How did you become a writer?
How many books have you published to date?
How long does it take you to write a book?
Where do you get ideas from?
Are any of your characters based on people you know?
What is the chronological order of the Wolf Pack Series?
3. Taming the Wolf
4. Seducing the Wolf
5. Recipe for Temptation
6. Tempt Me at Midnight
7. A Holiday Affair
8. This I Promise You
9. Oh Baby
What made you decide to write romantic suspense?
Are you available to speak at book club meetings?
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Do you let anyone read your work before you send it to your editor?
What is the hardest part about writing a book?
What is the best piece of writing advice you've ever received?
What is the most important thing you've learned about the publishing industry?
Do you listen to music while you write?
Speaking of music, do you know that Sade has a song named Maureen?
Yep! I love that song. When I was in college, I used it for my voice mail recording. Very cool. Sometimes I even tell myself that Sade named the song after me. Hey, I can dream, right?
For Aspiring Writers
Can you recommend an agent?
Every writer is unique. An agent who’s perfect for one writer may be ineffective for another. I suggest you consult the Guide to Literary Agents or Writer’s Market Online. I must point out that in this new era of self-publishing, you don’t necessarily need an agent to become a successful published author. In some cases, having an agent can be more of a hindrance than a help.
How do I write a book?
Writing takes a lot of hard work, patience, and determination. If you’re serious about writing a book, I strongly recommend that you take creative writing classes and/or attend workshops where you can learn about the craft of writing. You can also visit your local library or bookstore, or go online to find articles that give valuable tips on writing and getting published. There are tons of resources out there for aspiring writers. You must do your research.
You self-published your first book, Ghosts of Fire, through iUniverse. How would you rate your experience with iUniverse? Should I use the company to publish my book?
First, I would NOT recommend using iUniverse or any other print-on-demand (POD) publisher because there are far better options for writers nowadays—namely, self-publishing through Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, etc. (see my other FAQ response about publishing).
When I was ready to have my first novel published, I researched a number of POD publishers and chose iUniverse based on strong author testimonials and the affordable services the company provided at the time. Ghosts of Fire sold moderately well, received glowing reviews, and won a few awards. It took a lot of hard work and determination on my part to promote the book, but my efforts paid off when I landed a publishing contract the following year. Before you ask—no, my iUniverse experience had nothing to do with the sale. Self-publishing through iUniverse definitely helped me get a product out there, but the rest was up to me. I had to send out copies of the book to reviewers and to local newspaper editors, I entered contests, I set up book signings, I attended conferences and participated in workshops, etc. In other words, I did whatever was necessary (and within my budget) to promote my book and get my name out there. IF you still decide to self-publish through iUniverse, the Publishing Services Associate (PSA) assigned to you should be able to answer your specific questions. A lot has changed since I used the company back in 2002.
Should I get a literary agent?
Literary agents are experts in the publishing industry. They have networking contacts with various editors and know better than writers which editors would be most likely to buy their work. Agents can also give writers an added advantage when negotiating contracts. They know the market value of their clients’ work and know how to negotiate contracts so that writers receive fair terms (ideally). At the same time, no agent is better than a bad agent. An agent who is not willing to work hard on their clients’ behalf is not someone you want representing you. And it’s important to note that in this new era of self-publishing, agents aren’t as essential to writers as they once were. Many unagented authors are enjoying successful publishing careers that allow them to retain complete control over their work and keep all of their earnings. If you feel you must work with an agent, please be sure to do your research and know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. Once you’re ready to begin submitting your manuscript to agents, Writer’s Digest publishes an annual Guide to Literary Agents. It contains a comprehensive listing of literary agents who might be interested in your work, and provides information about various genres they represent, what they’re looking for, the works they’ve sold to publishers, their submission guidelines, etc. Good luck!
I see that you've published some of your work through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Do you recommend this as an option to aspiring writers?
Absolutely! The exploding popularity of ebooks has created new and exciting opportunities for writers to publish their books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords, to name just a few. If you’re interested in self-publishing and earning higher royalties, I strongly encourage you to visit these companies’ websites to learn more about their respective publishing programs. And I highly recommend that you check out bestselling author Joe Konrath’s blog “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing,” as well as The Passive Voice. There’s a wealth of information out there for writers who are interested in self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing. Long live the revolution!
How do I submit my work to publishers?
If you’re not interested in using a literary agent to submit to publishers, I recommend that you research the different publishing houses, find out which ones are publishing books similar to your own, then submit a query letter to the appropriate editor based on the publisher’s guidelines. Never send a complete manuscript to an editor unless they specifically ask for it. And don’t waste your time (and money) sending queries to houses that do not publish the type of book you’re writing.
Can you recommend a publisher or help me get a foot in the door with your editor(s)?
See the above answer to find out the best way to contact a publisher.
Will you read my work and provide feedback?
Unfortunately, no. See, I’m not an editor, agent or writing instructor. Reading and critiquing submissions takes a lot of time. If I did that, I wouldn’t get much else done, namely writing books. And I don’t think my editors or fans would really appreciate that, since they expect me to write books. So please do not send me your work. Pretty please, with sugar on top.
What if I keep receiving rejection letters?
You’re not alone! Every writer I know has received the dreaded rejection letter at some point in their career. If you think you’re getting more than your fair share and you don’t know why, I recommend that you read as many books as possible that are released by your target publisher(s). This will give you a better idea of what editors are looking for. It could be that your writing style fits into another genre, or perhaps the editor just bought a manuscript with a similar storyline to yours. When you receive a rejection letter, don’t be afraid to write the editor back and politely ask for insight into why he/she passed on your book. Editors are super busy, but if you can find one who is willing to give you some constructive feedback, you can really learn a lot from what they tell you. Getting feedback from family and friends is great, but just remember that literature is subjective. What some people may like, others might not.
Above all else, I encourage you to be patient and persistent. Don’t allow rejection letters to discourage you. And if you’re doing everything you can to hone your writing skills and to make your book the best it can be, there’s no reason you can’t self-publish. Gone are the days of writers having to depend on publishers to find an audience for their work. There are many independent authors who are enjoying tremendous success because they had enough faith in their work to put it out there. There’s nothing to stop you from doing the same.