In conjunction with National Novel Writing Month, the Los Angeles Public Library is proud to spotlight some of our great local authors who have submitted their e-books to our Indie California collection.
Author Bio: Sylvie Fox lives and works in Sherman Oaks. She is the author of women’s fiction including The Secret Widow, as well as the sexy contemporary L.A. Nights series, and the Casey Cort series of legal thrillers.
The Good Enough Husband is Fox’s third novel. It answers the question of what happens when a married woman meets their soul mate, but she is already married to someone else. The book tackles secrets, lies, and consequences.
Don’t Judge Me is Fox’s fourth novel. Set in Los Angeles, this is the story of a Korean American comedian whose career has come to one night gigs, one night stands, and one night in jail. When he meets a prim and proper Ivy League transplant, sparks fly. Can this rakish comic change a woman’s ideas about love and fortune?
Don’t Judge Me and The Good Enough Husband were both designated SELF-e Select titles by the staff of Library Journal and are now available at participating libraries nationwide. The Los Angeles Public Library congratulates Sylvie on her double award—let’s hear a bit more about her and her winning titles!
It’s so fun to hear all the LA neighborhoods and locations name checked in Don’t Judge Me. Do you find Los Angeles to be an inspiring setting?
I do find Los Angeles inspiring. I’ve lived here for fourteen years in West Adams and Sherman Oaks. I love walking and driving in many different neighborhoods. There isn’t a day that I don’t walk by a house with its lights blazing, or a whispering couple and wonder, ‘what’s their story?’ My characters have lived in Studio City, BHPO, Mid-City, South LA, North Hollywood, Los Feliz, and West Hollywood. Southland locations make my books very real for me and I hope for my readers as well.
In your afterword you write that “the characters in my romance novels experience passion, angst, and conflict, but always get their ‘happily ever after.’” How do you so deftly balance the heavy topics you are exploring in both novels with romance and humor?
What I love about libraries is the wide breadth of stories available. I seek to write the kinds of books I’ve loved most throughout the years. I touch on some very heavy topics like infidelity, immigration, and dysfunctional families because those issues are real to many in our community. Without love and laughter, though, the books would be too heavy. I try to maintain a balance.
In both your novels you very effectively use the technique of alternating between the two main characters’ point of view. What do you like about this narrative structure?
When I was growing up, the shift from a single character’s point of view in many novels to multiple points of view was one of the greatest evolutions of the novel structure. I alternate because I as a reader like to know what other characters are thinking. So many books left me to interpret from actions what someone other than the protagonist thought. Now we know. I hope that my use of multiple points of view helps explain their actions while still leaving a bit of mystery until the end.
What other writers inspire you?
When I didn’t write full time, I’d read up to five books a week. Hundreds of authors have informed who I am as a person and artist. If I had to boil it down, though, I’d say my inspiration comes from Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy (two authors who knew about tragedy), Elizabeth George and Phillip Margolin (they create great tension), and Julia Spencer-Fleming and Sarah Mayberry (they make me feel deeply).
Do you have any advice for first time authors attempting to finish their first novel? Do you have a daily writing routine?
The one thing I always tell first time authors: finish your book. That’s the single greatest accomplishment any novelist can make. Don’t get distracted by other characters, the other stories in your head, or other writers’ careers. Each writer’s path is his or her own. The first step on that path, however, is finishing the book. Editing, publishing, and success are all built upon that first brick.
I write sixteen hundred words a day, Monday through Friday. It’s a routine that works for me.
When writing, do you complete multiple drafts? Did you show unfinished versions to friends or beta readers for feedback?
In writing circles I’m what’s called a pantser, meaning I write by the seat of my pants. When I sit down at the computer in the morning, I have no idea what’s coming. I write the first in a complete linear fashion. While writing that first draft, however, I revise the words from the day before. After that first draft is completed, I make two revisions before sending it off to my editor. I don’t show unfinished versions to friends or beta readers. I’ve tried it, but found it to be a great burden on others whose time is limited.
The self-publishing industry has really exploded, especially in e-books. What advantages and/or challenges do you see in self-publishing your work?
Having been both traditionally published and self-published, I have been subject to the advantages and disadvantages of both. The advantages in self-publishing are that the creator of the work keeps the bulk of money earned. Indie authors are also able to write genre and boundary pushing titles traditional publishers won’t touch. The challenges are those of any entrepreneur. We must build a business from the ground up. That includes creating the product as well as assembling a team of professionals to bring that product to market.
Explore the SELF-e collection to discover more great new talent!
If you are a self-published author please consider submitting your work to the Library’s SELF-e platform. Click here to learn more.