Belles in bluestockings? Read on and find out more…
According to Wikipedia, ‘a superhero is a type of heroic character possessing extraordinary talents, supernatural phenomena, or superhuman powers and is dedicated to a moral goal or protecting the public.’ Sounds like a writer to me!
Join me as another one of these unsung superheroes invites into their personal ‘batcave’.
All good superhero stories, have a sequel—something else happens after the first foe is vanquished. How does your sequel begin (after the publication of your first/most recent book….)
It’s been a busy year for me release-wise. Aside from self-publishing two Regency novellas, the second title in my Scandalous Regency Widows series, The Ice Duchess, came out at the end of September. In May this year, my Scottish historical romance with a Jacobite Rebellion hero, The Master of Strathburn, was published with Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and I’m currently working on a loosely linked sequel. So all going well, it will be out next year!
All superheroes have their mild-mannered secret identity. How has yours grown and changed since you started life as a superhero?
I’m quite a sensitive person and take things to heart which is not a great quality to have when one starts to receive two star, or even worse, one star reviews for one’s book baby! Since one of my titles became a #1 bestseller in its category on Amazon this year, I’ve received a lot of reviews so I’ve had to become a little thicker-skinned—I realize now that not everyone is going to like my book and that’s okay because there are plenty of people who do. I am always thrilled when I read a great review or a fan contacts me to say she loved my book. I’ll be smiling for hours.
Do you have any sidekicks or a new superhero team member? What are their superpowers?
I really enjoy being part of the Bluestocking Belles. Our superhero team has seven historical romance authors in the line-up and I appreciate how supportive our whole group is. Even though we all have different skill sets and writing styles, we work well together. Our latest project, a holiday box set, Holly and Hopeful Hearts, was a wonderful exercise in collaborative writing. My husband, as always, is the best partner one could ever hope for. I couldn’t have embarked upon or continued this fabulous journey without him by my side. He’s also an excellent beta reader; if I haven’t got the hero’s point-of-view quite right, he’ll let me know and offer spot-on suggestions to fix things. I also have an awesome new editor for my self-published books; she’s an award winning author too. I really value her considered opinion.
Have your superpowers grown and changed since your last adventure?
I’ve learned a lot over the last two years since I first became officially published in August 2014. Unfortunately, two of my publishers—smaller presses—closed and so I kind of fell into self-publishing. It’s been a steep learning curve—I never thought that one day I’d learn to format my own e-book—but I have now successfully self-published four novellas and two Regency romance novels. Whilst it’s a lot of hard work and takes a lot of commitment, I’m finding it very rewarding. I’m also honored to be published with Harlequin’s Escape Publishing so I guess you could say I’m a hybrid author now. Overall, I would say the ‘superhero me’ has grown more resilient and publishing savvy, particularly in the last twelve months.
What new supervillain have you faced on your latest project and how did you vanquish it?
Despite the successes I’ve had to date, one of the supervillains I’ve had to vanquish is the occasional bout of self-doubt—the tyrannical ‘what-if’: What if my next book in the series isn’t as well-received as the first one?; What if the words don’t flow this time (so far, I really haven’t suffered from writer’s block, touch wood); What if no one buys my book?… Reading positive reviews always helps. And at the end of the day, I write because I love it and that’s never going to change. Of course, telling myself to pull on my big girl pants and just ‘get on with it’ works too!
What new lessons have you learned during this new adventure?
This writing business can be tough in lots of ways but my motto is ‘don’t give up’. The best marketing advice to heed for continued success is write your next book and make it the very best you can. I know it’s advice that’s often given, but it’s very true. Most of all, I’ve learned to be kind to myself.
What have been the best/most memorable experiences along the way?
I’m really pleased that my first novel, Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal, has been a finalist in a number of published romance novel contests—it was short-listed for favorite historical romance in the Australian Romance Readers Association Awards in 2014, received an honorable mention in the post-medieval category in the 2015 RONE Awards, and was runner-up for best first book in Romance Writers New Zealand’s Koru Awards. It also came first in the Georgian/Regency/Victorian section of RWA’s Hearts Through History Published Novels Contest of 2015. This year, Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal also became a #1 bestseller in the gothic romance category on Amazon in the US, UK, and Canada in January and October. That was a huge thrill! Having a title published with Escape Publishing was a dream come true for me too.
If you did this again what would you do differently and what would you not change?
I’m not sure if I would change much. Sometimes I wish I could have written and published my books faster. There has been quite a gap—two years in fact—between my Scandalous Regency Widows titles. But a lot has happened in my life in the last eighteen months (I moved house twice for one thing) so that’s just the way things are.
Tell us about your new book and why we need to drop everything and get it now.
As I mentioned earlier, The Bluestocking Belles have had a recent release, a Regency holiday box set, Holly and Hopeful Hearts. We like to think it’s a little different from some of the other holiday anthologies out there because we’ve all contributed a novella that is set in and around the same Yuletide house party and charity subscription ball. It was certainly a lot of fun to write. The whole box set has a G-PG rating. We’re also donating twenty-five percent of the proceeds to The Malala Fund. It’s the Bluestocking Belles’ chosen charity because we’re keen to support the education of other bluestockings around the world.
What’s in store for you in the future? Do you have any other big projects on the horizon?
Apart from working on my second Jacobite Rebellion romance, I have two more Scandalous Regency Widows titles planned. Next year I’m hoping that at least two more full-length novels will be released. And then there’s another four book Regency romance series I wish to write. And I’m bound to contribute another novella to a holiday box set… So many books to write, so little time!
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