Hi all! Just a glimpse of how pretty the spring is here in NJ–my favorite season! Special heartfelt thanks go out to my long-time friend and sister-of-the-heart Maria Teresa. The girl is awesome with a camera and squeezed me into her busy schedule before the cherry blossoms were gone. This particular park holds some special memories, too. Those first communion pictures were taken here when the tulips were out in full force, and fifteen years ago this upcoming Thursday, so were my wedding pictures. (Once I get that scanner working maybe I’ll get one or two up!)
Feeling excited and very blessed today: NO MATTER WHY received a wonderful review from Bea Smith. She reviews local arts and entertainment, was kind enough to read my book and write some very nice things about it! An exerpt of the article is right here on my reviews page! Check it out!
Okay, today’s interview! Fellow rose Debra St. John is here to share about her writing journey and her current release!
Tell me about your writing roots: what got you started and what gave you the confidence to persevere? I’ve been writing romance since high school. Now I will admit those first attempts are rather embarrassing to look at these days, but I still do have them for nostalgia’s sake. About twelve or thirteen years ago, someone I knew mentioned she belonged to a local writers’ group. She invited me along, I wound up joining, and wa-la, I became a published author! Okay, it didn’t happen that quickly, but seriously, if it weren’t for the relationships, learning experiences, and valuable critiquing sessions of my local RWA chapter, I would not be where I am today as an author. Past successes and the excitement of upcoming projects keep me persevering.
How has your writing impacted other aspects of your life? I’ve found learning more about my own writing and how to make it better has made me a very critical reader. Sometimes it’s difficult to lose myself in a story because I’m focused on the technical aspects of the writing. On the positive side of that, I have learned a lot about writing, and my own has become better over the years.
I can relate to your previous answer completely. Sometimes, I miss just reading without taking something apart. I read something recently that I really enjoyed, but the use of simile after simile started making me crazy! Back to you, Debra: talk about current, past and future projects, upcoming releases, maybe your ‘dream novel’? My latest release is Wild Wedding Weekend, which released earlier this month from The Wild Rose Press. Coming soon I’ll have This Can’t Be Love, which is in the final editing stages with my editor right now. It’s actually a spin-off of my debut novel, This Time for Always. My dream is to write a third book in the series to complete the trilogy. As of now, I haven’t put pen to paper for that one yet, but have a tentative title of This Feels Like Home. In the meantime, I’m working on another story, not connected to those.
Please tell our readers how you juggle work (other than writing), time to write and all that goes along with it, especially as a published author (i.e., promo, etc). The last few months have been an interesting experience. I keep telling people I’m feeling like a “real” writer. I’ve been working on promotion for Wild Wedding Weekend, edits on This Can’t Be Love, and trying to make progress with a new manuscript. Unfortunately, I’m better with a deadline, so the promo and edits are coming along much better than the new WIP. It often is a juggling act, and to be honest, finding the balance between writing and other aspects of life isn’t easy. I have a wonderful husband, a full-time job which I love, and am also involved with various other community organizations. Unless I am on a deadline, the writing is the part that most often gets neglected. Summer is the time I get most of my writing done, as I don’t work in the summer.
Please share the three ways you find most effective to promote your work! Blogging! Doing author spotlights and interviews like these are a really great way to get a name out there and get people to start recognizing you and your books. If someone is offering an author interview, I always jump at the chance to participate. So, Joanna, thanks so much for having me today! (You’re very welcome—so happy to have you!)
I also have bookmarks printed for my books (showing the cover, a blurb, and the ISBN) and send them out whenever there is a call for “goodie’ bags for conferences, etc. I belong to numerous loops on-line, and am always on the lookout for these types of opportunities.
Word of mouth is also a useful promotional tool. Hands down, my mom is my best sales person! Gushing about how proud they are of their children and their accomplishments is just one of those things moms do best. She hands out bookmarks and often sells a book or two where ever she goes! LOL, Debra, my mom does the same! I once walked into her hairdresser’s just to drop something off—next thing I know I was grabbing and signing a book for the hairdresser. Guess those moms will look out for us as long as they can!
I also (oops, that’s four!) invite people to visit me at my website www.debrastjohnromance.com to learn more about me and my work. I’m also the Sunday Blogger at The Acme Authors Link, and I post on Thursdays at Heroines with Hearts.
Always great to have one more good or effective ideas! Besides, who’s counting?
Here’s a blurb: All Abby Walker ever wanted was to live a normal life in her small suburban-Chicago house. After traveling around the world in her youth, staying put in one spot is a dream come true. But when she winds up on a game show as a favor to a friend, her life takes an adventurous turn she isn’t at all prepared for.
Noah Grant has put his small-town Indiana roots behind him. He travels all over the world, enjoying the freedom and adventure. He has no intention of settling down anytime soon, if ever. But then he finds himself married to Abby in a bizarre quirk of fate, and he realizes his life will never be the same.
Their passion flares as hot as the sultry Caribbean air. But is passion enough to turn their Wild Wedding Weekend into a lifetime of love?
And an excerpt: Noah spotted Abby outside the small café right away. What was it about her that made her stand out from the crowd? She was looking the other way and hadn’t seen him approach, so he touched her arm.
She jumped and turned to face him.
“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”
She laughed, but it didn’t sound natural. “No, it wasn’t you. I was lost in thought.”
“Three guesses as to what you were thinking about.”
This time her laugh was genuine. “And you’d only need one of those guesses, right?”
“Probably.” He inclined his head toward the restaurant. “Do you want to eat first or go to the studio?”
“Let’s eat. I’m starved.”
“Great.” He put his hand on the small of her back, guiding her into the building. The soft, lilac scent of her shampoo drifted to his nostrils when she turned her head to say something over her shoulder.
Once they were seated he took a closer look at her. Her vibrant eyes looked tired. Dark smudges shadowed the lower lids.
“You haven’t been sleeping well.” The thought bothered him, although he couldn’t quite put his finger on why. After all, he’d lain awake the past several nights as well.
She lowered her eyes, but didn’t deny his claim.
He reached across the table for her hand. Once again he couldn’t stop himself from touching her. He wanted to tell her how sorry he was they had gotten mixed up in the mess they were in, but he’d said the words so many times, they held no real weight anymore. He sighed.
“We need to stop beating ourselves up about this.” Abby’s soft voice broke the silence that had fallen. She met his gaze. “I mean, we’re not getting anywhere, and it’s making us crazy.”
“That’s for sure.” Wasn’t he supposed to be the one doing the reassuring? But he liked that she was concerned about him.
Abby sighed and fidgeted with her fork.
“Is something else bothering you? You seem distracted.”
She met his gaze for a brief second before lowering her lashes. “It’s nothing.”
“Come on, you can tell me. Maybe I can help.”
She shook her head. “I don’t think so. It’s just, well”—her gaze darted to his again before flicking away—“Claire’s still really mad at me.”
“Yeah, she won’t answer any of my calls. She, um, she thinks I did this on purpose.”
“Did what on purpose?”
“Won that game show. So I’d get to marry you.”
I am loving that excerpt, Debra! Best of luck with Wild Wedding Weekend and to you!
Okay, readers and subscribers: in honor of my wedding anniversary I’ll be posting a two-part post on commitment. I’ll post on Thursday and Friday of this week and collect comments until Sunday evening, 7 PM EST. One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of my debut, No Matter Why!
See you then,