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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Marketing and her New Book with Anne Carrole


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Anne Carrole. Anne  will be talking about marketing. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Anne Carrole has been writing stories since she was in elementary school but back then the hero was more likely to ride a bike not a horse and share a stick of gum rather than a kiss. Raised on a farm with horses, dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits and whatever other animals she could convince her parents to shelter, she’s married to her own sweet-talking hero and is the proud mother of a college-aged daughter. They all share their home with a sleek black cat with way too much attitude. When not writing or reading, you can find Anne puttering in the garden, playing tennis (poorly), watching football, or sharing a laugh with friends.
Beverley: How important is marketing for an author?
Anne: No matter how wonderful your novel is, if no one knows about it they can’t buy it so marketing is very important.  There are many well-written books that go undiscovered due to the crowded field of published books.
Beverley: What free marketing is available for authors?
Anne: An author newsletter has to top the list. Most services that help you distribute your newsletter, like Mailchimp and Mailerlite don’t start charging for their services until you get around two thousand subscribers. But I am not of the school that thinks getting thousands of subscribers to your newsletter is an effective marketing tool if they come from on-line solicitations for free books or free anything. Some authors swear they have found that getting subscribers this way sells books but when I look at their book’s ranking on Amazon and see that their book’s ranking is in the hundreds of thousands, I am skeptical.  I would rather have a few hundred subscribers who subscribed to my newsletter because they loved The Hearts of Wyoming Series, than thousands who subscribed because of some giveaway and then never open my newsletter.
There are many groups on Facebook that allow book promotion, many authors do group launch/event parties on Facebook, and organizing a Tweet Day with other authors where you retweet each other’s posts about your books can help with visibility though, personally, I have never seen huge bumps in sales from these.

Lining up blogging opportunities can help to increase visibility, particularly if those blogs attract readers interested in your genre, is another free marketing option.
Beverley: What marketing is available for a fee for authors?
Anne: There is a whole industry of people willing to offer their marketing services to you for a fee from people offering Public Relations services, to building your newsletter subscribers, to putting you on a blog tour, to getting reviewers. I have used none of them. I have yet to see proof that they sell books. They may get you subscribers, and blog dates, and a small number of reviewers but I have yet to see these translate into sales.

