Is it hot in here or is it just my interview with Sidney Bristol? :) Please help me welcome today’s featured debut author and self-described “smut writer” who enters the erotica genre at a time of great excitement and an explosion in sales led most notably by ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’
Name of book: Flirting with Rescue
Book genre: Contemporary romance of the very hot kind
Date published: January 18, 2012
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
What is your day job? IT Education Administrator
What is your book about? Two people, brought together by their passion for animals, fall madly in love.
Why did you want to write this book? I wrote this book on a dare. I kid you not. I wanted to be a swords and sorcery and horses kind of writer. The idea that I would write romance, contemporary romance at that, was hysterical. But, I put pen to paper and roughly thirty-six hours later I had the bare bones of what would be this book, and I had to write it. “They” always say to write what you know, and one of the things I know is horses, rodeo and what can happen when a person doesn’t want the best for an animal. I decided that if I was going to write a contemporary romance, I wanted to poke my finger at a dark secret. In this instance, I talk about horses, and their role in drug trafficking.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? Sex. I’d only written vague sex scenes before, and a big chunk of the story happens between the sheets. I wound up reading a lot of How To Write Erotica books to get a handle on how to approach it for the genre. I also did a lot of reading above my “comfort zone” to figure out what I would write. Writing sex and sexual tension is hard, because not everyone finds the same things alluring.
Did you do any other kind of research in order to write this book? I also spent a long time on the phone with a friend of mine who once lived in New York City. Since my exposure is limited to the grounds of the Belmont race track, I needed a local’s take.
What motivates you to write? I want to write, so I write. I know, boring motivation, huh? I don’t hear voices, but I do have a deep desire to tell a story, so I do. I’m just not telling the stories I thought I would be telling.
Did you experience writer’s block? I have yet to have true writer’s block. I don’t know if it’s because it doesn’t hit me like it does other people, or if I approach writing differently, but I always believe there’s a solution for a problem. Yes, I have days where I don’t want to write, or maybe the words aren’t flowing like I want them to, but tomorrow will be better.
How long did it take you to write this book? The first draft took roughly thirty-six hours. I then went back and spent weeks figuring out how to make it better and expanding parts so that the story gelled in a way that was acceptable to me for others to read.
Tell me about the publishing process. Was it easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? It was a lot of hurry up and wait. I’m a “do it now” kind of person, so learning how to give up control and let the process go as it needed to was a hard pill to swallow.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about writing a book? That it’s easy, or that I can take any idea and make a book from it.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? This is going to sound morbid to people, so I apologize. The day I got the offer for a contract for this book was the day my grandmother was taken to the hospital for what would be her last days. I wound up doing rewrites sitting in her hospital room. But, before she passed away, I got to tell her that my book was getting published. She didn’t have a lot of coherent moments, and she didn’t acknowledge a lot of what we said or did, but she did her best to show me with a thumbs up that she was happy for me.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? I’ve done one extensive, 26-stop blog tour with a fellow Ellora’s Cave author, Jodie Becker. I’ve done chats at Coffee Time Romance. I Facebook badly, but I try. I blog regularly, and I, in turn, host others to come blog at my place. My biggest promotional tool right now is Twitter. I tweet. A lot. About everything. And I connect to people through that. I had a conversation with someone about monogamy in marriage, and the person went to my website, followed my links and bought my book without me telling him about it.
What advice would you give to writers regarding promotion? Nothing sells your book better than you, and your book(s). More than doing guest blogs or Facebooking or tweeting, be personable and willing to chat with people in any medium they come to you in. Write a great book. Write another, and you’ll sell. Fit other promotion, like guest blogging and tweeting and things, around your writing. Don’t let it rule your life or become a chore.
How has life changed for you since the publication of your book? I look at every minute of my day as valuable, time earning money. I enjoy writing, but now it’s also a job, and I have to be serious and guard my writing time. For me, it’s easy – I’m single, unattached and without children. My time is my own. That said, I fully anticipated flying under the radar, telling only my critique partners and my accountant about my books. Sadly, my accountant is my mom, and now the whole world knows that her daughter is a smut writer, and she’s proud of me. What can you do?
Do you find yourself obsessively checking sales stats? No. I rarely look. I’ll glance at my Amazon ranking, but it holds no real meaning for me. It’s an arbitrary number that only makes up part of the pie.
Do you plan on writing another book? Yes! I just signed a contract for another contemporary novella titled Personal Adventures. It’s a friends-to-lovers story set against the Rocky Mountains, and I talk about interracial dating and relationships.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? I would say that opportunity is luck. Before I wrote Flirting with Rescue, I penned several thousand words. I believe I wrote 705K words the year before I got my contract. I talked with authors, I asked questions, I read, I did my homework. I was prepared without being ready. My opportunity came in the form of a pitch session on an online romance writer’s forum. I crafted my three sentence pitch and a week later I sent off my manuscript, and a month later I was looking at a contract. I was in the right place, at the right time the opportunity was presented, and I’m never looking back. If you would have told me two years, or even a year ago, that I would be a contemporary romance writer, I would have laughed. Now? Well, I wear that badge with pride.