Better late than never! Hope you’re all enjoying Shooting Scars. Remember, Bold Tricks is less than two months away!Super exciting!You know what else is exciting? This interview with the wonderful Lori Otto, author of Emi Lost and Found. She made the best billboard ever and gave me some pretty deep answers to burning questions.
KH: You worked in billboards before you became an author – give us a billboard ad of Sins & Needles – what would it say?
LO: I’m not sure it would need to say much… see the attached picture.
KH: OMG *flails* I LOVE THIS….So, it kind of answers the question on everyone’s lips – are you a Camden fan or a Javier fan (or like me, Team Sandwich!)
LO: TEAM CAMDEN. Are you KIDDING ME? Who’s Javier?! CAMDEN 100%.
KH: Explain how our heroine Ellie Watt is in fact an anti-heroine.
LO: She allows the negative events of her past to dictate all of her actions. She’s a selfish woman for most of the book… until, for the first time, I think, she puts love for someone else in front of her own self-preservation. She’s a hard character to like, but I think it’s because she truly has no idea who she is. It’s like they say, you can’t expect anyone to love you until you love yourself, and I think that’s very true in her case. I think in the next book, she might begin to find her way and learn who Ellie Watt really is… and I’m hoping by the third, once she starts to know/love herself, someone will be able to love her – truly love her, not just possess her – for the person she really is.
KH: Sins & Needles explores how our past shapes who we are – how lenient are you on people who use their pasts as an excuse as to the way they are in the present?
LO: Man, what a question. I believe everyone has the capacity to change, I do. But there are some traits that you can never shed: characteristics that were earned by knowing certain people or experiencing certain things. For minor things, I’m very lenient… if the actions don’t hurt anyone, I’m not going to spend time worrying about it… but I would never say it’s okay for a man to beat his wife because his father beat his mother, you know? Change is hard, but I admire people who put forth the effort. If you were to ask me if I’d give Ellie any slack for what she did to Camden in this book (up until her final sacrifice), I’d flat out say, “No way!” As for Camden, though… I don’t think he would have betrayed Ellie had she not done so first. What Ellie does hurts others. What Camden wanted to do… well, it wouldn’t have hurt anyone.
KH: Your favorite scene in Sins & Needles. Go!
LO: It’s a toss up… I love scenes of passion, so it would either be the awesome, hot-as-burning-steaks sex scene, or the part where Camden and his father were fighting about the ad. Scenes of confrontation are my favorite to write, and this was beautifully done. My heart broke for Camden. If he’d pissed me off with any of his earlier actions, they were all forgotten by the end of this scene. Literally, did he every do anything bad? Ever? In his WHOLE LIFE?!
KH: Well…there was that one thing. Your series Lost and Found has a wonderful cult following. Why do you think readers really connect to your romance between Nate and Emi?
LO: Nate and Emi had shared twelve years of friendship by the time Lost and Found begins. The readers get a glimpse of Emi’s attraction to Nate at the beginning, and then they see his attraction to her soon after. Unfortunately, it takes the two friends years to reveal their feelings to one another. I think it’s just a traditional romantic notion for two life-long friends to end up together. Plus, when the readers learn how deep Nate’s feeling really are for Emi, they want him to have a chance to show her.
KH: Do you find there to be parallels between Camden and Nate? Why and why not?
LO: Camden and Nate were both misfit artists in high school. They were both made this way by their fathers (although through different actions). In adulthood, they were both musicians, and both harbored love for their misfit friends from high school. Still, they’re very different, as they had very different foundations on which to build upon. Nate’s parents loved him dearly, and taught him to love with no restraints. They would have supported him in any creative endeavor, and would have encouraged his individuality. They were fair and tolerant. Nate is a total pacifist, and the outlet for his aggression is painting. If he’d ever seen a gun, I think he would have walked the other way.
KH: If Emi had a free pass and were on a desert island with Javier and Camden, what would she do?
I think she’d swim to safety. Seriously, though, she’d be drawn to Camden. I think she would have been suspicious of Javier from day one, and she wouldn’t have tolerated his controlling ways. Emi would have seen the good in Camden’s heart and intentions. TEAM CAMDEN!
LO: Your covers are so unique and eye-catching- tell us how you went about using illustrations for your trilogy
These covers are actually the second iteration of covers for this series. I’ve always liked quirky hand-drawn illustrations, and I have a friend who is masterful with this type of art. We collaborated on these covers, choosing different moments or feelings from the books. I didn’t want to do the traditional photo of a man and a woman in some sort of passionate embrace because this is not a traditional romance, by any means. When people see the covers, they think, “That’s different.” When people read the books, they think, “That’s different.” So while the covers may not fit the genre, they do actually fit the books themselves. (P.S. I love your covers, Karina… they stand out in a good way!!)
KH: What are you working on next?
LO: I’m working on two spin-off series. One is another contemporary series that revolves around Steven Holland, the brother of one of the main characters of Emi’s series. The other is a YA/NA series about a young girl that’s introduced to readers at the end of Never Look Back. The next book to be released will be the second book in this series.
KH: If you could get any quote or line (from anything) tattooed on yourself (by our tattoo artist, Camden, naturally), what would it be?
LO: “All things shine.” I wear a necklace right now with that sentiment stamped on the charms. It reminds me to look for the good in all people, things and situations. I think that’s another reason I liked Camden – he saw the beauty in Ellie’s scars.
KH: Love it. Love them!
After graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Lori Otto worked in the billboard industry for ten years. Frustrated with trying to communicate entire messages in “seven seconds or less,” she decided to leave outdoor advertising and return to her love of creative writing.
She is the author of the Emi Lost and Found series, Number Seven, and Contessa (Choisie #1).
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