Intentions of the Earl, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.
DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about Intentions of the Earl?
ROSE GORDON: This book is different from any historical romance I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot. One of the major plots for historical romances is the fortune hunter theme where an impoverished lord dupes an heiress into marriage by sweeping her off her feet and making her fall in love with him without realizing he himself is falling in love with her, too. But this book goes the other direction. Andrew Black is an impoverished lord, but he’s not trying to marry an heiress; instead, he’s been tricked into agreeing to ruin a young lady’s reputation in such a manner that it will cause a large enough scandal to befall her and drive her and her family off the continent. What Andrew doesn’t realize is, like other fortune hunting heroes, he, too, will lose his heart, however, he’ll still face a life of poverty if he follows his heart and marries her.
DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
ROSE GORDON: I like my characters to be forced to grow as a person and overcome something. Perhaps a deep secret or an insecurity. It may even be they struggle with morals. I think it makes the plot more fun to work around self-discovery in addition to other obstacles thrown in the way. As for how I develop them, well, they speak to me. No, not really, but I often picture them in my mind responding to something I say, and that’s how I get a feel for their personalities and what they’re likely to say in dialogue or how they’d react to a certain situations.
DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
ROSE GORDON: Would you like the sentence I put into my agent query letters about who I thought the target demographic would be? It went something like this, "This book is for jaded housewives, young girls who still hold onto chivalrous notions, and Regency enthusiasts alike." But truthfully, I picture my ideal reader being someone who enjoys a good historical romance where they can get lost imagining a time when life was simpler, men and women behaved differently toward each other and love was something only for fairy tales, not for real life. Also, any reader of my books MUST have a sense of humor.
DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?
ROSE GORDON: I’m not sure I should say. But I will anyway. I started writing my first book, Intentions of the Earl, because I was tired of the same plot. I wanted something fresh, different, unheard of even. At first, I just started writing the story to amuse myself, nothing more. Then somewhere during the first few chapters, I fell in love with the characters, and I couldn’t help it, I wanted to tell some of their stories, too. Thus, I created subplots in my first book that would easily lead to two follow-ups.
DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?
ROSE GORDON: I’m a pantser. I write a lot of the scenes in my books on the fly. When I start a book, I know who the characters are and I know where I want them to end up when it’s all said and done, but how they get there is completely up to them. I find I cannot control my characters, so I don’t attempt to. I tried an outline once, and from time to time I’ll open that old file and laugh at how different (for the better) my book turned out because I ditched the outline and let the characters lead the book.
On a day to day basis, my writing schedule goes something like this: first thing, respond to reader e-mails, then I go blog (this can take a while if I’m not sure what to write about, but it almost always gets me warmed up and ready to write for the day). After I blog (and cook breakfast for my kids), I jump into my latest project, either typing out my current first draft or editing. I write on and off throughout the day, usually I get in a good three hours of writing a day in between cleaning, laundry and watching my two young children.
When I’m done with my draft, I read it, reread it, then reread it again. Each time making edits. Then after the third time, I give it to my first proofer. When they’ve read it and corrected the typos they saw, I reread it again, then send it to my next proofer, then do the whole process again with a third proofer.
DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?
ROSE GORDON: Any author who can get up, make themselves write their daily goal, respond positively to their e-mails (even the negative ones) and still have time to go out of their way to help and motivate other aspiring writers are the kind I admire and the ones who inspire me. Writing can be difficult. Some people struggle to get that one thousand words a day, others focus so much on their writing they neglect to respond to their readers or don’t care about other writers out there. Those who can juggle all three of those things are the ones who inspire me. They set a good example of what it takes to be successful in all areas that are important to writers.
DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?
ROSE GORDON: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Why? Not only is it a good book written in the period I enjoy writing and reading about, but after nearly two hundred years, the book is still selling!
DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?
ROSE GORDON: I’ve blogged about it, both talking directly about the book and I’ve done interactive character interviews. I’ve become active on several reader/writer forums and used my book covers as my signature. Doing this, with the exception of one thread where all romance authors were invited to give titles and descriptions of their books, I never openly self-promoted any of my books. I personally don’t like to read threads like that. It turns me off to the author, particularly when they can somehow make every post they make relate to their book. So I go for the subtle approach. I say something useful and let my signature do my marketing. I will say, the smartest thing I did was pick a good cover. People do judge books by their covers (even digital ones) and I get at least one e-mail a day complimenting my covers.
DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?
ROSE GORDON: Because I would have been a fool not to. Kindle/Amazon gives independently published authors the ability to be seen right along with the big names. And while I admit the first time I saw my name ranked right up there with some of my favorite Regency authors I was thrilled, but that’s not exactly the perk I was talking about. Amazon doesn’t separate the traditionally published from the indies. That’s huge. It makes it easier to be found when you’re not hidden. Another reason is because Amazon offers free promotion, of sorts. Once your book has been bought by enough people that it’s ranked fairly well and it has a few reviews, it’ll show up on the Also Recommended bar or in the Other Customers Bought section. This is free exposure for your book that you not only didn’t pay for, but you didn’t have to do anything extra to get it (besides write a stellar novel, of course).
DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?
ROSE GORDON: First, edit, edit, edit, and edit again. You want your book to be as polished as humanly possible. Have a proofreader go over it. They’ll catch things you don’t. I promise they will. Second, include your cover. Some do, some don’t, but it always looks more professional if you have the cover in there. Third, read other books in the genre you’re planning to publish in. Get a feel for what sells well and at what price. Fourth, go get active at Kindle Boards. There are a lot of people with a lot of advice who are willing to share what they’ve learned with you. Fifth, and most importantly, don’t give up. Some people give up too soon because they’re not selling a lot or they get a bad review. Both of these things are normal, not everyone is going to love your work. That’s just life. More importantly, there’s this myth out there that if you just publish your book it’ll sell all on its own without you needing to do anything. That’s not true, nor is it true a .99 book is going to reach bestseller status right away. Immediate success is rare, so stick with it.
DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Intentions of the Earl, is the first of a three book series and was published February 2011, at Amazon.
Visit her website and read her blog.
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