Hi, Maria. Thank you so much for hosting me here at Romancing the Writer. This is my first blog interview and I’m a little nervous, and when I’m nervous, I tend to rattle on!
I’m so excited to have signed with Entangled Publishing, and confident that Playing Doctor has found a happy home.
An out of town wedding, a chance encounter with a sexy stranger…it’s just what the doctor ordered. When a fellow RN jokingly predicts that Beth Roberts will meet a tall, ripped, and totally lick-o-luscious stranger who will fulfill her deepest desires, it was supposed to be from across a crowded room, not giving CPR to a wedding guest. A former victim of domestic violence, Beth has no desire to become involved with another man, but who could have predicted the ponytailed doctor with the mischievous smile would break through her defenses?
Dr. Gabriel North, a former pulmonologist, blamed himself when his wife died from a pulmonary embolus. After two years of battling guilt, he’s decided to move on and begin a new life with a new job in a new town. When he sees Beth at his friend’s wedding, his attraction is swift and strong, and he wastes no time in pressing his advantage. Gaining her respect as a physician is easy, but getting her to trust the man is going to take more than medical school has prepared him for.
How long have you been submitting your work to editors and/or agents?
Oh, gosh. This is telling my age!
I began writing in the late 80’s with a wonderful agent and still have two manuscripts with her suggestions scribbled all over the pages, but between family obligations and work, I never found the time to revise them and submit them to a publisher. Maybe one day I’ll drag them out, dust them off, and take another look.
Playing Doctor is the third book I’ve written, but the only book I’ve submitted to a publisher, the first time in March of 2012 after winning an editors pitch with Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance. It was also my first rejection, but with the most awesome two-page feedback letter from the editor. I took that advice and revised the book. Took some writing workshops and revised some more, submitted it to an agent and got my second rejection.
Two months later, I took a breath and submitted a partial of the manuscript to three different publishers. Much to my surprise, within a week, editors from all three houses asked to see the full manuscript. I couldn’t believe it, especially as one of the editors was Heather Howland, from Entangled Publishing. I immediately set to work on finishing my book.
In the end, I submitted Playing Doctor a total of seven times—six to publishers and once to an agent— with two rejections, two request for a partial, four requests for full manuscripts, one withdrawal before decision, and two offers for contracts, both at the same time. All of this happened between March of 2012 and March of 1013. It’s been an exciting year!
Entangled is a new publisher, and we’ve heard so many great things about them. How did you wind up submitting to them? Was it slush pile, via an online pitch, or ….?
A while back while researching potential publishers for submissions, I read an intriguing article about a group of “industry-savvy authors” who decided to start their own publishing company where authors were their priority. I was very impressed with their business model and when they announced their plan to launch the Brazen imprint, I decided to give it a shot.
I submitted the first three chapters of Playing Doctor to Heather Howland in May of 2012. Within a week, she emailed me and asked to see the completed manuscript. I’m a chronic self editor, and so it took me a while to get the story just the way I wanted it. In October, with the book still unfinished, I signed up with the Entangled Boot Camp with Savvy Authors and worked with Heather and her wonderful assistants, Tahra and Sue, and went on to do Smackdown during NaNoWriMo.
I was determined to finish my story, achieve my word count, and submit it to Heather for the Brazen imprint, but my characters kept telling me they were happy where they were. In the end, I submitted to the Ever After imprint, which is the longer of their two novella imprints. It was forwarded back to Heather Howland. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was when I got the email telling me she wanted to take my book to acquisitions, and then another email a week later offering me a contract. I’m thrilled to be a part of the Entangled family. Anyone interested in learning more about them can do so through this link.
You mentioned participating in the Harlequin Board’s fast track pitches. Do you recommend those to a new writer? And if so, why?
Yes, I did two pitches with Harlequin. The first was for their Mills & Boon Medical line which required a two paragraph blurb for the editors to view. Thirty-nine entered and six were chosen to pitch. The second was the Harlequin Blaze pitch in November. Thirty-four entered and eleven were chosen to submit either a partial or a full. I submitted my partial in November, but withdrew it in March before hearing back from the editor after accepting the contract from Entangled.
Would I recommend them to a new writer? Absolutely. Each time a new writer participates in a pitch—with any publisher—it’s a learning experience, an opportunity to hone your craft, to get constructive feedback from an editor, as well as feedback and support from the forums.
Do you have any advice for authors as yet unpublished?
Write! Even if it’s only one page a day. You can’t edit, submit, or sell what isn’t written.
Read! When you find a book that pulls you in, grabs you from the first page and doesn’t let go even after the last page is turned…read it again, this time as a writer. Ask yourself, what was it about this book that hooked you, pulled you in and kept you there, made you keep thinking about it after you finished it? What do you tell your friends when you recommend they read it? That’s the kind of book you want to write.
Learn! Take workshops. I love Savvy Authors and their workshops. I’ve learned so much from them and the interaction with the instructors and the other writers in the classes. And if you only take one, make it Jill Nelson’s workshop, Rivet Your Readers With Deep Point Of View. The difference it made in the way my story read was amazing. If you can’t take the class, at least get her book, as the class comes directly from the book.
Share! Get a critique partner (or five!) who also writes in the genre you write in. (Your friends will read your book, and they will OMG, LOVE IT! but will be unwilling to give you honest feedback for fear of hurting your feelings.)You know your story, the characters, their past and what’s made them the way they are today and where you want them to go in your story. But have you got it all on paper? Another pair of knowledgeable eyes will find the holes, pick up on the confusing spots, make suggestions and corrections that you had no idea were needed. You’ll be amazed at how much better your book will be afterward. Learn to take criticism gracefully and for what it is…the opportunity to make your book the best it can be.
Be cautious! Research the publishers you submit to. Talk to other authors who are published with them. Know the market and please know the difference between 40% of net v/s 40% of cover price when looking at the royalties.
What are you working on now?
The secondary characters in Playing Doctor have demanded a story of their own. Educating Eve is a friends to lovers romance about Ian Montgomery, a Navy SEAL, and Eve Winters, a life style/advice columnist.
All Ian Montgomery, Navy SEAL, wants is to get through his brother’s wedding and enjoy the peace and quiet of home while his injuries heal. The last thing he needs is his pain in ass nemesis from his childhood, who just happens to be the sister of the bride, invading his space while her home is undergoing repairs for water damage. As kids, she was the annoying little sister he’d never had, or wanted, constantly begging him to “show me how.” But little Eve has grown up, and rather nicely, too, and her latest request for his tutoring services are anything but childish.
When Eve Winters found herself coerced into writing a life style/advice column, she thought, meh, piece of cake! That was before the sex questions began to pour in. Her past relationships have been less than satisfying, leaving her wondering what all the fuss is about. How’s a girl supposed to give advice on something she’s clueless about? What she needs is a lesson on the smexy, and there’s only one man she trusts enough to do the job.
I’m also working on the story for a Beauty and the Beast trope about a cage fighter/restaurant owner and an old money socialite with a family determined to match her up with an acceptable mate, as well as two other stand alone books.
Will you be attending the RWA Nationals?
Yes, if all goes well, I’ll be at the RWA Nationals.
Where can we find you on the web?
Please excuse my poor blog as it’s a bit drab at the moment. At some point, my publicist will hopefully step in and give it a face-lift. However, I’m still happy to welcome one and all to stop by and take a look at the sneak peeks posted of Playing Doctor, as well as other works in progress.
Thank you for a lovely visit, and, happy reading to one and all!
Thank you for visiting, Jan!