Lexi Post, a romance novelist from New Jersey, is a self-proclaimed “native of nowhere.” After resided in cities throughout the U.S. and beyond, Post is currently settled in Citrus County, Florida, where she pens cheeky and passionate romance fiction. A best-selling author in The New York Times and USA Today, Post draws on literary classics as the basis of her tales for the modern romantic.
Post spoke to WUFT News by phone call from her home in Homosassa to share her experiences as a writer and her love of love.
WUFT: How did you start writing romance novels? Have you always been a writer?
LP: I’ve always been a reader. I read romance novels from the time I was in eighth grade and loved them. I was actually an English major in college and grad school, and I ended up teaching. I love literature, but one of the problems with classic literature is almost none of them have happy endings — and I love the happy endings in my romance — so I started writing romance inspired by the classics.
WUFT: You talked about classic literature — are there other places where you draw inspiration from for your characters and plot lines?
LP: Characters are always a mixture of people I’ve met, or known, or me. I may be watching a TV show or a movie, and a character would have an interesting motivation, and I’d be like, “Wow, what if my character did that or had that issue in their background? How would they react?” So, it kind of comes from everywhere, but my inspiration is definitely the literature I read. [For example,] when I use an Edgar Allen Poe story, it’ll be a paranormal. When I use someone like Bret Harte, who wrote about California, then it’s usually contemporary western.
WUFT: If you were to describe your writing style in a few sentences, what would you say?
LP: I don’t like to use huge words like you would expect from an English professor. [My readers] always say that they feel like they’re right there, so that’s what we would call a deep point of view. I try to add a little humor here and there, sometimes when you least expect it. I always try to surprise the reader. I’m always trying something a little bit different, a little bit unique with a twist that you don’t expect.
WUFT: What is the typical writing process for you, from coming up with an idea and drafting to editing and publishing?
LP: Oh, boy — it’s a long one. Basically, once I come up with the idea, there’s three things I need to have: I need to know the background of my hero, the background of my heroine… [and] what the black moment is going to be, that point in the story where it looks like they are not ever going to get together. Once I have those three pieces, then I think about how I want the book to open — and then I just start writing. I’m what they call a linear writer, so I just write straight through from the beginning to the end. That’s my rough draft; then I revise it; then it goes to critique partners and editors, proofers and beta readers; then it can be published.
WUFT: On average, how long does it take you to complete a novel?
LP: It depends on the size of the book. I write basically two sizes [of] books. One is about 50,000-60,000 words, and the other is 75,000-80,000 words. The one that I’m writing right now is one of the longer ones, so that’ll take me about three months to write. Then it takes a number of weeks to do all the other stuff — the editing, the revising, the proofing and all of that before it’s ready. So I would say between conception and when it’s actually out there and published, that’ll be about a four-month process.
WUFT: Do you work on one or several projects at a time?
LP: I only write one story at a time because I’m such a linear thinker. But… I will be writing the rough draft of one book while marketing the book that just came out while I’m coming up with ideas for the next book.
WUFT: What has been your favorite plot or character that you have written?
LP: That’s like asking who’s your favorite child. I have a series about a planet of naked men. I can make up all my own rules… When I do stories on present-day Earth, I have to do my homework. I have to do research. The one I just put out, which is actually set in Florida, is based on a coastguard hero… I had to make sure I had the right kind of helicopter, right of kind uniform. That’s a lot of work besides the writing. With my planet series, it’s my own planet, so I get to do whatever I want. I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but it’s the most fun to write.
WUFT: Is there anything that you include in all of your stories, such as a particular theme or type of character?
LP: My endings always end happily, absolutely — 100 percent on that. That’s one of the reasons why I write them. Also, my men, my heroes, they’re all strong characters, but they’re not jerks. And my heroines are always pretty strong. They’re not wimpy; they’re not following around the hero. They have their own lives, and they generally don’t need him, but it’s nice to have him.
WUFT: What is the hardest part about writing in the romance genre?
LP: Romance, of all the different genres, is the only one that has two protagonists — the hero and the heroine — so you have to focus on both of them, which makes it a little bit more complicated. It took me a while to admit it, but I was born a romantic, and there’s nothing I can do about that. I embraced that and just went with it. For me, writing romance is very easy. The thing I love about romance is that good out wins evil every single time, and love conquers all. That positive, optimistic message is very important to me.
WUFT: Besides writing, how are you involved with other aspects of your novels, specifically the book covers?
LP: When the publisher publishes your cover, usually they’ll give you a sheet where you can explain what you need. With the independently published ones, I’m very involved… I can pick my model, my photographer. I have a lot of say in those… even with the color of the font and the size and everything. That takes some time, but it’s nice, and it takes me away from the focus of writing.
WUFT: What are your other hobbies? What do you do when you are not writing?
LP: That’s not much time. I generally get into my office at 8:30 in the morning. I work until midnight. I do make time to go to my line dance class twice a week. I love to dance. That’s probably my biggest focus outside of writing. My husband dances also, so we do that together.