How many books did you write, and how long were you writing, before your first acceptance?
I started writing six years ago. It took me two years to finish my first fiasco of a novel and then another year to write the second. Around that time, I discovered erotic romance and was bitten by the bug. After reading everything Ellora’s Cave had ever published, I ran out of reading material and decided to write my own spicy story. I wrote my first erotic book and it was accepted surprisingly fast.
What was the most surprising thing you learned after becoming published?
That I had no clue how to write! Seriously. If there was anything I could’ve done wrong, I did it. I don’t know how I sold that first book as it was one huge mess—head-hopping, misuse of dialogue tags, overuse of adverbs, no use of pronouns! Jeez! And what did I learn? That editors are gods and I couldn’t live without mine.
Got any advice or an enlightening story about dealing with revisions or working with editors?
My only advice would be to listen to your editor. Books are like children. We all think ours are perfect! Editors are our mothers who don’t have a problem pointing out the kid’s a brat. Always listen to your editor…and your mother!
What’s your favorite promo tip?
I think writers can knock themselves out trying to promote books, wasting a lot of time and money, when the best way to sell a book is to write another one. Every time I have a new release, sales on my backlist go up. That doesn’t happen at any other time, regardless of my promotions.
Did you have an agent when you sold your first story? Do you have one now?
I don’t have an agent and I never have. One of the reasons I love writing ebooks is I feel much more personally connected to the folks behind the scenes who run Ellora’s Cave.
Do you feel there’s a stigma attached to writing erotica/Romantica™?
Unfortunately, I do. I’m a high school teacher and I have to guard my pen name closely because I’m afraid of how the school district would react to my stories. I live in a very conservative town.
How do you handle writer’s block, or do you believe there’s no such thing?
Oh, I do think there is such a thing as writer’s block. I walk away from the story for a little while. Turn off the computer. The longest I’ve ever struggled with writer’s block has been a month. It felt like a long month to me, but one day I woke up ready to write. The stories flowed better than ever before. I think writer’s block is simply our mind’s way of saying, you need a break. Take it.
What lengths have you gone to in the name of research? What wouldn’t you do?
Ooh, is this a sex question? I’m torn between brazenly saying there’s nothing I wouldn’t do “in the name of research” and pleading the fifth! Um…yeah, sorry. I think some things are best left clouded in mystery!
What’s the most important piece of advice you have for aspiring (not yet published) authors?
Oh wow, I wish I had something profound to say, but basically it’s the same thing everyone always says. Find your voice and write. The more you write, the better you’ll get. I have literally hundreds of pages of garbage on my computer from disastrous attempts at writing a book. With each failure, I learned and I moved on. Don’t give up.
Would you offer any word of warning for aspiring or new authors about the writing profession or the publishing industry?
I don’t know if this is a warning or not, but I think you simply need to decide where you want to go with your writing and then chart your course. I have a day job, but writing is my first love. For me, ebooks are a perfect fit because they allow me to share my stories with others while still maintaining my other career.
Anything you want to share with readers about yourself, or previous, current or upcoming EC releases?
My current and upcoming releases with EC center around two different series I’m working on. I’m part of the Cougar Challenge series with six other amazing authors and my book, Assume the Positions, is now available [released November 27].
The second series is one that has come to mean so much to me. It’s called Wild Irish and it revolves around the loves and lives of seven brothers and sisters who work together in the family pub. Come Monday, book one, and Ruby Tuesday, book two, are available now.