Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

Author Interview with Lindsey Pogue

9 min read
Image from author website

Pogue talks about her writing process, her author coaching (Dauntless Author), and advice for authors

As an Indie Author, I am always curious about what other bigger authors’ processes, services, and advice are.

Recently, I took the leap and reached out to several larger authors, asking if they’d be interested in being interviewed — and I got some yes’s. And one of them was author Lindsey Pogue.

Here is what she had to say.

Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a genre-bending fiction author, writing coach, and the creator of The Dauntless Author workbooks and writing community.

I’m best known for my soul-stirring survival series, Savage North Chronicles, and my dystopian/historical fantasies in the Forgotten World.
As an avid romance reader with a master’s in history and culture, my adventures cross genres and push boundaries, weaving together facts, fantasy, and timeless love stories of epic proportions.

I’ve been writing for over a decade and am about to publish my 30th book. I LOVE interacting with my readers — it feeds my soul and keeps me going in this bumpy industry.

Can you tell us about your writing journey up until now?

I wrote my first new adult manuscript in high school (before that was a genre) but didn’t publish anything until my late twenties when I decided to co-author a series with a friend. 

If I hadn’t had someone to jump into the murky waters of publishing with (before it was as accessible as it is now), I’m not sure I ever would have. I haven’t looked back since.

Looking over your website, which is wonderful, something that caught my eye was the author coaching section called The Dauntless Author. How did this come to be?

The Dauntless Author was born from my readers who were aspiring authors asking me for help. It started with the workbook to help them build their stories and turned into coaching and helping them with edits, etc. 

There are so many aspiring writers, and so many of them chat with each other as readers, not realizing they have similar aspirations, so it’s nice to provide a community for them when they need it.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The first book I wrote was “Reilly” which I drafted in high school and set aside. It was inspired by my life and by my favorite novelist at the time, Nicholas Sparks. It was new adult — angsty and very heartfelt. 

I was going through a lot, and writing was an escape. I have since revised and renamed it Whatever It Takes, which I published under my romance pen name, Scarlet St. James.

I talk with my audience about audience building, writing, and publishing. What do you think authors are struggling with, and what advice would you give them?

One thing I think many of us are struggling with, even if we don’t realize it, is information overload. There is far too much information out there to consume, too many strategies to execute, too many experts telling us what we should and shouldn’t do, and there is still only so much time in the day.

If I’ve learned anything over the past decade, it’s to listen to your gut and focus on what fills your creative well. Why are you doing this job? What is your goal? It’s hard not to get distracted by what everyone else is doing, but what everyone else is doing isn’t always what you should be doing. 

Slowing down, getting clear on your goals, and breaking them into manageable pieces is key to succeeding. It’s an active effort for me and will probably always be. If we spread ourselves too thin and do too many things, it’s hard to tell what’s working, and we want to follow our dreams and work smarter, not harder. So, focus and pacing will make a huge difference.

What is your writing process like? Do you outline your stories, or do you just wing it?

I outline the first half of my project, knowing it could change as I get to know my world and characters better. To start, I write down my must-have scenes, then use them as anchors in my story and connect the dots, if you will, and flesh out scenes that time them all together. 

Once I get halfway through, I plot the rest since I’m more rooted in my world. I always know the end, but I might not know exactly how I’m going to get there in the beginning. 

I outline my entire brainstorming and plotting process in my Story Simplified workbook series. I have a character and world development workbook coming out at some point this year.

Can you offer any advice to authors who are working to gather book reviews?

Reviews can be rough to get. I still struggle with that sometimes. I would suggest creating an advance reader group by asking your readers if they are interested in early copies of your book in exchange for honest reviews. You would need to shepherd them through the process, reminding them where and when to post their reviews, so there is some effort on the author’s part. People who receive the book but don’t provide proof of a review are removed from my list and not sent future books. 

There are also sites like Booksprout and StoryOrigin. I don’t use them, but I believe they help get new readers and eyes on your books through a site that filters the right readers for your story (if I understand the process accurately). Story Origin used to be free, but I don’t know anymore.

What upcoming projects do you have lined up?

I have three books coming out this year: two in my historical fantasy series, Ruined Lands, and a contemporary post-apocalyptic romance called Skies of Fire. I love writing weather-ravaged worlds, epic adventures, and timeless love stories, so you can expect to find all of that in my
stories, no matter the genre. 

For The Dauntless Author, I’ll continue my weekly Substack with reflections, curated resources and information, answers to reader questions, etc. 

There will be a YouTube channel for it at some point, but as I said earlier, I’m slowing down and being intentional so I don’t work myself into the ground. I’m sure many of you can relate.

I found Lindsey Pogue’s book The Darkest Winter and I could not put it down.

I am a sucker for apocalyptical and dystopian novels. And I stumbled across this book series and fell in love with the story and the characters. Better yet, I discovered that there are 7 books in the series!

What is The Darkest Winter by Lindsey Pogue about?

The Virus spread. Billions died. The Ending began.

A group of orphaned misfits. The wildlands of the last frontier. Superhuman abilities, harrowing adventures, and heartbreaking secrets.

Haunting shadows are nothing new to Elle St. James, she’s been running from them all her life. But since the outbreak spread from the lower forty-eight, new monsters lurk in the darkness. After Elle wakes from the fever, capable of horrific deeds, she fears she’s one of them. When she stumbles upon four orphans, Elle’s forced to discover what happens when her greatest fear becomes her darkest secret and her only hope of surviving.

After the world goes mad and takes his family with it, Jackson Mitchell tosses aside his badge and decides a bottle of bourbon and the depths of despair are preferable to any semblance of living. All of that changes, however, when a group of young survivors are in dire need of his help and Jackson sacrifices his blissful oblivion in order to keep them safe. As they trek further away from the collapsing cities, Jackson must rely on his knowledge of the backcountry and the traditions of his people, or succumb to the dangers of the Alaskan wilderness.

Brought together under the worst possible circumstances, Elle and Jackson must face the inexplicable realities of the new world. Their past lives are over, and the Arctic isn’t all that’s savage anymore.

My review:

Author Lindsey Pogue does a wonderful job of creating characters that the reader can latch onto and want to know more about.

The story was well-paced and the world-building was on point. I especially loved the way Pogue takes the reader from pre-apocalypse to the beginning of the apocalypse and finally through post-apocalypse.

The way she shows the world through both Elle’s and Jackson’s eyes throughout the story allows the reader to see how the world has changed.

I honestly found it hard to put this book down.

Readers who like post-apocalyptic, horror, and science-fiction stories will enjoy this book.

I would give this book more than five stars if I could.

Where can you find Lindsey Pogue?