Brad A. LaMar has had a year that most writers can only dream about or write into a story. The bestselling author and award-winning writer of YA fantasy series, Celtic Mythos as well as the Angler Island science fiction series, has published three new titles this year alone. The Indianapolis-based LaMar recognizes the importance of the timing, but points out that success certainly didn’t come overnight. With 20 years of writing and teaching under his belt, he is quick to give credit to his students for ideas and inspiration. LaMar sat down with Splash to answer a few questions.
You’ve managed to have three books published this year! Did this come as a surprise? What’s it been like? Has it been overwhelming?
It was an absolute surprise, but so welcomed. My publishing team at Narrative Retail are amazing! This has been 20+ years in the making so it’s not overwhelming, but more of a justification of my work and ideas. The crazy thing is that all three books are so different. Different subjects, different universes, but still fun and hopefully interesting.
Can you tell us about those three books? What sets them apart? And when did you start writing each one?
I started writing them in the early 2000’s, after I had an epiphany given to me by my students. Zorp, The Twisted Bread Man literally was a short story that I wrote as an example for my students for a project that I had assigned. So, that’s special. Zorp is an alien, and differs from other alien tales because it’s more human in the way it relates to the reader. Here’s Zorp, on top of the world, when he experiences a massive failure. I felt we needed some backstory to understand how he made it to the precipice of his career and why it hurt so much when he slid down the mountain. I promise it’s got humor and heart, as well. Angler Island: The Crystal Cavern is a continuation of Angler Island and the adventure of Evan and Taylor and the trials of being trapped on an exotic, yet dangerous island. M &T’s Private Detection and Bakery is a funny take on the Mother Goose Rhymes and a whole world that I have created to go across different genres and media. I mean, Muff N. Mann is a baker but also a private eye? Yes, he is. Lots of fun, lots of legends, and lots of mystery.
You write for both a Young Adult audience, and other books for adults? How do you shift your perspective as an author for the different demographic?
That’s a good question. Perspective for my stories mainly comes from my characters and their circumstances. Audiences will be who they are, for instance, there are so many adults who really enjoy the action and imagination of YA authors because we leave out the rated R aspect of an exciting story. In addition to writing fiction and narratives, I also write lyrics, poetry, and nonfiction educational books.
Which age group is more fun and challenging to write for? And why?
That’s tough to say. For me, it’s more about the story and what I’m trying to convey. I probably have fifty stories that I started and made some progress on and a hundred more that I have just jotted down a tagline. YA readers are really open to all sorts of stories and ways of telling stories.
How did you find your passion and talent for writing?
My main passion for writing came once I developed a story for my students, but it really took over my thoughts once my own children became interested in stories in general. I put them as the main characters and had them going on adventures and experiencing all sorts of wonderful and interesting stories. I loved seeing their eyes light up when they heard about what the Evan and Paige from the stories were doing.
Your Celtic Mythos series is a compilation of four novels. Do you think you will add to the series?
I’m happy you asked. I have a prequel that leads up to the events in the series and several spin-off stories that I’m tentatively calling CM Other Tales. The brass at Narrative Retail are excited about my stories and can’t wait to dive deeper into Celtic Mythos and the universe I’ve created. We’re trying to think outside of the book covers and into all sorts of media.
Do you have any authors you look to for inspiration; or would like to model your career after?
I’m always impressed when someone writes a book, period. I know how hard it is to go through the entire process from start to finish. People may think it’s easy, but it is a grueling process.
You’re also an educator. How do you think this makes an impact on your role as an author, especially a Young Adult author?
I see one of my audiences every school day and I know what interests them. I have been able to make adjustments when I need to and in what stories I make those changes. My students always inspire me, because they are still so new to the world. The possibilities are boundless for their lives and I want to show them that with hard work and grit you can meet your goals and perhaps much more.
Where do the ideas for your books come from? Can you walk us through the creative process a little bit?
Oh, well, my strange imagination, I guess. I see something, or read something, and my mind instantly goes to a place of, “what if this happened instead?” So, once I have that thought, I begin to flesh it out as a possible story to spend time on developing. Time is a nonrenewable resource, so it’s precise. If I decide that this story is worth vetting, then I go for it. All stories are worth pursuing, but not all stories are asking to be heard or read.
After such a busy year of having books published, what’s next for you? Will you take some time off? Or, do you have another book in the works?
Currently, I do not feel the need to slow down. My wife, Lori, and I are empty nesting, so I have time afforded to me to be creative. I’m working on several projects, books and beyond, and am loving my collaborations. I’m writing a historical fiction book and a great guy and author named Jeff Bailey, and tons of projects with Narrative Retail. I’m on the ground floor with these awesome creatives and thinkers and cannot wait to see where our paths go.