Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
After being under contract with Harlequin for 25 years, I took a hiatus of a year and a half, during which I cared for a new grandbaby and made a decision. From then on I would only write books that I love. I’m on my fourth book since that transformation and am enjoying writing again.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
I’m having a ball being wrapped up in a multi-author series with my critique group. Like us, you’ve probably seen a lot of authors who read a book and said, “I can do better!” only to learn writing a book wasn’t as easy as they thought. Well, once upon a time a group of writer friends—helping a member with a particularly difficult thread in a continuity series contrived by her editors—got the grandiose idea to create a continuity series of their own.
Yes, this was us, and we threw ourselves wholeheartedly into developing characters, fashioning families, family dynamics, and a setting, which evolved from one member’s love of all things Colorado. We created family trees, character profiles, detailed maps, brainstormed titles and themes. We collected photos and researched and even started the stories. We proposed our idea to a few publishers and got no traction. So, after a time the contracted books came first, two members dropped out of the group, a couple new ones came and went. But the core group remained.
In a tragic turn of events we lost a beloved friend and co-writer. Grief took the remaining wind from our sails. We recovered slowly, welcomed a new friend to our critique group. Then came a day when we got together and said, “We’re going to get serious and do this!” Energy built, and the series took on new life. A previous co-creator joined us again. Now, here we are, years after the initial idea, publishing the finished stories and hoping readers will feel the same intensity and appreciation for this project as we do. We have many more stories to share, and the ideas keep coming.
Aspen Gold Newsletter: https://www.subscribepage.com/n9n7p3
Series link on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B081YPJ5V8?
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AspenGoldSeries
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I’m a unicorn because I’m not one of those writers that layers and rewrites. I start at the beginning, edit as I go and write all the way through to the end. When the book is finished I polish and send it for beta readers who thankfully catch my typos.’
At the beginning of each year I set goals and use a planner for the words counts I need each day to reach the goals. Might sound silly, but for every day I make my word goal, I give myself a sticker. Seeing those lined up on a week’s page is satisfying and tells me I’m on target. If I take a day off or don’t make the count, I have to make it up the next day.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I’ve read since I was a kid, so a lot of books and authors have influenced me. In my twenties I read true crime, horror, mysteries and Louis L’Amour. After that I broadened out to gothics and a lot more westerns, and eventually one day I picked up A LaVyrle Spencer and a Lisa Gregory book. I devoured them both and had a revelation about historical romance. I was in love and read everything I could get my hands on, while I still went down the lists of Dean Koonts, Stephen King, Jean Auel, V.C. Andrews and all the popular fiction. I would have to say Louis L’Amour and LaVyrle Spencer were my biggest influences.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing another Aspen Gold book titled Maybe I’m the One, about a hometown girl who made it big in country music and comes home to her roots.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I have an awesome street team, and a loyal following on Facebook.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Put words on the page. Period. You can’t learn or grow or even know if you have a publishable idea until you have it written. Books are great, classes are awesome, and certainly do all the learning you can, but then sit your behind in the chair and string words together.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
You’re only as good as your next book. This seem like a sad declaration, but it’s true. This business moves fast. Readers are voracious and searching for books all the time. Even if you manage to write a wildly popular book, it’s there and then it’s been read by most of your readers. They turn the last page and are already waiting for your next book.
I’ve seen writers who publish a book and then spend all their time handselling, promoting, doing all the marketing and not moving on. For indie authors, all the marketing is up to us, but it can’t eclipse the next book. You have to balance marketing with new material to stay current.
What are you reading now?
Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White. I’m being challenged and changing my thinking about the stuff I keep.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I have several more Aspen Gold books planned, and I ‘ve been thinking about another how-to book. I’ve done a couple of books for Writers Digest and they’re really rewarding. I love to help other writers.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Well, I would need the declutter book. I’d take my Bible, The Stand by Stephen King, Hummingbird and Twice Loved by LaVyrle Spencer.