This week we’re live from the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference here in New Zealand, and we’re talking with New York Times bestselling author Christie Craig. Christie writes humorous romantic suspense under her real name, and young adult paranormal under the pen name CC Hunter. She talks honestly with us about her writing process, the challenges she’s had to overcome in her writing career, and gives some amazing craft advice for everyone. The one big take away from this interview? Never give up!
Christie Craig, an Alabama native, is an award-winning, multi-published writer, multi-published photo journalist, motivational speaker, and writing teacher. Her non-fiction articles and photography have appeared in almost three thousand national magazines. A Golden Heart finalist, and a finalist in more than fifty RWA-sponsored contests, she has gained a well-deserved reputation for writing romance fiction that has both witty humor and a suspenseful, sexy tone. Published by Silhouette in the 90s, she recently broke back into fiction in a big way, making four book sales in one day. Her seventh humorous single title romance novel, published by Dorchester, will hit the stands in June 2010. Her non-fiction book, co-authored by Faye Hughes, released September 08, is The Everything Guide To Writing A Romance Novel and their second non-fiction book, a humorous self-help relationship book, Wild, Wicked and Wanton: 101 Ways to Love Like You Are in a Romance Novel is scheduled to be released December 2010. Craig’s latest writing adventure is the sale of a young adult paranormal romance series, Shadow Falls Camp, that will be published by St. Martins Press in the near future.
This week we were lucky enough to talk to Zoe York, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, and all around lovely lady. She gave us some fantastic tips on writing in series, including craft considerations, marketing ideas, and some best practice tips for making it work. Zoe really knows her stuff, so it’s yet another don’t-miss episode!
Zoe York is a busy mom of two young boys and the creator of modern, sexy, small town contemporary romances. Her debut novel, What Once Was Perfect, started the popular Wardham series, and her first military romance, Fall Out, was released as part of the international bestselling SEALs of Summer super bundle.
She lives in London, Ontario and is currently chugging Americanos, wiping sticky fingers, and dreaming of heroes in and out of uniform.
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This week was lucky thirteen, so we decided to do an interview… with one of our own. The lovely Cheryl Phipps talks about her writing journey, from right back when the kids were little, to now, with eight books published, and more on the way! Cheryl’s the wise member of the group, so be sure to listen in and get some self-publishing and writing gems!
This week’s episode was a huge amount of fun for us… We did our first ever proper interview (if you don’t count the one we did with SPA Girl Wendy Vella) with author Toni Kenyon! Toni was a delight to have on the show, and she was a wealth of information on being a self publishing author… She talked about her journey and how she got started in self publishing, the mindset she’s had to have since quitting the day job and working full time as an author, and she even gave some tips for newbie authors just setting out in what is a constantly changing environment… Don’t miss this episode, it’s a good one!
Visit Toni at www.tonikenyon.com
Thanks for joining us for the third episode of the SPA Girls podcast, the show where we talk you through the mysterious world of self publishing, and help you dip your toes into the dark unknown waters… Well, kind of. We just make it easy to understand, and tell it like it is!
This week we have an interview with one of our own – SPA Girl member Wendy Vella. Wendy has been self publishing since 2013, and she now has 14 titles and has been included in three box sets. She’s sold over 100,000 copies of her books, and at the beginning of this year took the plunge and went full time as an indie author.
We interview her on her road to success, where and when she writes, and what it took to make it all happen.
Interview with Wendy Vella
Wendy had her first book, The Reluctant Countess, traditionally published by Random House in 2013, and went on to self publish her first book that same year. She is now in three boxed sets, has ten historical and two contemporary romances published. She has hit Amazon bestseller ranks with several books and has written several series. The Langley Sister, Regency Rakes, Lake Howling and Lords Of Night Street.
The writing journey
Wendy had been writing for many years before joining Romance Writers of New Zealand. She then started entering competitions, and that is where she honed her craft. The knowledge people offer in these kinds of organizations is invaluable, and she attributes a lot of her success to RWNZ, and the New Zealand writing community. Entering competitions and submitting her work to publishing houses taught her about rejection and deadlines. The feedback was invaluable and helped her sharpen her writing skills.
Being traditionally published was something Wendy believed she always wanted, but after her first book was picked up, the second didn’t follow. With the help of her writing friends, she then went into self publishing and has never looked back.
She is now a full-time writer and loving her job. She writes daily, and will publish seven books in 2015.
The best piece of advice she received was at her first conference. Anne Gracie, successful historical romance writer, told her to start at the beginning and finish at the end. Sounds easy, but until that moment she’d spent a lot of time going back over her work. Now she doesn’t stop until she writes ‘the end’. If something during that process makes her stop, she puts the problem in capital letter and continues.
Wendy’s writing timeline
- Book cover, critique, and editing organised
- First draft writing (rough and quick)
- Second draft. Layer the book. Adds emotional punch and work through internal conflicts and anything I put in capital letters in the first draft.
- Print off and read through – make changes where necessary
- Book is sent to be critiqued.
- Spend the week making changes, of which there are usually plenty.
- Send to beta readers.
- Make changes if necessary.
- Book goes to editor.
- Make changes.
- Get final read through done by a few people I have that are Grammer sticklers.
- Publish book and bite my nails to the quick with nerves that no one will read it.
“Writing THE END is very powerful.”
A bit of advice…
- Acknowledge your successes.
- Write regularly to strengthen the writing muscle.
- Don’t let it get complicated. Fix it in the second draft
- Writing THE END is very powerful.
Romance Writing Organizations
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