What does work, IMHO, is putting your book on sale (.99) for a limited time (or free if you must) along with snagging a Bookbub ad, which run in the hundreds of dollars. This strategy is particularly effective if you have other books that can benefit from someone discovering your work, particularly if it is a series. Short of a Bookbub ad, which is the holy grail of advertising because of the number of newsletter subscribers they have that actually are interested in reading books, you can coordinate the discount on your book with advertisements in other reader newsletters such as E-reader News Today (ENT), Robin Reads, and The Fussy Librarian, to name a few that I have found effective.  These advertisements rarely cost more that $50-$100 and are easier to get than a Bookbub ad, but they are also not quite as effective. While some authors have experienced downloads in the thousands from a Bookbub featured deal, you can probably expect 50 to 100 downloads from these other venues. However, that can be enough to push your book up in the rankings so your book gets in the top twenty of your genre list on Amazon, generating more sales from that visibility.
Beverley: How much should an author spend on advertising and how does an author make that decision?
Anne: I calculate how many books I must sell to get a return on investment for my promotion and, based on past experience or the experience of others, determine if it is feasible. However, sometimes, such in promoting a free book, you are looking to increase your visibility in a crowded field and in that case, you have to look at it as a long-term investment to build your brand, in which case the return on investment will not be immediate. I track my sales (my publisher allows me to see sales in real time) during promotions so I have an idea if a promotion is working.  This helps me decide how much I should spend the next time I promote.  For instance in March my publisher placed one of my books on sale for $0.99. I spent $525 promoting it and earned more than seven times that in royalties. For me that was a good return on investment, particularly since I could track bumps in sales based on where it was advertised.
Beverley: How have you marketed your books? Have you used someone to do your marketing for you? Why? Why not?
Anne: No. I looked into several services but the fees were in the thousands with no guarantee of a return on investment. As an author still trying to establish myself, I do not have the leeway to take that financial risk. I did read an account of a debut author who used a marketing service and paid large sums for advertising including an ad during the movie Fifty Shades of Grey and it paid off big for her. If you have the means to make that type of investment, go for it!
Beverley: How have you marketed your books?
Anne: I use Facebook Ads, ads in various reader newsletters such as ENT and Robin Reads.  However, the most effective promotions to-date have been the promotions my publisher, Kindle Press, an imprint of Amazon, has obtained for my books whether it is a 99 cent month-long discount, enrollment in Amazon Prime Reading, or targeted emails to likely Kindle readers.  My marketing efforts have largely been in support of these promotions.
Beverley: What did you find worked best?
Anne: Things I find effective:
Facebook Ads that boost a post. I have close to 3K followers on my Facebook page who are all fans of Western Romance, which is my genre, so those ad boosts tend to be effective for me. I generally set my budget for between $5 and $10 daily, target my audience, set my end date, and let Facebook do the rest. 
Reader Newsletter ads. As mentioned above, Book Bub ads, which can cost over $600, have, by all accounts, a great return on investment, but I have never been fortunate enough to land one. Other places where I have tracked favorable payback are E-readers News Today, Robin Reads, Choosy Bookworm, and Reading Deals.
Least effective for me have been giveaways (you get mostly people who are interested in the freebie, not in buying your books) and Facebook event parties (seems it has become oversaturated and takes a lot of time relative to the number of attendees—unless you are in one with a big name author.
Beverley: How long have you been writing?
Anne: My first published novella was with the Wild Rose Press in 2011.
Beverley: What genre do you write in and why?
Anne: I write both contemporary and historical romance set in the West. For some reason, maybe because I grew up on a farm, my muse comes wearing a Stetson. I also love the history of the Wild West as it was such a unique time period. The lore of the cowboy is heroic and iconic and the fact cowboys have always had a little outlaw in them keeps things interesting. My latest series, The Hearts of Wyoming, has three books published and I am working on the fourth and counting, with no shortage of stories to tell.
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Anne: Since I was in elementary school, I have been writing stories so the desire has always been there (I was an English Major in college, lol). Many people influenced me along the way from professors to the authors I read like Austen and Trollope. But I fell in love with romance , literally, when I started to read the novels of Linda Lael Miller and Rachel Gibson.
Beverley: What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Anne: Finding the time to devote to learning and honing the craft of writing was the biggest obstacle.  As a mother running my own consulting company and looking after an aging parent, there was never any time. After my mother passed away, the need to do something I’ve always wanted to do became too strong to ignore, and, by that time, my daughter had grown up!
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Anne: Reading about the history of the West, watching a rodeo, taking a trip, hearing someone’s true life experiences—in short, life! My most recent novel, The Rancher’s Heart, is based on an adverse possession lawsuit that allows the heroine to take land from the hero without payment. My own family was once victim of an adverse possession lawsuit related to our family farm and this sparked the idea for The Rancher’s Heart.
Beverley: What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Anne: My own inner editor. I have to push through and keep writing rather than listen to the little voice of doubt. Norah Robert has said she can fix a bad sentence but she can’t fix a blank page, or something to that effect. I try to keep that in mind when I’m writing.
Beverley: What do you have for breakfast?
Anne: I’m an eggs and bacon kind of gal.
Beverley: What do you wear when you are writing?
Anne: Few things are more comfy to me than a pair of well-worn jeans and a soft cotton top.
Beverley: Where do you do most of your writing?
Anne: At my desk in my office. For some reason, I don’t write as well at a lap-top or on a tablet. I think it is too many years of sitting at a desk. It just feels right to me.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Anne: The Minions crack me up.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Anne: The families featured in the show The Last American Cowboy (no longer on the air). They gave you a window into the realities (not the romance) of ranch life.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Anne: Besides writing? I would probably head to the beach if the weather was nice. I live close to the coast and find sitting on the beach and listening to the surf a wonderful place to work out plots
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Anne: I am working on the fourth book in my Hearts of Wyoming series, The Loner’s Heart, which is Trace’s story.  Trace nearly took over the second book in the series, The Maverick Meets His Match, which was his brother’s story. He’s the strong, silent type masking a vulnerable heart. When he finds out, unexpectedly, that he has a five-year old daughter who needs him, this man who always pushed people away, suddenly has to ask for help.  The outgoing, forward woman who comes to his “rescue” is like no one he’s ever encountered before…and therein lies a story.


