Layla Dorine lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.
What do you think makes your book stand out from the crowd?
The biggest thing is the snake shapeshifters, they aren’t commonly used, unlike wolves and bears, and instead of mingling them with modern society, I took the characters to their own society for most of the book and show the readers how they interact there and what is going on in the politics of their world.
What’s the one thing that has really surprised you since you started writing?
How many ideas I end up with at once, and how hard it can be to keep up with them all. The other thing that’s been surprising is how much fun interacting with others on facebook and twitter can be. I’m usually so introverted, but I talk to more people online than I do day to day around town, and I live in a small town where just about everyone knows one another.
Is there message in your novel that you hope readers grasp?
Yes, actually. The gist of it is, do not let the way others might treat you jade your outlook of those who have never done you wrong. Look at everyone you meet with a clean slate, don’t compare them and don’t hold your grudges with someone else against them. Also, belonging isn’t about where you were born, but where you fit in. Finding one’s tribe is important and in doing so, can reveal more about yourself than you could ever know.
One food you don’t care if you never eat it again.
Spaghetti Squash. I’m all for learning to eat healthier, but it was so bland and tasteless when I tried it, it was like eating paper or wood, even with sauce on it.
5 Things people wouldn’t know about Layla Dorine.
I love the rain and thunderstorms, not just listening but walking in it. I actually miss my old house and the land around it, it was so private, I could shower in the rain.
I used to be an avid swimmer, and did the mile and a half ocean swim called the Swim For Saipan when I was 12.
My first job was in a book store and comic shop, I pretty much had my paychecks spent before I even got them. I loved nothing more than shelfing books or checking them against inventory to see what we could take when someone brought them in. We were a used bookstore, and I remember being able to easily add to my book collection because there were just so many shelves to choose from.
I love to sing, I sing while I cook, or do housework, I sing in my truck while I’m driving, I sing to my dog, I sang to both my kids when they were little. I’ve even tried karaoke, which I loved. Music is so very important to me and it brings me joy to belt out a tune.
Seafood is my weakness. I love it, anytime I can get it, I will go out of my way to have it. I miss living near the ocean where it was always so easy to get. Lobster and Crab in particular, I just love. I am ashamed of my Red Lobster bill the rare times I get to go.
Do you have a Bucket List? If so top 5 things on it
- Visit Alaska and take a bunch of pictures
- Spend the summer living in a cabin in the mountains
- Go on a cruise someplace warm and tropical
- Visit Scotland and photograph as much as I can
- Go white water rafting
What are some jobs you’ve held? Have any of them impacted your writing? How?
Beach and Parks officer
Sow farm worker
I’ve worked so many aspects into my writing, especially bartending, waitressing and cooking, some of the things written in Roadhouse Reds were things that took place where I was working at the time. I’ve also worked in some jail bits into a current WIP and overall, my jobs have given me things to draw from, experiences, good and bad, that can be woven into stories.
Have you ever gone to a convention? If so, how was it? If not, do you think it’s something you’d like to do in the future?
I am looking forward to GRL this year, I really wanted to go last year, but missed the signups. I have been to BDSM Writers con twice, once in New York City and once in Everett, Washington. Both times were amazing, I learned so much, and met some awesome people who I get to talk with on Facebook regularly. I also met my new publisher there and she has been phenomenal. I also went to the Native American Literature symposium in Minnesota this past spring, and enjoyed the panels and the discussion of events and book choices.
Have you ever written a scene where it has reduced you to tears?
All the time. Several in Guitars and Cages, but there are a few in Serpent’s Kiss too. When my characters can reduce me to tears I know that I’ve really connected with them. In Serpent’s Kiss, the scene features my main character, Darian, being moved from his room to an almost dungeon like room, over something that absolutely had not been his fault and the feeling of defeat and betrayal he felt in that moment.
