Lucy Leroux is another name for USA Today Bestselling Author L.B. Gilbert.
Twelve years ago Lucy moved to France for a one-year research contract. Six months later she was living with a handsome Frenchman and is now married with an adorable half-French toddler. Her family moved to California last year.
When her last contract ended Lucy turned to writing. She loves all genres of romance and intends to write as many of them as possible. To date she has published award-winning paranormal, urban fantasy, and gothic regency novels. Her new ‘Rogues and Rescuers’ series is a spin-off of the award-winning ‘Singular Obsession’ books. Each is a combination of steamy romance and suspense that feature intertwining characters in their own stand-alone stories. Follow her on twitter or Facebook for more news!
1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me! When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?
Thank you for the chance to participate. I haven’t done too many of these, so I appreciate the opportunity to connect and share a bit about myself. As for your first question, the desire to write came in two phases for me.
First, I have an almost-cute story about wanting to be a writer as a child…
When I was nine, I decided I wanted to write a book. This was probably because we’d just bought an electric typewriter/word processor and I wanted an excuse to play with it. But I also had a great idea for story in the vein of Madeleine Lengel. So, I started writing the book, getting a full four single-spaced pages of it down. I was very impressed with myself because anybody can get four double-spaced pages out. But my cramped four pages were proof of my perseverance. I was going to finish that book!
And then we were robbed that Christmas. The thieves took our electric typewriter with the pages of my magnum opus tucked inside the cover.
After that, I didn’t try writing anything longer than a short story until I was an adult living abroad in France as a research scientist. That’s where I was sucked into a terrible romance book on my off time. It was so bad I told myself ‘I can do this better’. This would normally be hubris, but it was a very terrible novel by someone well-known at the time. Even if the result of my effort was bad, I would have at least tried.
This was around the time my academic funding ended and I had to decide whether to go home to the states or stay in Toulouse with my French partner. He asked me to stay and told me to write while he supported us on his meager salary, so that’s what I did. I wrote four books before I published my first contemporary romance, which were followed by the second and third shortly after. I published my first paranormal romance/urban fantasy at the end of the following year.
I get my ideas from everywhere, but mostly inspiration strikes while reading another author’s work. Even with books I love, there is almost always a little something about them that I wanted to change. I take those kernels and spin my own web around them. The outcome is something totally new and original.
I think overseeing my character’s destiny is the most rewarding part of being a writer. No longer am I unsatisfied by a book because I can craft my own now and all those things I wanted the main characters of other books to experience actually happen in mine.
I love being an author, but being an independent one means I’m not just that—I’m also in charge of marketing, reviewer outreach, audiobook production, etc. This is the most frustrating part of being an Indie. All that other stuff can get exhausting when all you want to do is tell the next story.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
Phew! Where to start? Including novellas, I have written more than twenty books and am working on three more at the moment.
Many of my published works are Readers’ Favorite five-star-reads and seven have won medals in contemporary and paranormal romance. I write under two pen names, but my books are not separated by genre. It’s by sexual content. I want people to know when they pick up my book whether there will be sex on the page because it was important to me as a reader.
For those who love award-winning steamy romance find me as Lucy Leroux. Fans of paranormal adventure and humor look for my LB Gilbert titles. I recently gathered all my links in one place:
I’m also a huge fan of the fantastic fiction database where you can find the reading order for all series. When your books start numbering in the double digits it’s an invaluable tool!
I also have several free short stories. Check your favorite retailer for the free LB Gilbert short Discordia. My Lucy Leroux freebies can be found on my Amazon page. I also give away a free full-length novel with subscription to my newsletter!
3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?
I mentioned being inspired by a terrible novel. I’m also inspired by great ones, as well as TV shows and movies. I have spreadsheet with over 100 ideas jotted down across half a dozen genres. I want to try and write as many of these as I can, but I know I will never finish because the list keeps growing.
4) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel? What projects are you currently working on?
I try to avoid schedules! When you have a five-year-old you need to stay flexible. That’s why I’m limiting the number of pre-orders I now do. I like to have at least one up to let readers know what I’m working on, but getting pigeon-holed to a date can be hard, especially in Covid times.
From start to finish a book will take about four months, but I’m hoping to improve on that now that kiddo will be going to school full-time starting later this month.
I do outline a rough sketch for each book but find that I don’t stick to it in the last half of the manuscript. My current projects include the final book in my gothic regency trilogy, a steamy millionaire meets adorable female mechanic romantic suspense, and a paranormal romance set in a cutthroat world of wealthy magical clans.
5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally? Who is your favorite author to read? What book are you currently reading?
I remember the first book I found humorous. It was Bunnicula, which was my favorite book in grade school and the one I credit for turning me into a bookworm.
I’m currently reading some regency novels to help keep me in the right frame of mind for my own period romance. One of my favorite authors is Ilona Andrews. I also love Lisa Kleypas and too many others to name.
6) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Some days as an Indie writer can hellishly difficult. Trying to reach new people to love your book is hard, and sales can gutter when your ad platform tweaks their search or audience algorithm. When this happens, I go to my Amazon page and scroll down the list of my books, taking comfort in the fact most have very high ratings, 4 stars and above for almost all. I may not be reaching all the readers I would like, but the ones I have are enjoying my books. It makes me feel better.
7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?
I’ve only queried two books to big publishers, my first paranormal and a shifter romance more recently. While I had a smattering of rejections for that first book, I was the one who decided to stop the process early and go the self-publishing route. I also withdrew the shifter romance I queried a couple of years ago when I didn’t hear back after a few months. I didn’t have the patience to stay with querying but may do so again when we can meet face to face with an agent or publisher at author events.
My advice to new authors is to write what you love. Query a publisher if you have the patience, but you don’t need them to find readers who will enjoy your story.
8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?
I knew it had to be strategic, so I went about building a readership and joining events and collections for exposure early on, as soon as I published my first book. It hasn’t been easy to gain traction and sometimes I neglect that aspect of my work, but it is rewarding when a new reader takes the time to reach out after discovering you to say they loved your book.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?
I actually like rereading my books. This may not be true during the fourth or fifth round of the editing process, but I only write books I love. Reading them after publication is a pleasure, like visiting an old friend. Plus, if I find a typo that escaped the six rounds of editing I do, then I can fix it right away.
However, I don’t like listening to my work! Proofing my own audiobooks is torture for me. But I have excellent narrators who make it easier with their stellar performances.
10) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I certainly hope not! Writing was not my first career so I’m not the youngest indie out there. And it depends on how you define success. For me that’s making enough money to support my family and keep a roof over our heads. I’m not quite there yet but hope to change that soon now that the young’un is off to school.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Little bits of me end up in my books. I draw from all aspects of my life, from my past career in the sciences to being a mom. But my characters are not me—more like they are who I wish I could be under different, sometimes fantastical, circumstances.
Most of the time my characters and their stories have a life of their own. When things are going well, it’s more like taking dictation of the movie I’m seeing in my head. I don’t ask myself what the book is saying about me. It’s only later that I might try to pin that down, and usually by then I’m off on the next adventure.
Writing is also an escape, one that sometimes has a personal cost. For example, I have a PhD in a completely unrelated field, microbiology. When Covid hit I kept thinking that I should be in a lab, at the very least processing Covid DNA tests. But I didn’t apply because I’ve been out of the field, writing for so long. And even though I’d like to have a lab job someday, possibly a volunteer position, I don’t think I can stop writing now. The die has been cast. Now I just have to keep doing what makes me and hopefully my readers happy.