Accountant + Novelist = What?!
Chatham Accountant, Rebecca Luman spends her 9-5 crunching numbers for the University, but when she isn’t balancing our accounts, she is writing paranormal and erotic romances under the pen name Rexi Lake. Currently she has written and self-published seven novels, with many more in the works. We caught up with her to see how she pulls it off, where she finds her inspiration, and who her favorite characters are—just kidding, she can’t choose.
How did you start writing novels?
RL: I majored in English, with a minor in creative writing, so I’ve been writing pretty much my whole life. In 2011, I was living in Baltimore and would go to a local used bookstore for fun. I didn’t realize that November was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) until then. The bookstore was advertising it and I thought, okay, I’m going to go for it. My first book began then. I finished 50,000 words in a month. Then it sat for a couple of years. I picked it back up, and it went from being “chick-lit” to being a romance novel. That book, Claimed by Christmas, ended up being 120,000 words. It was published in 2017.
How many novels have you published?
RL: I have six full-length novels, one short novella, and one introduction to another book in an anthology. A year ago, I did my first book signing and I had three books. I did the same signing last weekend and I had six books with me, plus a seventh that had just been published. I added three full-length novels, the short story, and the novella within a year.
When do you have time to write?
RL: At midnight *laughs*. I go home, I pick up my daughter—I’m a single mom. Every other weekend she is at her dad’s, so I take that time to write. I also write after she is asleep. 9:00 p.m. to midnight is when I’m working on anything writing-related. I’m independently published so everything—social media, marketing—is on me.
Can you talk about what your writing process looks like?
RL: It varies. The first book was never meant to be more than one, and it sparked an entire series. I have at least another twenty books planned in the series. I know the characters, I know their backstories and where I want them to go. When I sit down, I am very character-driven. The characters are what make my stories. I want them to be my best friends.
Do you feel like your characters have minds of their own?
RL: Oh yes, very much so. I will start going in one direction and they will inevitably lead me in the opposite; then I do a 180.
What’s it like to be an accountant and a novelist? Do these two identities ever intersect?
RL: They’re mostly separate. But I take a lot of experiences I’ve had and work them into my characters. In the first book, my main character Katarina is an account manager. Her job description is based on the place I was working at the time. A lot of her life is derived from my day-to-day life back then.
You really get to work both sides of your brain.
RL: I really do, and I need to. If I’m too enmeshed in one side, the other side starts yelling at me. Usually its characters yelling at me to write my stories. I have to say, numbers first, then characters. I enjoy that side of my life; I enjoy numbers lining up.
Since you write a lot of fantasy and paranormal fiction, where do you find the inspiration for that?
RL: I read it a lot. I’ve always read. I grew up on the Harry Potter series. Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon Riders of Pern, I found that in middle school. I’ve always loved Disney movies, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, they’re all fantasy. Creating my own characters, drawing from mythology, was the next step in the evolution. My paranormal series draws in gods, goddesses, mermaids, vampires, shifters, and demons. They’re all interconnected because the gods had a contest and, instead of just creating the human race, all these other races got created as well.
What’s the most difficult aspect of writing?
RL: The editing. I hate the editing. It’s a good process and its terrifying at the same time. The worst part is getting it back from my editor and hearing, ‘I get what you’re trying to say but I don’t feel it yet.’ What I put on the page is not always exactly what’s in my head; I have to find that balance.
What aspect of your writing do you find the most rewarding?
RL: Getting messages from readers takes the cake. I could be having a bad day, and I’ll get a message from somebody that says, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it, I don’t know what’s going to happen next but I can’t put the book down.’ When people love my characters as much as I do, it’s very rewarding.
What book of yours would you recommend readers start with?
RL: If you’re comfortable with very high heat level (🔥🔥🔥) go with Claimed by Christmas. If you’re good with paranormal, try For the Love of Coffee, which is the first in that set. The newest novella that is out is a “Fairy Fale.” It’s about the wicked stepsister in Cinderella getting a second chance in the contemporary world. It’s a short lunchtime read.
To check out Rexi Lake’s writings, visit her Amazon page.