Talli Roland On Writing The Successful Romance Novel And Getting Publicity

Talli Roland - WebName: Talli Roland
Author’s Website
Hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Current Residence: London, UK
Education: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Education, Masters of Journalism
Briefly: Twice shortlisted for the Festival of Romance awards; selected as an Amazon Customer Favorite
Favorite Read: Prep, by Curtis Sittenfeld
Pet Peeves: Slow walkers who block the sidewalk!
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be… A teacher—and I have been!
What You Have Lined Up Next: I’m currently working on The No-Kids Club, about a group of women who form a social network for people without children. It’s slated for release by Amazon Publishing next Spring/ early summer.

Your books all have these funny premises. What usually inspires your plots?

Thank you! I read to escape, so I try to keep the Continue reading

Brenda Novak On The Author As Philanthropist And Writing Series-Friendly First Novels

brenda novakName: Brenda Novak
Author’s Website
Hometown: Vernal, UT
Current Residence: Sacramento, CA
Education: B Young University
Briefly: New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Brenda Novak is the author of more than forty-five books. A three-time Rita nominee, she has won many awards, including the National Reader’s Choice, the Bookseller’s Best, the Book Buyer’s Best, the Daphne, and the Holt Medallion. She also runs an annual on-line auction for diabetes research every May on her website. Her youngest son has this disease. To date, she’s raised over $2 million. Brenda is currently writing a long-running small-town contemporary series set in the fictional Gold Country town of Whiskey Creek.
Favorite Read: Gone With The Wind, Jane Eyre, The Thornbirds
Pet Peeves: Cruelty to the innocent.
If You Weren’t In the Book Industry, You’d Be…a cosmologist.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I’ll be continuing my Whiskey Creek series, which will have a total of 12 – 15 books.

Were you a romance novel fanatic when you were growing up?

Yes. I started with Kathleen Woodiwiss, and she is still one of my all-time faves.

From the Still Water to the Gun for Hire series, you are a series queen. How do you know when to stop a series and move on to something else?

It’s basically when there’s Continue reading

Author Catherine Bybee On Facebook Groups And Life-Write Balance

catherine bybee-photoName: Catherine Bybee
Author’s Websites
Hometown: Washington State
Current Residence: Southern California
Education: LAC USC County School of Nursing (Yeah, I’m an RN)
Brief: New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, #1 Amazon Bestseller. Yadda, yadda.
Favorite Read: Too many to pick just one.
Pet Peeves: Oh, now… we don’t want to get into that…do we?
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A wanna-be writer.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I have a time travel being released in November. Highland Protector is book five in my series. And book four of my Weekday Bride series, Single by Saturday, is being released in January 2014. I’ll be writing a fifth book in my bride series and forth book in my Not Quite series in the next six months. Release dates TBA.

You have written so many romance novels. Do you think that Prince Charming can truly exist for some people?

I think everyone has someone out there for them. He might Continue reading

Rachel Van Dyken On Doing Historical Research For Books And Critical Reviews

rachel van dyken0 Name: Rachel Van Dyken
Author’s Website
Hometown: Sunnyside, WA
Current Residence: Boise, ID
Education: Social Sciences degree, minor in Spanish with MBA in HR
Briefly: #1 NY Times Bestseller, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller.
Favorite Read: Anything by Julia Quinn.
Pet Peeves: Popping knuckles—husband does this when I’m trying to sleep.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…A school counselor.
Up Next: Elect – sequel to Elite

Do you think having an MBA has helped you in terms of dealing with the business aspect of the publishing business?

Totally. I always joke about how Continue reading

Cathy Bramley On Book Marketing And Self-Publishing Lessons Learned

cathy bramleyName: Cathy Bramley
Author’s Website
Hometown: Birmingham, UK
Current Residence: Nottingham, UK
Education: BA Hons European Business
Briefly: Just self-published my first book Conditional Love and it got to #14 in UK Kindle charts in Humour/Love, Sex & Marriage on its first day
Favorite Read: Bridget Jones
Pet Peeves: chewing gum on the floor
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…Spa resort manager, I’d feel like I was on holiday everyday.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I’m working on a new romantic comedy its working title is Holding Back.

