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Before you were published, what were you doing to scratch the writing itch?
Well, this might be a little (or a lot) embarrassing, but before writing original fiction, I wrote Twilight fan-fiction for about three years, mostly Jasper/Edward slash. In fact, I still have one in progress, with an epilogue left to post.
How did you end up getting your first book published?
For those who know my writing know I don’t shy away from emotional, difficult topics or situations for my characters. The sadist in me enjoys challenging them and seeing how, or if, they are able to overcome and find love. I have written about a drug-addicted hooker, a male escort, child abuse, and a teenage couple where one partner was paralyzed from a car accident. I like the dark and gritty side to a story. Love isn’t easy, it isn’t all flowers and rainbows, and to me, telling a realistic love story involves conflict. Remaining true to the characters and their situation is vital to telling a story, and sometimes this means they do not overcome the difficulties they face. Chase the Storm was one of those stories, where Elijah was not only thrown into the middle of nowhere, but was faced with a grieving man confronting the ghosts of his past and terrified of the emotions Elijah’s presence brought out in him. Being a fan of westerns, cowboys, and horses, this combination seems a perfect fit for my first attempt at publishing. When it was completed and finally edited, I began the process of finding a publisher, and after research and recommendations, I submitted the manuscript to Dreamspinner Press.
Was the process anything like you imagined? What fit the dream? What was different/surprised you?
The publishing process was similar to how I imagined. Dreamspinner Press is very organized, and there is wonderful communication between authors and the publishing team in every department, they are always quick to answer questions. The biggest surprise for me would have been how fast the process proceeded once it began. While it was seven months from the time I received a contract until the book was available to the public, it was only about four months from the time my story entered the editing queue until it was in print. This included several rounds of edits and proofs, cover design, and the necessary blurbs. I will say working with the art director and cover artist to produce a cover that was almost an exact version of the one I imagined was amazing.
How long did it take you to write your first published book?
I wrote Chase the Storm in about three weeks, and then I let it sit on my computer for about nine months before I began editing it to submit to a publisher. I tend to be very picky about editing, literally going through scene by scene, sentence by sentence, which took me longer to do than the actual writing. If I sit and focus, I am able to write about 20k a week, but it’s the sitting and focusing part that is difficult for me.
What’s your advice to unpublished authors trying to get their work read?
Honestly, as much as a bad rap it gets, I honestly feel writing fan-fiction or original fiction for an online site is a great way to get your writing feet wet. It provides immediate feedback while also giving a writer an opportunity to focus on the writing process, editing smaller amounts at a time (although my chapters were typically nearly 20k words long), and is a great networking media to get your stories read and grow a fanbase prior to publishing.
Is writing not as fun/as fun/more fun once you have your first book published?
Since publishing, my writing process hasn’t changed. Although, at the moment I am writing less than I was previously, the actual joy of writing has not been affected. I don’t see writing as work or something I have to do, and therefore I feel comfortable taking the time to write the best stories I can, even if they are never read by anyone but me (I have several of those). I have many outlines and half-written scenes on my computer, I am still inspired as much as ever, and hope to continue to writing and sharing.
What’s next up for you?
That is a great questions and one I wish I knew a definite answer to. My hope is to write a prequel to Chase the Storm, as Chase is very eager to tell his and Owen’s story, and I hope readers are curious enough to want to read it. I also have several more ideas that will hopefully eventually work their way into stories suitable for publishing.