Lara Ann Dominick is the Self Published author of Oil and Water, a vampire romance that is steamy and has you on the edge of your seat. It was also the very first book that I reviewed for my Bedside Book Review blog and YouTube Channel.
Lara, a graduate of Rider University, lives in the Tampa area of Florida with her husband, young son and a couple of fur babies. She loves living in Florida for its numerous theme parks that she enjoys taking her son to and for it’s atmospheric weather, often posting videos of the constant thunderstorms on Twitter.
Oil and Water came about after a running injury caused her to rest as the Covid situation hit. She has always written ideas and parts of scenes down, but during lockdown and with the injury forcing her to remain indoors more, Lara decided to do more with the ideas swimming around her head. With the support of her husband she looked back over her notes to find that almost nothing was of any value except for the characters names and the premise of her story; a human woman and a vampire woman telling their story.
Having been a lover of the supernatural genre and especially vampires, even from an early age, Lara knew that her story had to be written about vampires, have strong female lead characters and look at themes of mental health but without being obvious about it. Unlike a lot of vampire stories she did not want the human character to be saved, by a male vampire, from a ‘lonely, mediocre life.’ Lara saw her female human character as having a good life, a family who loved her, friends and a good job. Lara could see that a woman, not a girl, who had such a life and who was pulled into the supernatural world, would see it for what it really is, dangerous, dark and frightening, and regardless of whether the character had fantasised about a ‘vampire romance’ in the past, she would understand the reality and not be the type to find the ‘danger sexy.’
In regards to the lead female vampire character, Lara wanted to bring in some real life issues that women in authority face in their everyday lives, where they have to deal with men feeling they are entitled to women’s bodies. Instead of being portrayed as bloodthirsty and psychotic, in an almost comedic fashion, or as ‘furniture, just there to be a foil to the men’, Lara wanted the character to be realistic and relatable. She wanted to use her story to show how being in a situation where you don’t understand what is happening can be ‘jarring and can absolutely affect your psyche.’
Once she had completed her manuscript, Lara had been given some advice about publishing in the traditional way that immediately made her take the Self Publishing route into getting her book out there for readers. Although she has learnt an awful lot about the processes, including the dedication it takes to market a book oneself, she feels that with the reception her book has received that she wished she had at least tried querying with the Oil and Water manuscript. However, with the sequel and any subsequent books Lara says she would definitely self publish again if she isn’t able to find representation.
Talking about a sequel, Lara was kind enough to discuss a little about the story, without giving too much away about the first book, in case there are any readers out there who have yet to read Oil and Water. You know I try to avoid spoilers as much as I can.
Book two starts forty years after the end of Oil and Water, following our vampires as they navigate a world that has become harder for them to survive in thanks to human wars, natural disasters, and even technological advances that they can’t use. There’s a theme of, just because you’ve found your place in the world, that doesn’t mean the world will keep that place open for you, and it’s up to you to figure out what to do if you find yourself in that position. The characters have a lot of things thrown at them, both told in flashbacks to time between the books and during the course of the new story, but it’s another wild ride with love, loss, self-discovery, and coming to terms with what you can and can’t control.Lara Ann Dominick speaking about the sequel to Oil and Water.
Lara’s writing is dark, gritty and descriptive, her debut book takes the reader on a journey of discovery as we learn more about not just the main characters but also the people around them. It is clear to see that Lara has been influenced in her writing by some of her favourite authors. She admits that she loves Neil Gaiman for how immersed you become in the ‘worlds he builds’, which is something that Lara aims for in her own writing. Also a lover of Anne Rice’s skill at descriptive writing, which is something she aspires to and that she loves the writing of Edgar Allan Poe, with the way he ‘never shied away from things that are dark, gritty, uncomfortable, and could throw a fun twist at you while keeping his writing filled with poetic words, even in his prose.’
When asked how she manages to fit time for writing around her young son, she says that she is lucky in that she can write just about anywhere. She does have a designated desk in her loft, but often finds that she will write sitting next to her son as they watch a movie together, and also strangely whilst relaxing in the bath Lara is able to let the ‘stress of the day out through words.’ She does admit that she can get very wrapped up in her writing, something most authors would probably admit to. She is trying to improve her writing/life balance. One way that helps her with this is her running.
Running is something that Lara uses, not only to keep her body fit but also as a tool that helps her unlock a scene she may be struggling with. She plugs into some music and while she focuses on what her body is doing her brain is able to unpick the pieces of writing that she has found tricky to get down. Running is Lara’s method of waking herself up to ready herself for the day ahead. She is proud to state that she has three marathons, an ultramarathon, and a couple of triathlons under her belt. It is not difficult to see where Lara gets her determination from to make a success of her publishing career.
As well as running, Lara enjoys playing video games, swimming, going to the beach and looking at houses she’ll never buy on Zillow. Her biggest love though is to spend time with her son in a them park.
I’d like to thank Lara Ann Dominick for taking time away from her writing schedule and family to speak with me and if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading Oil and Water then I highly recommend you grab a copy and sink your teeth into it.
Thanks for popping by.