Who’s your favorite book heroine?

Well, I love Bridget Jones!

Considering your fear of bananas, if someone were to offer you a free all-exclusive vacation to India, the world’s biggest producer of bananas, you would decline?

No! I’d still go. For our honeymoon, we went to the Florida Keys, we got into our ground floor room and opened up onto the terrace to find a banana tree right outside the door, straining under the weight of ripe bananas. I did freak out, but still managed to enjoy the holiday. If I can survive that I’m sure I could dodge Indian bananas.

You have a marketing agency. Has that proven to be helpful in marketing your Continue reading

Author Jeff Rivera On Traditional Vs. Self-Publishing

jeff rivera8Name: Jeff Rivera
Author Website
Hometown: Hillsboro, Oregon
Current Residence: Costa Rica
Education: Glencoe High School
Briefly: Journalist, Author of Forever My Lady and No Matter What
Favorite Read: The Cheese Stands Alone
Pet Peeves: Selfish people.
If You Weren’t In the Book Industry, You’d Be… A College Professor or a Computer Programmer.
What You Have Lined Up Next: The prequel to my original novel, Forever My Lady.

Did you love reading when you were a little boy?

Absolutely. I loved hiding in the school library to get away from having to play at recess.

What inspired you to write your first novel Forever My Lady?

I was working at K-Mart. It was my first job after having been homeless at 19. I Continue reading

Marisa Cleveland On Being A Romance Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAName: Marisa Cleveland
Author Website
Hometown: Concord, New Hampshire
Current Residence: Marco Island, Florida
Education: B.A. and M.A.
Briefly: Two-time all-around gymnastics state champion waaaay back when in New Hampshire for Class III and Level 8.
Favorite Read: Too many to name, but Atlas Shrugged defined me in high school.
Pet Peeves: People putting on cosmetics in cars while driving, and people who say they don’t read books.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be… dead.
Up Next: Preparing for South Beach book two’s release, revising book three, and remembering to enjoy the journey.

Who was your favorite romance novelist growing up?
I devoured romance novels as teen! Too many great Continue reading

Patrice Kindl On How To Grow As A Writer

PatriceKindlName: Patrice Kindl
Author Websites
Hometown: Ballston Spa, NY
Current Residence: Middleburgh, NY
Education: Webster College, St. Louis, MO (drama – didn’t finish)
Briefly: Author of Owl in Love, The Woman in the Wall, Lost in the Labyrinth, Keeping the Castle, A School for Brides
Favorite Read: Jane Austen, Diana Wynne Jones, Margaret Mahey, mysteries, and on, and on.
Pet Peeves: Well, I am sitting here watching my Panama Amazon parrot digging inside her ear canal (birds have them, even though you can’t see them) with one long claw. Gross! Stop that, Bree! She is a pet, so I assume that qualifies.
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…Deeply unhappy and doing something else very badly. No, really, I have long mental lists of careers I would stink at: CEO—hate meetings—garbage man—not strong enough—CPA—can’t add—truck driver—poor spatial skills. I can cook, so maybe someone would take me on as a sous chef. I make good soup.
What You Have Lined Up Next: I am working on a book. I’m sorry, but it is quite different from anything I’ve done before and I don’t want to talk about it yet.

So, you went to a theater school! Is it safe to say that the first thing you ever wrote was a theater play or a monologue?

No, very dangerous. I have in fact never written either. I realize now that I went into theater as a young woman because I didn’t think that “they” would let me be a writer, and theater was a poor second choice. I appeared in a few commercials and some off-off-broadway, and just missed a major role in a pretty bad movie that sank from sight within a week of opening.

I find it interesting that your last name is Kindl.

Roughly translated from the German, ‘kindl’ means “little child”. I am actually more Irish than anything else, but some of my father’s ancestors were from Austria. I am no relation to the Kindle, of eBook fame, sadly. I could use some royalties.

What inspired you to write Keeping the Castle?

