by the seat of my pants. If something sounded exciting, I put it in.
Some people thrive off this type of writing, but as I got older I realized that it stressed me out more than anything. The story and the world felt overwhelmingly broad when I had no plans in place for it, and I had no idea when it would or should end and how to get there and what I needed to focus on. It gave me writing paralysis.
So, I discovered a new method from Joe Nassise, and it has saved my writing career. These are now the steps I follow when I write:
1. Get a bunch of blank index cards and write every scene I can think of on them. Doesn’t matter which order or how many or how “stupid” I’ll think they are later. I just write them all down.
2. I organize the index cards into chronological order and see which ones I don’t need, and if there’s any I need to add.
3. I handwrite my first draft. I’m allergic to writing chronologically, so I’ll just pick a scene from my index cards to write that day, and then mark it off when I’m done. It also satisfies my love of marking off to-do lists.
4. I type all my handwritten scenes/chapters and edit as I go.
5. When all the scenes are written and typed, I print them all and go through them with a red pen to mark anything I need to change/add.
6. I change/add the things I’ve marked.
7. I send that draft to my beta readers to look at.
8. I edit again based on beta reader feedback.
9. I do another read through, because I have crippling perfectionism syndrome and can’t just leave it alone.
10. I realize my eyes will bleed if I look at it anymore, and send it off for two rounds of professional edits.
11. I fix the things that need fixing from the professional edits.
12. Take a few weeks to binge Netflix on my couch and recover.
13. I publish the book.
Would you survive in your own fantasy world?
That would depend on if my characters knew who I was or not. If they knew me and knew what I had done, absolutely not.
If I was a lone, anonymous agent and able to do my own thing, though? Also no.
What themes do you explore in your work?
I explore the themes of identity and self, prejudices, corrupt leadership, and the power of love and hope, whether it be for good or evil.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve had to research for your stories?
Oh, golly. I did most of my research when I was much, much younger, so I don’t remember most of it. However, as I got older, I was more of a knowledge goblin—just kind of scavenging and hoarding tidbits that I found in random places.
One of my most recent finds was an assassin’s teapot that held both tea and poison in two separate compartments inside of it. There were airholes you could put your fingers over, which would affect which of the liquids came out, so you could pour yourself a perfectly fine cup of tea, and then poison your enemy all in one go.
That’s a thing you know now!
What do you hope readers take away from your stories?
I would hope that my readers finish my stories and believe that hope and beauty still exist in the world, that hardships can be overcome, and that pure love really and truly can change the world.
Would you rather have a pet dragon or a unicorn, why?
The horse-girl inside of me wants to say unicorn, but I have to say dragon, 100%. They are one of my absolute favorite fantasy creatures, and I want to bond with one and ride one and gleefully set fire to all my enemies (mostly spiders).
If you were stuck on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be and why?
If I had my choice, it would be Aspen Tanner, because she is unendingly resilient and competent, and will not rest until she has accomplished what she needs to do. She’ll also make sure to keep any nefarious critters at bay.
If it was based on who would actually end up on a deserted island with me, it would be Tristan, because he tends to get yanked around by the winds of fate more than anyone else.
What would you name your pet dragon?
Cinder is the only one my brain can think of currently. But I know I would be so much better at naming them when I met the dragon in person.
Where is the best place to start reading your work?
About the author:
A. L. Lorensen has had a lifetime passion for writing and the art of storytelling. She graduated fromUtah State University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and maintained her writing on the side.A. L. mainly writes fantasy, but has dabbled in fiction, mystery, comedy, and anything else that may strike her fancy.
A. L. Lorensen currently resides in Logan, UT with her husband, their cat, Muse, and their many, many bookshelves. If you would like to keep in touch with A. L. Lorensen (and get a free short story), you can join her newsletter at allwrites.com.
Find A. L. Lorensen online: