I read on two different Kindles. When I am serious about reading, I use my old standard Kindle. But when I want to check news, email or - I confess -play Two Dots, I use my Kindle Fire.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I have only been marketing books for a two days at this point and so far an email to everyone I know and a post on Facebook have been what I have tried. I have a twitter account, I will try using that more as I get used to it and I name specific Chicago and Gilman,IL locations in my book, "Bedazzled" so I will send those folks a copy of my book when it comes out in paperback. I welcome suggestions for better ideas, and I read everything I can get my hands on around this topic.
Describe your desk
I used to work for a Fortune 100 company from a large desk in my home office. When I retired, I sold that desk, replacing it with a small black wood desk that tucks into the corner nicely. I have it next to the window so I can see Lake Michigan, downtown Evanston, IL and the Chicago skyline. It is usually messy, with folders of ideas and pictures. I have a time-line board covering the wall above it where I layout my current work-in-progress, what will happen when in the book, what elements I want to be sure to include. I don't always follow it, but I come back to it pretty regularly. And of course, I have "Hello Kitty" stuff on the desk including a giant coffee mug I just got as a birthday gift.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up here in Evanston IL, although I have moved to the East, South and West as an adult. Now I have come back to where I started. My mother was a reader, and a librarian. My eldest sister, I am the youngest of four, read a romance a day when we were younger, and still does. I learned to love reading from my mom and romances from my sister.
But my love of writing comes from a book I read as a child "Betsy, Tacey and Tibb" by Maud Hart Lovelace. I acted out those stories with two girls in the neighborhood. My character was a writer, so I would be a writer. I internalized that and never lost that as a goal.
I love this area, it is ripe with backgrounds for stories. I have ideas for more stories and while my characters travel to exotic and interesting places, Chicago is home.
When did you first start writing?
I was a journalist in college, after being an editor on my high school paper. But I thought I wanted to be an editor, not a writer, for something business oriented, like The Wall Street Journal. That never happened, the business side took over and I became a middle manager in a tech company instead.
Even so, I always polished business letters and the like until I retired. Then I uncorked the writer in me and, like the genie, I am not getting back in that bottle.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I actually had planned to write a time travel romance when I laid out my first book, but I took a romance writing class online from the local community college and started creating characters, plot, motivations and conflicts until "Bedazzled" started to emerge. From then on, ideas for three more novels in The Beguiling Bachelor series came into being and my time travel book remains on a back burner. I keep a folder on it and slip notes and ideas into it every couple weeks, but decided to focus my attention on my men from Lake Forest. I love the idea of wealthy men who have been spoiled their whole lives learning to coexist and thrive around strong women. I grew up in a house full of very strong women and I like putting characters like them front and center.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Two things, one positive, one negative. The positive is that there is a boon of activity and information for indie authors. We are the future. I love the infinite possibilities, and I love the freedom to stray from formula and do my own thing.
The negative is time. There just isn't enough of it for someone who has already worked a full career and is only starting to write now. I can't abide the idea of waiting 16 weeks or more just to find out IF someone will publish my work. I am not waiting on anyone, this way. I am calling the shots...for better or for worse.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Living with my characters until they are living and breathing for me, as real as my friends and family. They have quirks, foibles and fun lives and they share them with me. And I love having other people, people who love to read romances, discover my characters and cheer them on to their happy endings. Don't we all love happy endings?
What do your fans mean to you?
I thought I was writing for me, but I have learned that the encouragement and belief of others spurs me on. I could never have finished "Bedazzled" without the fans who were reading as I wrote. When they gave me feedback that they were anxious to see what would happen next, I was moved to write all night and day. I write for the love of writing, but I publish because of the fans.
What are you working on next?
Right now I am working on two projects, "Beholden", the next in The Beguiling Bachelors Series is in the final phase of writing and the beginning of rewrite/edit. The third in the series, "Bedeviled" has just made it onto my time-line board to be plotted out in preparation for starting it next month.
Who are your favorite authors?
Oh my...so many. I love Jane Austen and have my mother's copy of the book from when she was a teen (she is 90 now!) I love Karen Marie Moning, especially her "Fever" series and anything at all by Alice Hoffman. I love L.M. Montgomery who wrote "Anne of Green Gables" one of my favorite characters ever. Sylvia Day is terrific and I just discovered Jasinda Wilder and now I am a fan. I also like Pepper Winters and Deborah Bladon when I want some heat. And I love the regency books, Julia Quinn is a master but there are so many more.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
My cats, my friends and my writing. And the fact that I get to watch the sunrise over the lake more days. It's gorgeous.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a movie and TV junkie, addicted to "Project Runway" and "Game of Thrones", "The Good Wife" and "Homeland" and romantic movies from every decade. I meet friends for coffee and lunch, make time to take advantage of all Chicago has to offer - sports events (Go Cubs!) Art Museums, parks, events, and incredible restaurants. I go the Shakespeare theater and local small theater and hang out with my extremely patient boyfriend.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I devour by author, as many of us do. I find an author I like and read everything by them. I follow recommendations, online and from my friends who are also readers. At the low prices on most ebooks, I will download way more than I have time to read and then give all of them a try.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wish I did. I bet my mom saved it in a file cabinet somewhere. It would be fun to come upon one day.
What is your writing process?
I write every week day, whether I feel like it or not. I start between 6:30 and 7 a.m. by making a very large pot of coffee, reading the headlines in the newspaper and then I start writing at the computer. Everyone knows I won't take calls before 1p.m. so I always have time to get into the groove, even if I wasn't in the mood when I started writing. I do research as I go, so that I don't lose writing days by turning them into research days. I write at the computer, I do not go back and read what I wrote except enough to pick up where I left off. I save the rereading for the rewrite stage, otherwise I never move forward, rewriting over and over. Almost every day I find the zone where I am living the lives of my characters and their reality is more real to me than my own.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Definitely. Not including the Tom, Dick and Jane books from school, or books my mother read to me, "Betsy-Tacy" and "Betsy-Tacy and Tib" by Maud Hart Lovelace. They made me want to be a writer.
How do you approach cover design?
Cover design for me was a very tough process. I looked at the romances out there today, looked at the steamy covers and really hot men (where do they find so many beautiful people anyway?) and I thought i would go that route. But instead I looked at the book cover winners from 2014 and 2015 and started thinking of an illustrator instead. I found Marija's work and I was hooked. I plan to use her for the entire "Beguiling Bachelors" series.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
"Pride and Prejudice" - I shouldn't need to say why, it's obvious. "Anne of Green Gables" - best female character ever! "The Art Forger" - it completely mesmerized me as fiction and non-fiction woven together beautifully "One True Thing" - a compelling story of family and how we don't always see each other clearly, poignant and beautiful I can't name a fifth without naming my next 50 favorites, there are just too many great books
What do you read for pleasure?
Current fiction and non-fiction selected by my wonderful book club members, erotic romance and regency romance, bestsellers, contemporary women's fiction or chick-lit and I even read and loved my first 'sci-fi' book recently, "Lock In" by John Scalzi and loved it. I read oldies, like "Gone with the Wind" every once in a while and some paranormal or vampire books.
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