Q) How long did it take you to get published? A) Well over ten years. I started writing professionally a few years ago, and I started my publisher search shortly after the completion of my first novel, The Phantom of Fonthill Abbey. Q) What inspired you to write To Love An Irishman? A) Listening to Celtic music a lot. I love the 1800s and Ireland during the time before the Great Famine. Q) Do you have an agent? A) What made you decide to go that direction? No. I shouldn't admit this, but I'm terribly impatient. Besides, I got a publishing offer without one. I do my own promotion/marketing. Am I going to be any less of a writer for my decision? Never! Q) Can you describe your writing process? A) Writing processes vary from author to author. I have personally used the snow-flake method with positive results. Usually I will write down the end of the novel and work on the rest of it from there. Weird, right? Q) What do you do when you have to kill off characters you love? A) Although, I write primarily in the romance genre, I’ve killed off characters that I’ve gained an attachment to. Of course, I don’t necessarily “love” all these people but they’ve added enjoyment to the story and furthered the plot. Since I’m working on a sequel, in order to heighten the circumstances, one of my favorite characters from the previous novel was killed in a carriage accident. As the hero’s uncle, he was a pivotal part of the story, but sometimes in order to up the stakes someone has to lose their life. Q) What do you do when you have to kill off characters you love? A) Although, I write primarily in the romance genre, I’ve killed off characters that I’ve gained an attachment to. Of course, I don’t necessarily “love” all these people but they’ve added enjoyment to the story and furthered the plot. Since I’m working on a sequel, in order to heighten the circumstances, one of my favorite characters from the previous novel was killed in a carriage accident. As the hero’s uncle, he was a pivotal part of the story, but sometimes in order to up the stakes someone has to lose their life. In another work in progress, one of the three main characters does not survive. This devastates my heroine, who is betrothed to him, and you really feel sad for his loss because he was more likable than the other man. But in the end, you realize that he died for a greater cause. I will justify his death in a way where you won’t feel cheated of his presence and you’ll know he’s still around. This is where the paranormal part comes in. If you loved someone that died, you could always bring them back as a ghost or spirit. This always works for me. Q) How are you marketing your work? What have you learned through the process? A) Authors all prefer different ways to promote their books. Since To Love An Irishman is my first traditional release, I’m working more on my platform and connecting more closely with readers all over the world through the internet. I participate in giveaway hops hosted by popular blogs and when my book first launched I went on a blog tour. Of course, I could be setting up signings in local bookstores, but I’ve learned that platform is more important in the beginning stages of publishing. Besides, touring requires time and resources that I don’t have. My advice to those new to publishing, develop a solid marketing plan before your book is released, and then promote at least once a day. You could always do more, but I don’t know about you, I’d rather have time to write more! Q) How did you find an editor you like to work with? A) Actually, I did not get to choose my editor. My publisher, Black Opal Books, has a great number of on-staff editors who cater to your every need. They aren’t too pushy and they understand what it means to maintain the writer’s voice. Usually if you decide to traditionally publish your work, an editor is part of the package. Sometimes they are hired on by freelance writers or someone dedicated solely to editing, but in most cases you get what you bargain for. Q) How did you get published? Why did you decide on this particular publisher? A) Like every author out there, I received my fair share of rejection letters. Writing friends in my Celtic Hearts Romance Writers group posted a link to a website called Savvy Authors (http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/pitchlist.php). They are a site dedicated to writers who help other writers. Once or twice a month they hold a pitch your book opportunity where agents and editors read queries/pitches from hopeful authors. They respond within a week to those who they choose to represent or in my case, ask for full/partial manuscripts. For budding authors, this is a great opportunity to reach out to people you usually cannot touch. Around April of last year, I participated in a few of these pitch events. One pitch went to an agent and another went to an acquisitions editor for Black Opal Books. Although, I didn’t hear back from the agent, I did receive an email from the editor asking for a full manuscript. I sent it almost immediately afterwards, and waited for a reply. Let’s just say, I received a contract offer from BOB and accepted the terms. I chose BOB because they were new and gave me a great opportunity to grow with a small press. Of course, we all shoot for the sky, but sometimes it’s better to land among the stars then to not try at all. You know? They are expanding their horizons, giving their authors more options for their books, and giving authors an opportunity for success. So far, I’ve met wonderful people through my publisher, and I’ve gained more experience than I can ever hope for. Q) How hard was it to get a publisher to read and like your book? A) As I mentioned before, there are website like Savvy Authors who help people find a home for their book. My best advice for those who haven’t made a sale, make sure you edit your manuscript the best you can and write a great query letter. When those two tasks are done, usually all it takes is an email to showcase your work to an editor/agent. In the end, what publishers/agents look for is great storytelling and a unique voice. If you have both, you will have a sell. No problem. Good luck with all your endeavors!
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