After an extended detour through the entertainment industry, P.I. Barrington (pictured) has come full circle to fiction writing. She has journalism, radio broadcasting and music industry experience and is thrilled with the ability to now concentrate on writing full time! She has an e-book trilogy, Future Imperfect, a sci-fi novella, and a cozy mystery co-authored with her sister Loni Emmert published in 2009-2010. She is a Southern California native and resident.
Loni Emmert has spent the past twenty-five years working in the music industry writing press releases and magazine articles and now has returned to her passion of fiction writing. A member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and Sisters in Crime Los Angeles Chapter (SinCLA), Loni divides her time between work and writing. She is also a native Southern Californian and resident. Her first two novels, Button Hollow Chronicles #1: The Leaf Peeper Murders and Lights! Camera! Murder! are cozy mysteries and she is currently working on her first thriller.
P.I. and Loni have just self-published for the first time Isadora DayStar, their dark sci-fi adventure.
How did you start writing?
Loni: I always wanted to write. I originally wanted to write children/YA books but had to put it away for years since my career took over everything. When I returned to writing fiction, I changed genres and started writing cozy mysteries and got two published, one of my own and one with my sister and co-author P.I. Barrington. She's an ex-journalist and always wrote. We write together and individually.
How did you come up with the idea for Isadora DayStar?
Loni: Patti came up with the name, from the DayStar Christian Broadcasting Network—she was hooked on "CreationScapes" and thought DayStar would be a great name for a sci-fi type character. I think she wanted to create an unlikeable character to see if she could do it, but as with many characters and their stories, Isadora took the book in a different direction. She became an anti-hero of sorts, a complete loser but one who is sympathetic. As always we had some major disagreements—we always do when we write together—but I think we pulled it together fairly well. I still think we could add more depth to Isadora though the response has been really great, really positive!
How did it feel to self-publish your first book?
Loni: Well, as I've said, we've both been published through different publishers and had one novel, a mystery, published together so each of those times was special—there's nothing like seeing your work published. As for Isadora, it's a lot more work! With a publisher behind you, you feel a little more security, real or imagined. Most publishers participate less in promotion than they used to but it's psychological, you feel like you have a machine behind you whereas with a self-published book all the work is your responsibility. The cover art, the formatting, the promotion, the ISBN, everything falls into your lap. Publishers will work with you on your cover art but they create it rather than you. We lucked out so much with Isadora DayStar because we found a cover artist with that cover already done and on sale. All she needed to do was put the title and name on it and there it was! It was meant to be!
What were some of the responses to this book?
Loni: Tremendous. We have had people—reviewers—compare our work on Isadora with Gene Roddenberry which is just an unthinkable compliment! There are morals running through the novel, big conflicts and massive guilt and consequences and we tried to put a positive spin at the end since much of the book is dark and gritty. We had to give Isadora some type of hope for redemption or the book would have just been too…negative.
What has been the most exciting part of your publishing experience?
Loni: Every segment of the process is exciting in its own way. Cover art is always a blast because when you and the artist connect the result is almost always gorgeous. Writing goes without saying—from beginning to end it's all-consuming—the editing process always teaches you something new. Writing a novel is such an overwhelmingly joyful process beginning with the idea or premise to the finished product, it's wonderful. It makes you want to do it all over again…and again and again. It's the kind of project that never gets old—ever!
Any words of wisdom for first-time authors?
Loni: Don't let anyone discourage you. But also take it seriously. Master the actual craft of writing. Learn everything you can because there is so much free information out there now on the Internet that people like my sister and myself had to pay for or had no access to when we started. Patti's always telling me to forget those people who discouraged me—to be true to my work. That was always a struggle for me until I did get published. That was when I realized that yes, I can do this and do it not only well but fairly successfully, too. If it's your love, then forget naysayers and go for it. The only regret you'll have is if you don't.