Blurb for The Rancher’s Heart:
A feud reminiscent of the Hatfields and McCoys, a love story worthy of Romeo and Juliet

Despite growing up on the Pleasant Valley Ranch, single mom Cat McKenna doesn’t know a thing about cattle. But even with her preference for high heels instead of cowboy boots, she’s determined to save the family ranch she inherited for her son. She just needs to hire the right foreman. Neighboring rancher and town heartbreaker, Cody Taylor, might be perfect for the job, even though their families have been feuding over land and water for generations.
Living in the shadow of the wealthier McKenna
ranch has not been easy for the Taylors. But buried under a mountain of debt after his late father’s illness, the only way out for Cody may be to accept Cat McKenna’s job offer.
Can Cody keep his pride and ranch intact while helping the one family in all of Wyoming that’s the sworn enemy of the Taylors...and the one woman in Wyoming who is capable of stealing not only his land, but his rancher’s heart?

Buy Link:
https://www.amazon.com/Ranchers-Heart-Hearts-Wyoming-ebook/dp/B01MYTS6SB

You can find Anne at:
Website: http://www.annecarrole.com
Blog: http://annecarrole.blogspot.com
RSS FEED  http://annecarrole.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AnneCarrole
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annecarrole                         https://www.facebook.com/lovewesternromances
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Anne-Carrole/e/B008DI46LA

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview. Next week we'll be discussing Settings. 

Monday, June 26, 2017

My Ongoing Saga


When I posted last week I was excited about the new website and new photo. My enthusiasm has dimmed a little.
I have just seen the photos, but not picked one yet. It’s been almost two weeks. and the photos look good but I can’t believe the waiting period. My last photo was taken by Studio 16 at a conference, many years ago.  I got four poses. Back then it was on a disk. I still have it. And I got the disk right away after the photos were taken. So I wasn’t expecting this long wait. My website is ready to go and we’re all waiting for a photo. I am hoping I'll have a photo by tomorrow and then my website can go live. 

Other than that I just finished doing a BIAW. I organize one every three months for about 35 – 40 people.  We get a lot of writing done.  I’m working on Death Southern Style, but I have another book I called The Foundation.
It’s a finished rough draft. The Foundation is a group of three women who recruit and train other women to rescue women in trouble or danger.  The beginning scene is a rescue of a woman from a prison in Afghanistan. The rest of the plot involves one of the trained women and her daughter who is involved with a serial killer. The team needs to save her.
I didn’t finish it because I was told Afghanistan was no longer relevant, and it sounded too much like Fern Michaels Sisterhood series. I really like this story, but I’m wondering if it sounds outdated.  Should I leave it tucked away?  Do any of you have any thoughts? I’d appreciate it.
Thursday we'll be talking about marketing with another guest author.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Character Development


How do you go about developing your characters for a story? How much time do you spend or does it just happen in the writing process? What inspires it?

This is one of the basics of writing, developing characters your reader will fall in love with.  If they don’t care about the characters they won’t keep reading. I spend a lot of time developing my characters. The plot comes easy, but I need to have characters that advance the plot.
I use a questionnaire to get to know something about my hero/heroine. I want to know what their goal is. There has to be conflict between the h/h, both internal and external. And their development and growth needs to be shown as they face the obstacles of reaching their goal.  I try to do as much as possible before I start to write, including trying to develop a different voice for each character

That said, as I write I get to know my characters. I learn how they will react to situations and how they grow from the obstacles blocking their goal. By the time I write the end, I am familiar with my characters. They are family.
Then I go back and write the beginning, because now i know the characters and how they will react.

