Welcome to the five hundred and fifty-second of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with romantic suspense author Amy Romine. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, Amy. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
Amy: My name is Amy Romine. I am a mother of three, wife, corporate manager, and romantic suspense novelist. I live in Arlington, TX. I have been writing since I was little, but made the decision to become a professional a few years ago when something inside said I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do.
Morgen: Me too (last year) and once I’d decided I started saving up and finally did the deed this March (well, I actually resigned October 1st last year but it took them six months to find a replacement!) and the savings have been whittling down ever since… What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
Amy: I am a romantic suspense author, I have delved into the erotic and also paranormal, but I prefer romantic suspense. I have considered other genres and at the moment I am considering moving into YA.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Amy: To-date I have had ten novels published, three series and two stand alones…
Trust Me Series: Serenity Lost, Veiled Deception, Jaded Promises
Tarot Series: Shockwave – Temperance, Backlash – Knight of Cups, Fallout – Two of Wands
Soul Mate Chronicles: Ever the Same, Come Undone
You Never Could Be…
A Snowflakes Chance in Hell
Morgen: Wow, that’s prolific. Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
Amy: All of my books are available on eBook in several formats, from Kindle, to ePub (Nook) to PDF and everything in between. I recently got a Kindle and I LOVE it, paper is fine but I prefer digital.
Morgen: Do you? That’s interesting. I’d say 75%+ of the people I’ve interviewed who read eBooks still favour paper books, with another 24% saying they like both equally (I’m in that camp) but the rest, yourself included prefer digital (I have had one or two say they no longer read print books). Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your books were made into films, who would you have as the leading actor/s?
Amy: Trust Me is my absolute favourite series! I adore all of the characters and the story. If Trust Me were made into a movie I would cast (in a perfect world) Ryan Reynolds as Eric, Rachel McAdams as Rebecca and Tom Hardy as Charlie.
Morgen: Great choices. Did you have any say in the titles / covers of your books? How important do you think they are?
Amy: Yes I have a lot of say in my covers, and my titles. They are so very important they are the headlines to the story. They must be professional, eye catching and a reflection of the novel. Thankfully I have a wonderful team at Extasy, and a very talented friend, Dakota Trace who have made me beautiful covers. I have been beyond thrilled with them.
Morgen: Dakota and I are friends on Facebook and Goodreads. I’ve not had her as a guest on this blog but she’d be very welcome. 🙂 What are you working on at the moment / next?
Amy: I have several things brewing, at the moment I am working on a novel that will mix the historical past with the present day as the two are connected to solving a mystery. I am really excited about it and am furious working to build the vision I have for it.
Morgen: That sounds great. Half the battle (not that I have one) with writing is getting the idea then you just need to get it down. You can’t edit a blank page. Do you manage to write every day? Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?
Amy: I do write every day, it is a personal and professional requirement. Writers block has hit on occasion and my resolution is to just keep writing until something clicks again.
Morgen: Absolutely. It usually does. You talked about ‘building your vision’, do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
Amy: I do both. When an idea hits me it is usually a sliver and then it grows. I will continue to coax and nurture it until I have a solid idea about the core of the story. I will outline as much as I can, like a map, and then I will start writing.
Some writers outline with such detail and conviction there is no room to wiggle. I have tried that in the past but I am such a perfectionist I get stuck in the outline and never start writing. I have found once I start writing, if I have a clear, solid, core the novel will take on a life of its own and just flow. Now there are times when I get off into the weeds and need to do a course correction here and there, but usually if it is flowing I am going…
Morgen: I plotted (as good as I get, about four pages of notes) my first novel (still in a file at this stage) but it went off tangent and I learned to let it flow thereafter. Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
Amy: When I first start exploring characters I do a character outline, I start with the basic and move lightly. As my stories tend to have a mind of their own, my characters do the same. When I start I again know the core of the person but I will he or she flesh themselves out as we go. I like to do this because then it is natural for me and the reader, we are getting to know the characters at the same time. People are flawed and thus characters must be flawed, I think my characters are believable because at times they are jerks, idiots, rude and broken. Just like me.
Morgen: Hopefully much more so. Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
Amy: There is always room for improvement and editing is the path toward perfection. As a writer I have learned so much and I continue to learn and grow every day. Editing and I have a love / hate relationship but we get through. No matter how much of a master I think I am (which I am sooo not) editing will kick me down a few notches and that is not a bad thing.
Morgen: I have that same relationship with editing, and a second pair of eyes will not only pick up what we miss (easily done, especially if not enough time left so we’re still familiar with it), but also they invariably come up with great suggestions. I say research is my other bugbear but at least having the internet makes it much easier. Do you have to do much research?
Amy: With the types of novels I have written thus far, no. However, that being said my current project does require research. I am enjoying it but I am also adjusting to the restrictions this type of novel imposes. I am having to answer questions I would not have considered with my other books.
Morgen: If you have them then the reader is likely too, and the research should at least help answer them. What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person?
Amy: First person, although all of the persons have always confused me for some reason. I look through the characters eyes and tell the story so if that is first person than so-be-it.
Morgen: Second is hard to pull off. I’ve done a lot of it so I feel confident in it but I only use it in short stories. Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
Amy: I have written a few novellas, but those have been a struggle as I tend to be long winded. I cannot do poetry and non-fiction with the exception of business articles isn’t something that interests me.
