Hello Adrienne! Thank you for being here today!
1. You are an historical Romance author, who has been published through Bantam and Avon books. Can you tell us a few of the titles you have written?
Thanks for asking! I'm counting down the days, because my award-winning series, Wild Texas Nights, will be released as e-books in about a week. I'm so excited about the beautiful new covers! (Check ‘em out!)
Texas Outlaw (Book 1) is the story of a lady train robber who tangles with a sexy US marshal, who has vowed to bring her to justice.
Texas Lover (Book 2) is the story of a ruggedly handsome Texas Ranger, who must disguise his identity to figure out whether or not the heroine (a spirited young divorcee, who is protecting a house full of orphans), is guilty of killing her lawman lover.
Texas Wildcat (Book 3) is the story of a beautiful, hot-tempered sheep rancher, who accuses local cowboys of theft and becomes a vexing problem for her closest neighbor, a drop-dead-gorgeous cattle rancher.
2. What is the most rewarding thing about being published?
Receiving enthusiastic letters from fans -- and getting to meet readers in person!
Because I wrote 3 Western novels set in Texas (where I live), I’ve attracted a small cadre of gentleman readers.
I'll never forget the book signing where the store manager called me over the loud speaker to report to the phone. One of my gentlemen readers had been driving across the state to attend my book signing, and he had a minor traffic accident. I was so touched that he'd gone to so much trouble to meet me – and then to have me reserve signed copies for him! As it turned out, he was one of the last true Texas Cowboys, who used to drive cattle along the Chisholm Trail!
3. You love traditional Romance novels as well as Paranormal. What is it about these genres that you love so much?
I absolutely love reading and writing stories with happy endings. That is why I started my publishing career by writing Romance.
Romance is an optimistic genre. It allows women the same fictional privileges that, in other genres, have been traditionally reserved for the male protagonist.
In genre Romance, a woman is consistently characterized as “heroic” and is given power over her life. Romance remains one of the few bastions of fiction where a reader can turn, with confidence, knowing that in the end, the girl will get the guy, and perhaps more importantly, the guy will treasure her as a woman.
As for Paranormal Romance: I have always been interested in the supernatural. Believe it or not, the first novel that I ever tried to sell to a New York publishing house was a Paranormal Romance with a heroine who could heal people with her hands. Unfortunately, I was 10 years ahead of my time: no one was publishing Paranormal Romance at that time.
The good news is that my e-publisher has asked me to write a third book in my NAUGHTY AND NICE series, and that book, AN IMPERFECT ANGEL (Winter 2012), has Paranormal elements.
4. You teach online writing courses, like “How to Write a Romance Novel That Sells”. What is your motivation for teaching workshops and courses?
I was so blessed early in my career to have wonderful mentors! I started writing in Houston, Texas, which was a hotbed for Historical Romance novelists, including Susan Wiggs, Barbara Dawson Smith, and Christina Dodd. After I moved to Austin, I was invited to join a critique group that included Harlequin authors Patricia Wynn, Cara West, and Pamela Ingram.
I am absolutely certain that I would NOT be published today if these talented Romance writers had not given so generously of their time and knowledge. I vowed that I would someday give back to the writing community the way my mentors had given to me. That is why I developed my website, WritingNovelsThatSell.com. And that is why I am so passionate about providing constructive story critiques.
My mission is to help aspiring authors live their publishing dream. How to Write a Romance Novel That Sells is one of several online courses/workshops that I teach.
8. What advice would you give a struggling and/or aspiring author?
Write every day. NEVER GIVE UP! (Read my blog for tips and inspiration.)
Before I became published in book-length fiction, I was already a successful newspaper journalist and business writer with more than 45 writing awards to my credit. Nevertheless, it took me 10 years to break into the Romance market – which only proves that I was stuck in my ways. My publication experience in non-fiction did NOT adequately prepare me to write for the commercial fiction market.
For me, the great “A-Ha” that eventually led to the publication of my debut novel, Texas Outlaw , came when a published Romance author looked at my manuscript and pointed out, line by line, how to correct a Romance editor's vague criticisms (such as, “There’s not enough conflict in this scene"). That’s why I offer professional story critiques and private coaching to fiction writers. And that’s why I teach fiction writers how to recognize the difference between a “valid” writing criticism and an Urban Myth or a “personal prejudice.”
In my personal opinion, too many aspiring authors lose faith in their writing because someone (who doesn’t know what they’re talking about) provided feedback that made a novel unsalable, or worse, that left the writer feeling like s/he had no talent.
My mission is to make VERY sure that my students don’t walk away from my classes or my critique sessions feeling unworthy to be published!
9. Do you think that publishing a Romance novel and getting it to sell well is difficult? Why?
Every year, 78 million people around the world read at least one Romance novel. The publisher, Harlequin Romance, sells 4 books per second, and half of those are bought internationally. If you want to break into the commercial fiction market, I believe that your odds are going to be better in Romance than in any other adult fiction genre, simply because of the vast quantities of Romance novels that are sold each year.
Is it easy to break into Romance? Well, that all depends on your attitude. It took me 10 years to get published in book-length Romance, but I found mentors, and I kept my eyes focused on the goal. To help aspiring Romance authors understand the writing business, I have written a series of non-fiction books: How to Write Wildly Popular Romances; How to Write Romance Heroes with Sex Appeal; and How to Write Sensual Love Scenes.
The simple truth is, if you give up, you will never be published. If you persevere, the odds are in your favor. The only way to remain sane throughout this process is to surround yourself with positive-minded people who support your goals and help you celebrate your successes.
10. What do you like to do in your spare time when you are not writing and teaching?
I blog like a fiend!
Oh, wait a minute. That's writing, isn't it?
It's a little-known fact that I am a classically trained soprano, who has actually been paid to sing solos at weddings! (But only because those darling brides and grooms didn’t hear me braying Mozart's Requiem in concert.)
Sometimes, the local hospital calls me to sing and play my zither harp for comatose (yes, comatose) patients. I like to think this is a compliment, but the jury is still out on the matter.