Lance LaCoax is a product of the 80’s. Though born in 1971, he says he didn’t really begin living until he purchased his first pair of Jams in 1985. In 1987, he achieved the perfect mullet. And in 2002 he had the idea for his first novel.
About the novel, Lance says, “Real life is not always pretty. Not always bright. Sometimes, a soul lost in the dark craves more than just humor. Sometimes a flashlight is more practical. My hope is Cellar Doors will be that flashlight to someone wandering in the dark…”
Lance and his wife, Jennifer, live in Middle Tennessee with their four children and two spoiled cats.
What sparked your writing journey?
My whimsical answer: I would like to think my dream of becoming a writer manifested early in life as an improv storyteller. And though I loved spinning elaborate tales of secret adventures for my friends and younger relatives, my writing journey began with a different type of storytelling…
The truth: My destiny with fiction actually began in the eighth grade. Where out of sheer laziness and procrastination, I totally disregarded my summer reading assignments and simply wrote my book reports based on dust jackets, last pages, and lots of guessing. (Um… Mrs. Wendt, if you’re out there, please consider this my official confession and apology. As a token of remorse, perhaps I should give The Scarlet Pimpernel another go.)
My scholastic trickery earned me a B+ in Summer Reading. And just like that, a fiction writer was born.
In the beginning, Cellar Doors was not intended to be a novel. The story is actually based on a true-life account. I’m sure you remember the fall of ’02 when the Beltway Sniper was randomly terrorizing service stations up and down the east coast. Well, my family and I lived in Virginia Beach at the time. I vividly recall the anxiety I felt every time the gas gauge leaned toward empty. The reality that some deviant could be lurking just out of sight with the intention of killing me while I did something as mundane and normal as pumping gas was unnerving, to say the least.
On this particular evening, I was coming home from work and needed to stop for gas. I’d put it off as long as I could and the sun was already dipping into the ocean when the station came into view. The fading light added to my nervousness. Coming around the corner, I was met by the illuminated SHELL sign floating above the station. Except the ‘S’ was burned out.
Needless to say, I didn’t stop at the ‘HELL’ station. Instead, I went home and wrote the experience on a notepad. Years later, this would become the foundation of my first suspense novel.
Besides entertainment, what do you hope readers will take away from it?
It’s a simple tale of redemption. Though I didn’t write for a specific audience, I believe that out of the abundance of the heart, the pen writes. You will find a moral undercurrent is always present in my stories. My heart is that Cellar Doors will be a spark of hope in someone’s dark circumstance.
Detours in life can be frustrating—kind of like plot twists in the stories we write—but the outcome is often more intriguing than our original plan. Can you tell us about a “detour” in your life that taught you something?
I know I’m supposed to share something enlightening here, but when you said ‘detour,’ I couldn’t help but smile. The GPS in my car speaks foreign languages. I sometimes go with Chinese just to hear it tell me to “make a u-turn here.” Granted, I generally have no idea where I am or where I’m going; but I still get a kick out of the ride. Maybe that’s the story of my life.
I’m thinking about upgrading to the Darth Vader GPS voice. “Luke, I am your father. And you missed your turn…”
What’s next for you as a writer?
Shadows of Willow, the sequel to Cellar Doors, is in process now. Haven’t set a release date yet; but I have been threatened, I mean encouraged, to quit goofing around and finish it. I’m also very excited about a stand-alone novel I’m working on. It revolves around guardian angels. I’ll have more info about it on my FaceBook page soon.
A few fun questions…
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
I hesitate blaming my junk food vices on writer’s block. So instead, I will make another confession.
I hide candy.
Living with four ‘starving’ teenagers has taught me to be somewhat conniving, if not resourceful. I have a hollowed-out picture frame near my writing desk that holds a secret stash of Hershey’s Treasures (the ones made with toffee). I should probably feel shame or something, but I’m actually quite proud of myself. Besides, I’m pretty sure they’re holding out on me, too. I think they have powdered donuts hidden somewhere upstairs…
This website features musicians as well as writers. Do you have musical, as well as literary, talent?
In the 80’s, I made mixed tapes on my boom box. Of course, this was before YouTube, Pandora, or i-Tunes. So, if you wanted the latest hits (Men at Work, The Police, and such) and were too cheap to buy the cassette, you had to record them off the radio. The trick was being able to anticipate the precise moment when the DJ stopped talking and just let the song play. I became somewhat renowned in my ability of consistently hitting that magical ‘sweet spot.’ I feel this should give me a couple musical talent points.
If you were a song, what kind of song would you be?
I am the compilation and manifestation of 80’s music.
In the story that is your life, are you the tall, dark stranger; the romantic lead; the mythical warrior; the mad scientist; or the child in an adult’s body?
I’m the fifteen year old in the corner sporting a mullet and moonwalking to Billie Jean.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
Gregory is our house cat. He climbs curtains, he breaks things, and he has learned to open doors with his paws. Sometimes, he takes my cell phone, hides under my bed, and sends random texts to the kids. He is a bad cat.
Thank you, Lance. It’s been fun having you as a guest at DivineDetour.
Kathy, thank you so much. I had a blast.
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For more information about Lance, visit his website.
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