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
Asher in Guitars and Cages, mostly because I’d written him for so long up until that point that I really felt like he was a part of me, but also because there was so much of friends in there, and experiences and things I’d seen and hurts that were shared with others that used to be close. There was so much hiding that was very personal to me, and so much want and self-loathing too.
While searching for their missing sibling, Zaiden and his sister, Kaandhal come across the last pure blooded psy-clairvoyant of their kind. Unfortunately for them, Darian has no idea what he truly is and isn’t much interested in learning, or in helping them locate their brother, Zxex.
A bounty hunter by trade, who’s been all but banished from his family due to his visions, Darian’s a bit cynical about his ability to be of any assistance to them. Never-the-less, Zaiden brings him back to their home Rhumba, where Darian discovers that very little is what it seems.
With plots unfolding all around them and discoveries about his own heritage leaving Darian reeling, he is left with the choice of whether to embrace who and what he is, or spend every moment with them a prisoner on the fringes of their society.
Add in a pesky little bond that only seems to grow the more time he and Zaiden spend together, and several factions looking to gain possession of him and Darian is left wondering if his visions just might be the least of his troubles.
It took him back to another time, to home, when he was still too young to fully understand just how differently he was being treated. In those days, when the flashes of the future he glimpsed showed moments of sadness, he did everything he could to cheer the other person up. When he caught glimpses of troubled times, he attempted to give warnings, going so far as to throw himself between his older brother and a heavy piece of iron seconds before it fell. His leg had been broken for his efforts, but it was better than the vision he’d received of his brother with a huge, bloody gash in his skull, twitching in the hallway.
Blinking back the memory, he drew away from her touch and its warmth. “It only seemed to scare them more,” he admitted.
“But that was no fault of yours,” Kaandhal insisted. “The fault lay with them. Everything you attempted to do was out of love for them, and they repaid that love with scorn and fear, pushing you aside for it. You did not deserve that. Now we are giving you a second chance, but this time, it is up to you to take it. You can hold on to the pain that you carry, you can continue to lash out at the world over the actions of a handful, or you can stand up and be a man and do what you were born to do.”
He was silent for a moment, studying her.
“And if I choose not to use my gifts?” he asked. “If I choose to keep burying them, then what? Your brother seems convinced that someone is going to come hunting me. I’ve got nowhere to go. Will you throw me out of here if I don’t do what you want?”
Tight lipped she shook her head, regarding him sadly. “No. This is your home for as long as you choose to live in it.”
The shock must have registered on his face because her expression changed. “I am so sorry that you’ve grown up to be so skeptical of people.”
“I…” he stammered, shocked at the honest emotion in her voice. “Thanks.”
She smiled then, a soft one, honest and kind. “I have faith in you, Darian. You are capable of great things and I know you will help us bring Zxex back home where he belongs.”
“I wish I was as sure of that as you are,” he admitted. “Kyle…Zxex and I had one hell of a falling out.”
“Might I ask what it was about?” she asked.
Another heavy sigh escaped him as he sank down on the edge of the bed and buried his head in his hands. “He saw me the same way that you do, but more than that, when I looked into his eyes I accidently saw the future, my future and how it related to him.” Darrell shook his head. “I couldn’t handle it, the trust, the expectation. You do know what I do for a living, right? Why there were guns all over my place?”
“Yes,” Kaandhal acknowledged. “You are a bounty hunter, or were, you will not need to make that kind of a living here.”
“And you know that I use my gifts to help me find the people I’m chasing,” he prompted. “That I dig around in the heads of their friends and family until I find the clues I need to locate them. Then I bring them in and I collect on their misfortune.”
“You regret it.”
“How can you tell?” he asked. “Reading my mind again?”
“No, it is in the sound of your voice and the sorrowful look in your eyes. It’s in the way you are curling in on yourself, as if you wish to hide. You do not have to be ashamed here either, Darian. None will hold your past against you. This is a clean slate. All you need to do is embrace it.
Layla Dorine can be found at:
Author Website: layladorine13.wix.com/layladorineauthor
Author on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9814124.Layla_Dorine