Today I have author Regina Duke on my blog. She just released The Wedding Hazard – the second book in her Colorado Billionaires series.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have a memory of tracing words from the page of a children’s book before I could read or understand what the words meant. That image has stayed with me all my life, with the feeling that I would someday fill a page with those squiggles. I was five at the time. But in a more serious vein, I wrote my first novel at age 13 on lined binder paper. From that day on, I knew I was a writer. I also knew that certain people did not think my emotion-filled stories were worthwhile. Why do high school teachers insist that we try to produce literary fiction? My love stories met with disdain. Now I get the last laugh.
Do you write full-time? If so, what is your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
At last I can say I write full time. I am in my third year as an indie author. I retired from my day job in 2006 and spent four years dealing with family crises. Then in January 2011, I decided it was time to pursue my lifelong dream of publishing my books, and I dived in by taking an on-line seminar about publishing digital books. The instructor emphasized that over fifty per cent of one’s time should be spent marketing, and how I dreaded that! And yet, I found that marketing and social media were actually fun. It was very different than writing, and it required a different kind of energy, but I can honestly say there is no part of indie publishing that I do not enjoy. I love it all. Well, editing is my least favorite part, but I love knowing my books have been edited within an inch of their existence. So even that part is okay.
I wish I could say I divide my days equally between writing and marketing. But that different energy thing gets in the way. When I am writing, I spend four or five hours a day at the computer, in the zone, getting the story down. When I am marketing, my day begins with social media and before I know it, five or six hours have passed. By then I am too worn out to write, so I have to do one or the other, but not both on the same day.
The hardest part of writing for me is the editing process, and it always takes more time than I expect. I do my own edit before sending the book to my “real” editor. Then I spend two or three weeks working through her suggestions and making changes. And throughout, I am proofreading, proofreading, proofreading.
Finding time should be easy since I am retired from my day job, but I still have to be disciplined. Often I get up extra early, make coffee, and sit down at the computer by five a.m. Then I work until I am bleary-eyed. When I reach that point, I take the dogs for a walk, run errands, or even (gasp!) clean house.
What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
The best advice: Never stop writing. Keep writing the next story. As long as you are writing, you are a writer. You only fail when you quit.
The worst advice: Polish every word, every paragraph, over and over before letting anyone read the book. My view: Save the the polishing for the editorial process. Don’t slow yourself down by perfecting a page or a chapter that may end up being deleted because it doesn’t move the story forward. If you want to tell a story, keep it moving. Once you’ve finished the first draft of the book, then you can improve upon it.
What fuels you as an author to continue to write?
The stories and characters keep coming. They populate my dreams and my waking thoughts as well. If I don’t write their stories down, I would never get a good night’s sleep. Knowing I can share them with others by publishing them as ebooks is a huge bonus.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
Ah, yes, the “plotter” or “pantser” question. I confess that I used to be a pantser. Writing by the seat of your pants was fun, exciting, and very entertaining. But the editorial process was agony.
Today, I vow that I will outline the next book before I write a single word! But of course, it doesn’t happen like that. I make a general outline. Not a school outline, but rather a stack of pages with one-line descriptions of the action or point of that chapter. For example, in my new release, chapter one was: “Ashley returns to her childhood home to relay the news that her father has died, but his ex-wife (her mother) has disappeared. Pool of blood, hidden room.”
Then I go on. Sometimes I cannot resist adding more, because after all, I am at heart a pantser, but I try to create several chapters’ worth of these plot lines before I let myself write. It makes the editorial process much easier because I don’t get half way through the book and realize I have written myself into a corner. That is the worst! So I am gradually moving to the “plotter” side.
About her book
Please tell us about your current release.
I am very excited that my newest title The Wedding Hazard was just released and I can share the news with you! It is the second book of my Colorado Billionaires series. (The first book was The Wedding Wager.)
Here’s the blurb:
Ashley Clair needs help. Her father has died, her estranged mother has disappeared without a trace, and now someone is after Ashley. Alone, broke, and in danger, she turns to Thor Security looking for protection, but what can she do to afford a bodyguard?
Thor Garrison moved to Colorado trying to forget the tragedy in Texas that changed everything. When the most beautiful woman he ever saw walks into his life, he vows to do whatever it takes to save her and win her heart. Too bad Ashley isn’t looking for love.
If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?
My Colorado Billionaires series is set in the fictional little town of Eagle’s Toe, Colorado. It’s a lovely place, and it attracts a lot of good-looking bachelor billionaires. The stories may start out in some other location, but the characters end up in Eagle’s Toe. And I love giving characters from the earlier book cameos in the next. I think it’s fun to go back and visit with people we loved from previous stories. The title of the third will be The Wedding Venture. I’m already working on it.
About the Author
Regina Duke loves writing romance! She lives in northern Nevada, in the high desert, and loves it, even though she has to take allergy medicine every day. Oh, the sagebrush! When she’s not working on her next book, she competes in dog events with her little superstar, Buster the papillon.
Purchase her latest release, The Wedding Hazard, on Amazon.
And don’t forget to start the series with The Wedding Wager – also available on Amazon.