Looking forward to seeing what the others have to say about developing characters.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://victoriachatham.blogspot.ca
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rachael Kosinski http://rachaelkosinski.weebly.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich http://wp.me/p3Xihq-YV
Anne Stenhouse  http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Marie Laval http://marielaval.blogspot.co.uk/

Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/?m=1

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Patricia Preston Talks Marketing


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Patricia Preston. Patricia will be talking about marketing. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Award-winning author Patricia Preston writes mainstream humorous romance, historical romance and comedy. She is represented by the Seymour Agency. Her newest titles are part of a standalone series, Love Heals All, for Kensington Books/Lyrical Press imprint. She has several other e-book titles available including a historical romance, TO SAVE A LADY, set in the French Quarter during the Battle of New Orleans. She also has a comic short story anthology, DIXIE DARLINGS, available in print. Besides writing she loves music, photography, graphic design, and visiting her favorite historical locales including the French Quarter and the Natchez Trace.

Beverley: How important is marketing for an author?
Patricia:  Unfortunately, I think it is important for an author to do some marketing.  More and more that is becoming the norm even if you have a publisher. Unless you’ve got a 6 figure advance and a publisher is trying to earn their money back, most of the promo is left up to the author or so it seems to me.  
And if you’re an indie author, it is all up to you. Of course, the best promo of all is a good book that readers love so write the best book you can.
Beverley:  What free marketing is available for authors?
Patricia:  There’s free social media sites like Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook. I don’t know how effective any of it is. And you can send out free newsletters as well until you reach a certain number of subscribers and find bloggers to host you on their blogs for free.
Beverley:  What marketing is available for a fee for authors?  
Patricia:  There’s a lot available if you willing to spend the money.  Especially paid ads in newsletters going out to readers, ads on reader websites, Twitter services and so on. Plus you can boost posts for Facebook page and that’s about the only way your page gets seen by anyone.
I don’t if anyone else has this problem with Facebook page ads or not, but when I have boosted posts, they are only shown to a small fraction of the number that is promised. For example, FB will have “reach 3500-9300” for $20. So I do the $20 ad and my post reaches an average of 600 people.  I have changed all kinds of factors about the target audience and number of days. Still the same thing. Like FB shows that are 53 million people with “contemporary romance” as an interest in my target audience, but only about 500-700 reached. With $10, I have average around 300-400. Plus they’ll send me notices to increase the money to increase the reach to 9000. I’ve done that and it might increase a 100. Maybe there is something I’m doing wrong, but it has been my experience that they are misleading their customers.
Overall, I don’t know how effective any promo is because there is so much of it now. It’s like the social media sites are just bombarded with ads.
Beverley:  How much should an author spend on advertising and how does an author make that decision?
Patricia:  I know writers who spend a fortune on promotion and swag and from what they say, it hasn’t helped their sales. I’m thinking overload as far as readers are concerned.
Also authors are bombarded with all this propaganda from “companies” trying to sell their services, promising all this success on social media. Like they have big secrets to selling more books, blah, blah, blah. I don’t figure there is any silver bullet.  
I would say set a small budget and try one thing at a time to see if it generates any sales before you invest a lot of money into it. Plus you have to consider whether you want to be spending more on promo than you make on the book.
Beverley:  Have you used someone to do your marketing for you? Why or why not? 
Patricia: No because I didn’t feel the expense was justified. Of course, it would free up time to write but in the end, you’d need to judge the results and if the marketing worked in producing sales.
Beverley: How have you marketed your books?
Patricia:  I’ve done a little of everything.
Beverley:  What did you find worked best?
Patricia:  Probably a paid ad in a newsletter.
Beverley:  How long have you been writing? 
Patricia:  Too long…
Beverley:  What genre do you write in and why?
Patricia: Mostly romance and sometime comedy when I’m depressed.
Beverley:  Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Patricia: My seventh grade English teacher.
Beverley:  What obstacles did you have to overcome to begin creating your work?
Patricia:  I had to get rid of a husband.
Beverley:  What gets your creative juices flowing?
Patricia:  Music.
Beverley:  What will stop your creative muse the quickest?
Patricia:  Having to go to the day job.
Beverley:  What do you have for breakfast?
Patricia:  Eggs and biscuits.
Beverley:  What do you wear when you are writing?
Patricia:  A big smile!
Beverley:  Where do you do most of your writing?
Patricia: In my writing cave.
Beverley:  Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Patricia:  Betty Boop. She’s racy.
Beverley:  Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Patricia: Melissa McCarty. She’s funny.
Beverley:  If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Patricia:  Go for a drive on the Natchez Trace.
Beverley:  What are you working on now?
Patricia:  Book four of the Love Heals All series. It’s Kayla’s story.