I was reading yet another historical fiction in which the heroine had a mind above marriage and instead devoted her energies to tracking murderers through the slums of London or something equally gender-busting. Yes, I understand and approve of the motives for reimagining the traditional heroine in period literature, but the reality was that marriage was by far the best option for a woman up until the twentieth century—and past it into today, for most of the world’s females. I got impatient with this rewriting of history and imagined a character whose goal was quite frankly matrimony, and the richer the bridegroom was, the better she would be pleased.

What do you enjoy most about writing for young adults?

On some levels I think I am about 14 years old. While I certainly do read fiction and non-fiction for adults, I love the literature of this age, especially toward the younger end of YA. I find it very satisfying.

Is writer’s block the worst thing about being an author?

Yes.

Once you get an idea, how do you make sure that it stays viable?

The rule is, once I have three full chapters and have started the fourth, the book is going to happen. It’s a matter of momentum. On the other hand, I cannot tell you how many one- and two-chapter scraps I have drifting around the hard drive of my computer like orphaned ghosts, weeping bitterly and rending their tattered garments.

patrice kindl

What factors do you think have contributed to your growth as a writer?

Oh, reading, of course. All writers are the offspring of the books they read in their youth. This is another reason why I consider children’s and YA literature at least as important as writing for adults. If people do not learn to love reading in their formative years, most will never learn. And writers for adults unconsciously steal from their childhood favorites all the time. They just throw in some sex and cursing to make it seem worthy of our grown-up attention.

You have an almost anti-sequel stance. But if you were to write a sequel to a book you’ve written, which book would be most likely?

[Blushing] Ummm…the one I just finished writing? Yes, I have written a sequel to Keeping the Castle. It’s called A School For Brides and it concerns a small finishing school for young ladies in Lesser Hoo, run by Miss Winthrop and Miss Hopkins and another lady. It was actually quite fun.

At one point, you were involved with a program called Helping Hands, in which you were responsible for raising two monkeys to assist quadriplegics. How nice.

Yes, it was wonderful, but very time consuming and restrictive (hard to go away on vacation – qualified monkey-sitters are difficult to find in rural upstate New York. It was a great experience and I miss the Gorilla Girls—no, actually, they were Capuchin monkeys – I just called them that—very much. So many memories, sniff, sniff.

In hindsight, what do you wish you had known about book marketing when you started?

That I was going to have to do it. It’s so ha-a-r-r-rd to do. Whine. Continue reading

Lauren Layne on New Adult Romance And Creating Original Protagonists

lauren layneName: Lauren Layne
Author’s Website
Hometown: I always say Seattle, but technically it’s Federal Way which is just south of Seattle.
Current Residence: Tacoma, WA, which is just a bit south of Federal Way. In between my stints in the Seattle area, I’ve lived in the Bay Area, Orange County and Manhattan. I have a strange hankering to try Texas on for size next, but we’ll see!
Education: Bachelors Degree from Santa Clara University
Briefly: In the writing world, I’m delighted to say that I write for two publishers. I write contemporary romance and new adult for Random House, and contemporary romance for Grand Central Publishing. Getting published felt like the biggest accomplishment, but then going on to write for two houses sort of launched me into this surreal world of, “Holy crap, this is actually happening!”
Favorite Read: I’m all over the place. Some favorites off the top of my head…Practice Makes Perfect (Julie James), Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand), Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens), Perfect (Judith McNaught), Einstein: His Life & Universe (Walter Isaacson), It Happened One Autumn (Lisa Kleypas)…told you I was all over the place! I love romance, but I’m also a sucker for biographies, classics and political theory!
Pet Peeves: Whining. I’m one of those obnoxious, optimistic people that think Continue reading

