What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
No one technique. I have found my marketing success has as much to do with the venue as it does the method of marketing. Certain newsletters yield very good success while others don't. Some online book tours are fabulous and others not so fabulous. I think marketing success has as much to do with targeting the audience as it does the delivery.
Describe your desk
My desk is an ancient, scarred thing. I've had it for about thirteen years. It's a basic office store desk, with one tier at the back for printers and one shelf up top for books. It's not nearly roomy enough, so I have a fold out table to keep research projects, mailings and the like organized--or sort of organized!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in Texas. How does one grow up in Texas and not have that fact influence their writing? Maybe it accounts for my love of writing Highland romances. Highlanders are the cowboys of Scotland.
When did you first start writing?
I dabbled a bit in my early thirties, but didn't write my first book until I was nearly forty. We won't say how long ago that was!
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is the second book in the Highland Lords series, My Highland Lord. The first book in the series, My Highland Love, was that first book I wrote many years ago. When I wrote My Highland Love, I had no idea the book would be the first in a series. However, I was so intrigued with that hero's son, Kiernan MacGregor, that I knew I wanted to write his story. Two years later, I wrote Kiernan's story, then put the book away for nearly ten years. This saga is set in the early to mid nineteenth century with the MacGregor men at its center. My Highland Lord is set at the beginning of the Victorian age, so Kiernan, a marquess, is an educated, wealthy Scottish nobleman, who has been taught he has to operate in a world that is not always friendly to the Highland way of life. He takes matters into his own hands--which is the MacGregor way--and works to right the wrongs done to both Scottish and English citizens.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
In today's market, being an indie author is simply part of our career arc. There are those mega stars who are so well known they simply don't need to, or don't have time to, pursue that avenue. But in the increasingly competitive market, indie publishing allows authors to get their name out their more often than does traditional publishing. Indie publishing also affords us the ability to be in control of pricing and marketing, which means we can change on a dime in response to market changes.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has gotten my books into markets that I aren't open to indie authors on their own. While sales are small at Smashwords, I believe that as I build a readership and as Smashwords grows, so will my sales grow.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I write for the simple joy of writing. My goal is to write full time and support myself with my writing income. However, the only reason I want to support myself writing is so that I can write more.
What do your fans mean to you?
Wow, my fans are amazing. I'm touched and humbled by their reactions to my work. All writers want their books to be well received, and I'm no exception. But I hadn't given much thought to what that meant beyond selling books. When readers love your books well enough to beg for the next book, or ask for a signed copy of a book or a bookmark, it's startling. I consider my fans my biggest responsibility. I hope to deliver books they never regret spending their hard earned money to buy.
What are you working on next?
I'm currently working on another Highland romance entitled To Tame a Highland Earl. This is a sweeping family saga that takes place in the heart of the Regency era, and begins with a roguish earl who compromises two sisters and must decide which one to marry.
Who are your favorite authors?
My all time favorite author is Charles Dickens. I love Emily Bronte, Margaret Mitchell, Stephen King, Anne Rice, and Liz Carlyle, to name a few.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Heh heh. The fact I'll get to sit down at my computer and write the next scene.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do a lot of reading. I also spend time with my teenage daughter, and I love baking.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
If I don't already know the author, I often find books through recommendations. Facebook is a place where I see a lot of promotion, and books there catch my eye.
What is your writing process?
I think my writing process is pretty typical. I don't outline much until I'm well into the story. Writing about my characters is how I get to know them. If a scene is particularly difficult, I write from the inside out. I start with what I know the heart of the scene will be, then write forward. That always tells me what I need to add at the front of that scene to ensure that the story is coming across clearly by the time the reader reaches the more dramatic elements. I do a lot of research. My first draft is riddled with notes and references. I keep track of where I get all historical elements that might need to be recalled later.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
HA!! No. I started reading about four years old. I was a total geek. I do remember stories or writers that impacted me at a young age. By the time I was twelve years old, I'd read Jane Eyre at least a dozen times. Two authors I devoured were Zane Grey and Edgar Rice Burroughs. I'd read (and often reread) everything they wrote by the time I was fifteen. I still love all those books.
How do you approach cover design?
I find myself a talented and professional cover artist. I am no artist!
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.