A Chat with Hybrid Romance Author Audra North

AudraNorthOur guest on the blog is Audra North, contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series from Entangled Publishing, the Hard Driving series from St. Martin’s Press, and the Pushing the Boundaries series from Samhain Publishing. She’s the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards. Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She’s also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.

Cara: Welcome, Audra! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing. What made you want to write romance?

Audra: I’ve been reading romance for nearly 20 years and it’s the only genre I’ve consistently loved. When I had my second child and quit my job, there were a lot of quiet hours for the first couple of months of his life, and I decided to fill them by trying my hand at writing one of the books I loved so much. It probably helps that we don’t watch TV in my house… those long hours required some project to make them pass more quickly!

Cara: For a lot of us romance authors, it all started with our love of reading. What do you like to read?

Audra: I love to read contemporary romance, historical romance, and nonfiction books. I love parenting books, books about marketing, and books full of interesting anecdotes about the history of an object, such as Salt by Mark Kurlansky or Color by Victoria Finlay.

Cara: Tell us about your path to publication. Do you have an agent?

Audra: I do, and she’s amazing. Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary is my agent and has been for two years. She does a stellar job of placing work at traditional pubs and is really supportive of hybrid authors and self-publishing, as well. Not many agents are like her and I’m really lucky to have her on my team.

Cara: When you sit down to write, do you plot your stories or wing it?

Audra: I plot plot plot! I have a heavy writing schedule with a mix of traditional books and self-published ones, so I have to have an efficient plan for writing in order not to fall behind. That includes detailed plots for my works.

Cara: In today’s crowded marketplace, discoverability is all-important. How much promotion do you do?

Pushing Her Luck 1600x2400Audra: I used to do only a little promotion, like a couple of blog posts and release day tweets. But since I’ve started self-publishing more, I’ve learned a lot, and now I understand just how much is required. It’s a lot more than I was doing, I’ll tell you that! I recently hired a PR firm, Barclay Publicity, to help me. The Barclay team has been doing such an amazing job, and I’m so happy to finally have that part of my career moving in the right direction.

Cara: What’s next for you?

Audra: I have a book out on June 14th from St. Martin’s Press. Crossing the Line is the third book in my NASCAR-inspired series. The second book in my Lucky in Love series is due out later this year, and I have a women’s fiction project in the works that I’m hoping to wrap up by the end of the year.

Cara: Wow, 2016 is a busy year for you! Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to chat with us. Good luck with all your releases!

A Chat with Romance Author Heather McGovern

We’ve got Heather McGovern on the blog today, chatting about her newest novel, her path to publication, and the power of perseverance.

Before we dive into the interview, here’s a bit of background on Heather:

image1Mild mannered corporate employee by day, glitter-throwing author by night, Heather McGovern grew up thinking she’d either be a herpetologist – frog scientist to be exact – or Wonder Woman. Born in the Upstate of South Carolina, she moved to Charleston to attend the College of Charleston and graduated with a BS in Biology. After realizing she didn’t want to work in a lab or go to college for 8 more years, she moved back to the Upstate. She still lives there, in the Magical McGovy Forest, with her husband, son, and plenty of pond frogs. If she’s not working on a computer somewhere, she’s playing superheroes with her son, and he always lets her be Wonder Woman.

Cara: Welcome to the blog, Heather! Let’s start with the basics. What genre do you currently write, and have you considered other genres?

Heather: Contemporary Romance. I started off as a Paranormal Romance hopeful and a few PNR ideas still simmer in the back of my mind. I’d also love to write YA at some point – when there are 28 hours in a day.

Cara: What made you want to write romance?

Heather: Without question: the HEA and the sex. Real life, and all of its adulting, is hard work. There’s nothing like settling down with a story that gives you hope and warm fuzzy feelings at the resolution. Tack on the love and sultry sex scenes, and how is that not a win/win? I started reading romance novels to help cope with or escape the every day. Then I realized I wanted to write these stories; give back to others and maybe make their lives a little more enjoyable.

Cara: I agree with you completely about the HEA…and the sex too, of course! Do you belong to a critique group?

Heather: I do. I have 3 amazing Critique Partners who I can call on, depending on schedules and levels of desperation. I strongly recommend every writer find the right CP. CPs don’t have to come in groups. None of my CPs critique for each other, but I read for them and they do for me, and we’re all friends. The right match is vital. CPs are the life partners of the authoring world. Mine are stuck with me forever, because there’s no way I’m letting go.

Cara: The right CPs make this crazy business bearable, don’t they? Tell us about your path to publication.  What have you published to date?

Heather: A long and winding path to be sure. I began writing back in 2009, but then I was pregnant and all writing and plans for publication went on pause. I started back up in 2011, working on a Paranormal series. While chipping away at that, a friend and I co-wrote a m/m contemporary (just for fun) and submitted it to several digital houses. Turned out, they all wanted to publish it. We went with Loose Id and it was a wonderful decision. We now have 2 books out with LI, under the penname Sam Morgan, and another coming out sometime later this year. As for my solo-career, I stopped pursuing Paranormal and began writing Contemporary Romance. I queried and found my agent, Nicole Resciniti, and in 2015 she sold my Honeywilde Romance series in a 3-book deal to Kensington Publishing.

Cara: Congratulations, Heather! Tell us about your latest book.

image1-1Heather: A MOMENT OF BLISS comes out August 16, 2016. It’s Book 1 in my Honeywilde series, about the three Bradley brothers and their adopted sister, who inherit the family’s mountain resort on the brink of failure. The Bradleys grew up in the shadow of their parents’ tumultuous relationship, so as they work to save Honeywilde, they’re also working to save each other. A MOMENT OF BLISS is the story of Roark, the steadfast and responsible, if cynical, oldest brother who was forced into being the family leader at too early an age, and Madison, a no-nonsense event planner who has to pull off the perfect celebrity wedding if she’s going to survive on her own. The two are strong willed, lightning-in-a-bottle personalities, but they must lean on each other in order to have the wedding of the year and any hope at happiness.

Cara: Sounds like a fun series! Before I let you get back to writing it, can you share some advice for aspiring writers?

Heather: Never ever give up. Ever. The craft of writing is a joy. It’s a journey that will introduce you to amazing people and experiences. You’ll discover things about yourself and learn more about your inner workings than you probably wanted to know. The job of being an author is tough. Gird your loins, and then go ahead and gird them even more. Publishing, marketing, sales, and the whole business end of writing is a wild ride that can whittle away at your confidence. Don’t let it. Find a way to persevere and find people who will take the wild ride with you. Together, you can remind each other to never give up. EVER.

Cara: That’s good advice, Heather. Thanks for sharing it and for stopping by the blog. Good luck with your new series!

Keep up with Heather on social media:

Website: heathermcgovernnovels.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/Heather.McGovern.Novels

Twitter: @HeatherMcGovern

As a regular blogger: badgirlzwrite.com

May 2016 Meeting – THIS Saturday!

Join us this Saturday, May 7, 2016 for our monthly meeting. Please note that this is the FIRST Saturday of the month, not the second.

Our regular business meeting will take place at 1pm, followed by a program by guest speaker Heather McGovern at 2pm.

The Crossroads: Where Conflict & Emotion Meet, presented by Heather McGovern
At the broken heart of every great story is a compelling Big Black Moment. We will discuss ways to strengthen the paths of Conflict and Emotion in your characters, break down popular movies and books, and study ways to create a powerful intersection of these paths that will resonate with your readers far past Happily Ever After.