Blurb for Not Through Loving You

In the Southern town of Lafayette Falls, a new life brings together a woman with everything to lose and a doctor with everything to prove.
When a sickly infant is surrendered at the Lafayette Falls Medical Center, and orphaned soon after, pediatrician Aaron Kendall arranges to adopt him. After a painful divorce, the busy baby doc is about to realize his own dream of becoming a father when the baby’s beautiful estranged aunt turns up. She doesn't exactly approve of the Kendall bachelor pad complete with Aaron's cranky dad and wacky brother, forcing Aaron to form a risky alliance with her.
Country singer-songwriter Lia Montgomery barely knew her half-sister, but she's determined her tiny nephew goes to a good home. If only she fit the bill herself, but her stressful life on the road is no place for a baby. Yet despite her misgivings, as she gets to know Aaron, she realizes the smart and sexy doctor is everything a child could want in a dad and more unsettling, everything she's ever hoped for in a man. After all she's put him through, is it too late to form a family and maybe put a song in the good doctor's heart?
Sneak Peek: Read Chapter 1

Buy Links:
Amazon  http://amzn.to/2p0U63y
Barnes and Noble   http://ow.ly/vuIs30brDgY
Kobo    https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/not-through-loving-you
You can find Patricia at:
Website: www.patricia-preston.com
Amazon  and BookBub
Facebook   Twitter    Goodreads Newsletter

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and more discussion of book covers. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Beverley Updates Her Life


I thought I’d update some of the things I’m up to.
I said I was going to get a new website and a new photo. After much dragging of feet and grimacing, I found a web designer that didn’t break the bank and appears to be good. The site is ready to go live, but I don’t have the photo – yet. I’ll talk about that in a minute.

So the website showcases my books and has a social media page. It imports things from twitter and Facebook.  All the pictures are very old – some 4 years old. When I questioned it I learned that I didn’t use Facebook very much (which I knew) and if I didn’t use it I was left with 4 year old pictures and posts. So I guess I need to update my Facebook every little while. I’ll be working on that.
The website is also hooked up to my blog. Hopefully I can figure that out.
I’ll let people know as soon as the website is live, probably later this week. I’d love to hear what you think of it.

And the photo –ah yes - I’m living in a small town so I’m trying to find a photographer.  Wedding pictures, baby pictures and grad pictures seem to be the focus. Then I realized I needed digital photographer, which made it more challenging.  I finally found someone who said they did digital and sent me the measurements (a minimum of 300 dpi) which I sent to the web people and they said it would work.  It turns out the photographer is an in-house photographer at Couture Fashion Week in NY, has photographed people like Dr. Phil, William Shatner and Danny Glover.  Who knew? She had me change tops three times, took a lot of pictures and was a fun person. Her husband is also a writer, so I don’t think I could have picked anyone better. And you’ll see the new me once I get the photos and make a pick and when the web goes live.

I’ve also done a little advertising for my newest book, By Design –which is the first time I’ve done that. And I’m starting back working on Death Southern style. I’m also blogging on Lois Winston’s site June 28, at http://anastasiapollack.blogspot.ca/ . Drop by and say ‘hi’.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Kelli Wilkins on Marketing and her new Book


This week we’re going to find out a little about author Kelli Wilkes. Kelli will be talking about marketing. She’ll also tell us a little about herself and her writing, and answer some fun questions.
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli's third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
My third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, came out in June. It’s a story about two best friends who have always been attracted to each other and finally make the leap into having a sexual relationship.
 
