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IRDA Winning Author Madison Lux: “Figuring out how to make your book stand out from the rest can be very difficult.”

Lila and Lucas was the winner in the LGBTQ+ (Fiction) category of the 2020 IndieReader Discovery Awards, where undiscovered talent meets people with the power to make a difference.

Following find an interview with author Madison Lux.

What is the name of the book and when was it published?

My book is called Lila and Lucas and it was published at the beginning of 2020.

What’s the book’s first line?

“For as long as she could remember, Lila had felt like a puzzle piece that had been smashed into the wrong spot.”

What’s the book about? Give us the “pitch”.

Lila is a young woman struggling to navigate the world of work and dating after college. After securing an internship at her dream job, she finally feels like things are on the right path. That is, until her life is turned upside-down when her best friend Becca is sexually assaulted. This event sets Lila on a path to create change in a justice system that failed Becca. However, helping Becca overcome her attack might be more than Lila can handle. Lucas is a young man working at a job he hates just to get by. He does not feel at home in his own body and struggles intensely with his sexuality. His best friend Jake is the one person he feels comfortable around, but even this is made more complicated when he realizes his growing feelings for Jake. As his depression increases, it becomes unclear if Lucas will survive. When the two finally meet, both are ready to give up. It is only through accepting each other that they have the chance to save themselves.

What inspired you to write the book? A particular person? An event?

I really wanted to find a way to use my passion for writing to help people. I wanted to write a story that would help a marginalized group. With the current social climate, it just made sense to weave women’s rights and LGBTQ+ people’s rights together.

What’s the most distinctive thing about the main character? Who – real or fictional – would you say the character reminds you of?

I think that Lila’s most distinctive feature is her desire to help her best friend Becca. Her motivation to fix our broken justice system becomes almost an obsession. Throwing herself into this project was also a good way for her to not focus on the aspects of her own life that upset her. I think she reminds me a lot of the YouTuber Natalie Wynn.

What’s the main reason someone should really read this book?

If you are an advocate for women’s rights and/or LGBTQ+ rights, this book will definitely appeal to you. I also think it is a good book for anyone looking for a better understanding of why these rights are so important.

If they made your book into a movie, who would you like to see play the main character(s)?

I honestly don’t know, but for the main characters, it would absolutely have to be someone from the LGBTQ+ community.

When did you first decide to become an author?

I can remember from a very young age wanting to grow up and become an author. I have always had a deep passion for writing and can remember writing my very first “book” with a pencil inside of a spiral notebook around the age of twelve.

Is this the first you’ve written?

This is the first book that I have completed and published, but I have several others that I have started. Some won’t go anywhere, but others have potential.

What do you do for work when you’re not writing?

I am a freelance graphic designer, focusing on book and cover design for self-publishing authors. I created the design for my own book and cover.

How much time do you generally spend on your writing?

It depends on the day. When I am really into it, I can write for hours, especially at night. Other times, I can go days or weeks without writing at all.

What’s the best and the hardest part of being an indie?  

The best part is the level of control I have over my book. Like I mentioned, I was able to design the book and cover myself. I was also able to control the advertising campaign that I created on Facebook for the launch. The hardest part (probably for every indie author) is the challenge of getting noticed. Self-publishing is such a big thing right now. Publishing your book is like throwing it into a massive sea of talent. Figuring out how to make your book stand out from the rest can be very difficult.

Would you go traditional if a publisher came calling?  If so, why?  

I am open to the idea. I love how many more people my book could reach through a traditional publisher, but I am reluctant to give up creative control of my book.

Is there something in particular that motivates you (fame? fortune?)

Honestly, my main motivation it just to get this book into as many people’s hands as possible. I think that the message is very important and has the potential to help a lot of people. I encourage everyone who has purchased a paper copy to share it with their friends after reading. I have donating copies to libraries. I even released my eBook for free during this pandemic.

Which writer, living or dead, do you most admire?

Dean Koontz, John Green, Jennifer Niven, and Meg Elison are some of my favorite authors. The stories they weave just carry you away, making it impossible to set the book down.

Which book do you wish you could have written?

I don’t wish to have written anyone else’s book. I know the amount of work that goes into writing a book and wouldn’t wish to take that feeling of accomplishment away from another author. However, I have several books of my own that I wish to finish.