Air Force veteran Larissa Ione traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She has since published dozens of books, hit several bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today, and has been nominated for a RITA award. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.
Many writers will tell you they began writing stories the moment they learned to wield a pencil. I’m no exception. But even as a child, I didn’t write “kid” stories. I preferred something more dramatic. Something that didn’t include Dick, Jane, and a dog named Spot. I wanted my dogs to have names like White Fang or Cujo. I’ll always have my parents to thank for that. They never censored my reading material (though I suspect that if they had truly known what was between the covers of some of the books, they’d have been a little more careful,) so when other girls my age were reading Laura Ingalls Wilder and Judy Blume, I was immersing myself in Stephen King and Jack London.
Considering my fiction preferences, it came as no surprise to anyone that my first short stories were tales of horror, and my first novel, penned at the age of 12, was an Alaskan wilderness story with a wolf hero.
Eventually, my interests changed. Oh, I still enjoy a good Stephen King novel, and Jack London remains a favorite, but I discovered some new favorites while I was in college. Robert Jordan. Marion Zimmer Bradley. Mary Stewart. Oh yes, I’d found fantasy. I devoured every novel I could find, and in time I started writing my very own fantasy novel. That novel is still a work in progress, thirteen years later.
Eventually, after I’d read just about every fantasy novel published, I had to switch to something else. That something else was straight historical fiction. Again I exhausted my supply, but my longtime friend from my Air Force days, Karen, came to the rescue with something I never thought I’d read. Something I made fun of her for reading.
She made me read a historical romance.
Thus began a passion for, well, passion. I wanted to write romances, and I wanted to see them in print. To help fulfill that dream, I joined RWA, writers’ lists and critique groups. In order to build some writing credits, I worked on some military and National Weather Service technical manuals. As my writing improved, I began to sell my work to print magazines like The Canine Journal and Dog Fancy, and to online publications such as Writing-World.com.
Then, in early 2006, while in the middle of recovering from hurricane Katrina (and after nearly giving up on writing,) I inked a 3-book deal with Bantam Dell with my collaboration partner, Stephanie Tyler. We write together under the pseudonym of Sydney Croft.
I also sold a series of dark paranormal romances to Warner, a sale that was extremely satisfying because I was finally able to combine my love of romance with the darkness that creeps into my voice, thanks to my youthful and still-present love of horror novels and dark fantasy. This sale also cemented my ability to write full time, a dream come true because of my husband’s Coast Guard career and frequent moves. I can take my job with me! And happily, in March of 2009, the second book in this series hit the USA Today Bestseller list, and in April, the third book, Passion Unleashed, hit both the USA Today AND New York Times bestseller lists.
I’ve also written for Samhain, a wonderfully supportive publisher with a great list of authors.
Most recently, I sold a vampire series to Pocket Books…and I hope there are more to come!
Oh, and the friend who got me addicted to romance? I paid her back by getting her hooked on Star Trek. Live long and prosper, Karen! (One day I WILL write that Star Trek novel!)