Beverley: How important is marketing for an author?
Kelli: Marketing is crucial for any author, but even more so for self-published authors who don’t have the backing of a major publishing house. If nobody knows about your book, they can’t buy it. Therefore, authors have to do everything in their power to get their book noticed by readers and actively market it on websites, social media platforms, and anywhere else they can.
Beverley: What free marketing is available for authors?
Kelli: There’s a lot of free marking available to authors if they know where to look. The first and most obvious is the publisher’s website. If your book is released by a publisher (large or small), you probably will have a dedicated author page, and you may be able to do a short interview for their newsletter or site. Self-published authors can utilize whatever site(s) are selling their books (such as Amazon) and create author pages that showcase your writing and let readers learn more about you.
Social media and book sites are also great places to do self-promotion and market your writing. Authors can join genre-specific book groups on Facebook and Goodreads, and there are hundreds of book and romance-related websites where you can post spotlights, guest blogs, and interviews.
And of course, authors should always keep their own blog and website up-to-date with their latest release information, as well as links to backlist titles, interviews, and other news that will attract readers.
Beverley: What marketing is available for a fee for authors?
Kelli: If authors want to pay for professional marketing services, there are many options available. Some authors hire a publicist or a publicity firm to market their books, while others pay for advertisements in print or online magazines. You can also pay to have your book cover or ad featured on websites, or pay for a blog tour on several different sites. These are just a few of the more common services available.
Beverley: How much should an author spend on advertising and how does an author make that decision?
Kelli: That’s entirely up to the author. If you’re just starting out and self-publishing your first book, you might want to explore the free marketing options first, and then branch out into paying for covers on sites or for a blog tour. Again, it all depends on the author and his or her budget.
Beverley: How have you marketed your books? Have you used someone to do your marketing for you?
Kelli: I market my books in several different ways and usually do it all myself. When a new book comes out, I add all the information about it to my blog, website, social media pages, and other book sites that I’m on. Then I do guest blogs and interviews to share information about the book with readers. I also send out press releases, review requests, and include info about the new release in my newsletter. I’ve paid for book cover ads, featured author days, and blog tours on various sites. This way, I can reach a lot of readers all over the web.
Beverley: What did you find worked best?
Kelli: I find that a little bit of everything works. I’ve gotten good results by posting on social media, doing guest blogs, and blog tours. People like reading interviews and excerpts from books, so I’m always willing to talk about the writing process and how I brought my latest book to life.
Beverley: How did you get your start as a storyteller?
Kelli: I started out writing “10-Minute Romances” for the Sun. They also published science fiction stories, so I wrote those, too. I’ve always been blessed with a lot of ideas, and I just kept writing story after story as they came to me.
I got my start with full-length romances when I entered the Amber Quill Press “Amber Heat” writing contest. I submitted three novellas (A Most Unusual Princess, The Dark Lord, and The Sexy Stranger) and they took all three! Since then, I’ve published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books.
When people ask me how I can switch up genres so easily, I tell them, “I’m a writer, I can write anything.” And I do!
Beverley: How do you begin the process of telling a new story? Where do you start?
Kelli: Each book comes to me in a different form. Sometimes I’ll have an entire story jump into my head, and I’ll know everything about the plot and the characters. (That happened with Dangerous Indenture, A Deceptive Match, A Most Unusual Princess, and The Viking’s Witch.)
Other times, I’ll get bits and pieces of the story and parts of the characters. Once in a while, I’ll have a character come first, and after I get to know and develop the character, I’ll find out the story. Then the other pieces fall into place, like a puzzle. (That happened with Four Days with Jack, Killer in Wolf’s Clothing, and Lies, Love & Redemption.)
Before I start a book, I need to know who the characters are and what’s going to happen to them. After that, I outline the scenes and start writing. As I write, I allow myself some leeway to explore things I hadn’t considered in my outline. I might add entire scenes or write scenes that are later omitted. Writing a new book is always an adventure and I never know where the characters or stories will take me.
Beverley: What kind of research do you do for your books?
Kelli: That depends on what I’m writing. For my historical romances, (such as Lies, Love & Redemption, Loving a Wild Stranger, and The Viking’s Witch) I did a lot of research about different time periods, history, what life was like back then, etc. For my contemporary romances, I might research a fact that a character needs to know that I don’t—but for the most part, they don’t require too much research.