RP Dahlke On Writer’s Groups And Building A Long-Term Career

dahlkeName: Rebecca Dahlke
Author’s Website:
Hometown: I spent most of my youth on a crop-dusting farm in Ceres, California. This is a small town south of Modesto in the San Joaquin Valley of California
Current Residence: Hereford, Arizona, and another small town, this one south of Tucson, AZ and three miles from the Mexican border—I’m still trying to figure out how that happened?
Education: College/nursing, which was a total waste of my parent’s money, as I knew from the get-go this wasn’t going to be my life’s work.
Briefly: I’m a member of the Tucson Chapter of Sister’s in Crime. I started All Mystery Newsletter in 2010 as a way to promote mystery writers. As of today’s date, I’ve closed the newsletter, so that I could devote my time to writing, but I still have three groups and they are self-serve promotion.
Favorite Read: Funny, clever, smartly done mysteries
Pet Peeves: Peeves make terrible pets so I refuse to have one
If You Weren’t a Writer You’d Be…You know how when you ask an actor if they’d recommend theater as a career and they always say, “Pick something else?” Ever wonder why that’s never the answer from a writer? Probably because this is our dream job. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do!
What You Have Lined Up Next: I just finished the sequel to A Dangerous Harbor, and Hurricane Hole will go up on Amazon mid-October. Then I will start my 4th in the Dead Red Series. I will be at the Tucson Festival of Books, and Left Coast Crime, Monterey, in 2014

When you were a little girl, what impression did you have of writers?

I was absolutely awed at the writers’ ability to transport me into another world, and then I wanted to know–how did they do it, and how could I do it?

dahlke 9

So, you were part of a writing group in the East Bay area. Do you think that helped shape your writing?

I was very grateful that Penny Warner gave me the opportunity to be part of this critique group. They were all mystery writers, and I knew nothing about writing mysteries—only that I wanted to write mysteries.

RP Dahlke versus Rebecca Dahlke. What would you say is the difference between the two?

I write as RP Dahlke-not much of a shift, but it’s easier to remember than Rebecca Phillips Dahlke

A Dead Red Cadillac was inspired by real-life events?

Well, certainly some of it was. I ran my father’s crop-dusting business for a short time and came out of that experience with plenty for the books. As for A Dead Red Cadillac, the main plot, using airplanes to transport drugs, is a known fact, and crop-dusters with their ability to carry a heavy payload are perfect for the task. However, finding a pilot greedy, or stupid enough, to risk his or her career for this sort of thing is, thankfully rare.

Speaking of that book, do you generally give titles to your book after they’re completed, or prior to writing them, or even while you’re writing them?

I title each book at its inception, because when I actually put my fingers to the keyboard to write the first chapter, I’ve already sketched out the story. In A Dead Red Cadillac, the reader may think that the caddy in the lake is unrelated to the crime, but it is connected, and through a convoluted story of a twenty-year old unsolved murder.

book cover8

What do you enjoy most about being an author?

Writing is generally a solitary event and I’m an extrovert–seems like a bit of a dichotomy, doesn’t it? But I get my people fix from social media as well as our chapter of Sisters in Crime in Tucson, AZ. This is the best organization for published, as well as aspiring authors and fans of mystery, in the U.S. today. I also love writer workshops because I learn something new every time. I love fan conferences because I make new friends, and meet up with old friends as well. And most of all, I love hearing from readers who take the time to leave a nice review up on Amazon. Every week or so, I go to the book pages and thank the ones who’ve taken the time to leave nice reviews. After all, they have busy lives too. And a good review, no matter how short, just might convince the next reader to take a chance on one of my books.

Hindsight! What are some of the things you wish you had known before publishing your first book?

I don’t even want to think about when I got my first book published. God bless small press publishers, but the minute I learned that Amazon allowed authors to put up their books for sale, I was on it! I could never have the personal and direct interaction with readers I have now when I was with a publisher.

You build your career as an author from the ground up. What tips do you have for authors on building a long-term career?

It is a long-term career, and yes, sales can skyrocket when you have a new release, or win an award, or do a promotion, but it’s building a relationship with your readers who will buy your next book that is important.

How important is internet, from your experience, in the promotion of a book?

Very. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, promotion sites, both paid and free, and last but not least, the bloggers who will invite you to share your story with their readers. I have a free PDF on the subject of promotion for any author who wants it. It’s seven pages of ideas that have worked for me, with plenty of ideas on both free and paid promotion, and the best way to get reviews. Continue reading