Beverley: After writing so many romances, how do you keep it fresh and spicy in the literary bedroom?
Kelli: I let the characters in each story determine the sexual content. Every story is different, and so are the sexual lives of the hero and heroine. Writing for the different characters and their individual situations helps keep things interesting and fresh.
The type of relationship and the frequency of the love scenes have to fit in with the characters and the heat level of the story. Love scenes should show how the characters relate to each other, how they fall in love, and add something to the overall emotional intensity of the story.
I’m often asked how I “know how much to show” in the love scenes. Sometimes it’s nice to give the characters privacy and imply what goes on (this lets readers use their imaginations); and yet, other times, readers want to see the passionate side of the relationship. I blend a little of each into my books. But no matter what type of love scene I write, I try to keep most of the focus on the characters and what they’re thinking and feeling emotionally—how the experience makes them more connected to their lover—rather than focus on what their bodies are doing.
Beverley: When you finish a book what do you do to let go of your characters and the world of that story?
Kelli: When I send a book off to the publisher, it’s not really “done”—there’s more work ahead. I need to do revisions and review the galley, then market the book when it’s released. But when the submission part is finished, I unwind from writing for a while. I might do no writing at all (except for blogs or promo/marketing) for a week or two and catch up on my reading. (When I’m writing, I don’t read, and when I’m reading, I don’t write.) This helps me leave the characters behind and focus on other things.
After a while I’ll get the urge to write again and start working on something new. Although I love my characters, I know when the story is over that it’s time to leave them behind. (Unless they come back to me later and want me to write a sequel!)
Beverley: In addition to your novels, you’re also a prolific short story writer. What is your key to creating a successful piece of short fiction?
Kelli: The best advice I ever got for writing short stories is: write tight. Take out anything and everything not essential to the story, such as extra words, details, dialogue tags, or whatever. This is especially important when I’m writing horror short stories. Too many words or distractions can break the tension, ruin the suspense, or otherwise distract the reader.
You also need a compelling story that draws readers into the world of the characters and holds them there. Not everyone believes in ghosts, but if you write a ghost story that sucks readers into that world and scares them, you’ve done your job. A “hook” beginning and a great ending are musts in creating a good short story.
Beverley: Tell us about your latest release(s).
Kelli: This spring, I released my Naughty Nobles trilogy of erotic historical/fantasy romances. The series is made up of Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights. Although the books are related, each stands alone as an individual read.
In January, I released Loving a Wild Stranger, a historical/pioneer romance set in the Michigan Territory in the early 1800s. Lies, Love & Redemption, my historical/western, was published last September.
My third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, came out in June. It’s a story about two best friends who have always been attracted to each other and finally make the leap into having a sexual relationship. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes that will heat up your summer!
Beverley: What’s next on the horizon for you?
Kelli: Currently, I’m revising a new historical romance novel (as yet untitled) and I’m working on re-editing the last of my romances previously published with Amber Quill Press. After that, I have ideas in the works for a few other romances (a historical, a paranormal, and a gay contemporary).
 

Blurb for Four Days With Jack 
When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…
Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.
Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship.He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?
Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?

Buy Links:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071FTMWHL
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/four-days-with-jack-kelli-a-wilkins/1109557509;jsessionid=1D70C74A962E0DE7D2F5CD770AAE14DD.prodny_store02-atgap01?ean=2940154705599#productInfoTabs
Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1243886678
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/four-days-with-jack-1
Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/350128475/Four-Days-with-Jack
Page Foundry: http://www.inktera.com/store/title/fa9ee1d1-3b1c-4e9c-b8ce-138ac7f472eb
24 Symbols: https://www.24symbols.com/book/x/x/x?id=2275200

You can find Kelli at:
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/kelliwilkins
Website: http://www.KelliWilkins.com
Blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/KWilkinsAuthor/
Medallion Press Author Page: http://medallionpress.com/author/kelli-wilkins/
Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1123678.Kelli_A_Wilkins

Don’t forget to check back next week for another author interview and more discussion of heroines.