Morgen: I’m the same. I rarely write poetry, usually just for writing group exercises and non-fiction is invariably about writing. Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
Amy: I am not going to say never as I will never truly give up on anything. Everything has potential. Now will I actually get around to fulfilling the potential of that piece, only God knows, LOL!
Morgen: Let’s hope not. I like to think that my older short stories that I wrote and never got around to doing anything with will find homes. I’m now more experienced to see where they may have fallen down had I submitted them (no guarantee I know but it’s all about practice). Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
Amy: Yes, many, many, many, rejections. I try not to take them personally. If I am given a critique I will evaluate the comment and take an honest look at the piece to decide if it is valid. Otherwise I look at every rejection as one step closer to an acceptance.
Morgen: If they spur you on then they’re certainly pushing you in the right direction, and I always say it’s just the right thing for the wrong person. Do you have an agent? Do you think they’re vital to an author’s success?
Amy: In the beginning I looked for an agent, as at the time they were essential. Now as the industry has changed I don’t feel they are a must-have. For me, the only reason I would partner with an agent is if he/she really believed in my work. I would love to have a business partner in that sense.
Morgen: I don’t either, but never say never. How much of the marketing do you do for your published works or indeed for yourself as a ‘brand’?
Amy: I do all of the marketing, and building of my ‘brand’. It is not easy, and most writers do not have any clue as to how difficult it really is. I am constantly working to solidify my name as an author always selling and brainstorming for new ideas. Truth be told, no one is going to sell my book but me.
Morgen: Invariably yes. Marketing is usually the answer to my next question (the ‘least’ part) – apart from anything, it’s so time-consuming. What’s your favourite / least favourite aspect of your writing life? Has anything surprised you?
Amy: I enjoy all aspects of my life a writer. The most unexpected thing about becoming a professional was how much I didn’t, and still, do not know! There is a whole world of difference between what is taught and the actual experience of it.
Morgen: I’ve heard long-established writers say they’re still learning and things do change (for the better hopefully). What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Amy: Picture this; you are at the top of a cliff, there is a rope strapped to your body, that rope is your ‘dream’ to be a published writer. You have two ways to jump. You can jump, cut your rope, and go home, or you can climb back up and start again. You cannot do both.
So how much do you really want the thrill, and are you ready for the climb back to the top?
Every time you write a book you are jumping off the ledge, and it is amazing. If it is a one-time experience that is fine, but if you intend on making it a career you better be in really good shape. You always have to climb back to the top.
Make sure this is what you want. Make sure you are ready for it. Wanting is the key, how much do you want it, really want it? The reason I say this is because there are times where the want is all you will have to keep you going. Be honest with yourself, and the rest will come.
Morgen: I love the way you put that. I’ll remember it next time I’m standing on a cliff. 🙂 If you could invite three people from any era to dinner, who would you choose and what would you cook (or hide the takeaway containers)?
Amy: Audrey Hepburn, JJ Abrahms, and Seth McFarlane. I would not cook as I would not want my guests to become ill. Instead we are going with the take-out scenario.
Morgen: That’s funny. I do very little cooking and have not poisoned anyone yet but having a takeout (or chef for the night) would give you more time to chat with your guests. Is there a word, phrase or quote you like?
Amy: “The biggest trick the devil ever pulled was making people believe he doesn’t exist.”
Morgen: 🙂 Are you involved in anything else writing-related other than actual writing or marketing of your writing?
Amy: Not at the current time, I recently gave up several ventures to focus more on my marketing activities, although I continue to be a business writer.
Morgen: What do you do when you’re not writing?
Amy: I love good TV, movies and spending time with my family.
Morgen: I don’t watch much TV (Dexter, Grey’s Anatomy, and Downton Abbey mostly) but love movies and have a season ticket for my local complex (£15 a month, go as often as you like, it’s great). Are there any writing-related websites and / or books that you find useful?
Amy: THE BEST site and books I have found are two actually, as they are connected.
Kristin Lamb, a social media expert is amazing. I was having challenges in understanding twitter and she made it super easy! She is also a writer so her insights into the professional world as well as the craft and invaluable. She has created a group for writers to support each other on Twitter. #MYWANA We Are Not Alone.
Retired Special Forces soldier and author Bob Mayer is my idol. The man sells 1,500 books day! No joke. He is very approachable and down to earth with his advice. He has written two books, The Novel Writers Toolkit and Write it Forward. He also has a blog that he updates fairly often.
Morgen: Ooh, new to me, I wonder if they’d like to guest here. Thank you Amy. Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
Amy: I belong to a few, a lot less than I used to. I find them, at times, fairly annoying, unless there is a productive conversation then I will engage.
Morgen: I leave my Twitter screen on ‘connect’ as I follow 1,700+ people and I can go out round the block with the dog and come back to hundreds of ‘tweets’ so I just concentrate on the ones who have retweeted or mentioned me. Ditto with Facebook. All my blog posts appear automatically (and on LinkedIn, Tumblr and Yahoo – the joy of WordPress) and get shared / retweeted without me doing anything so a great resource, and of course I do go on them myself, just not as often as some people do. What do you think the future holds for a writer?
Amy: Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Writers are the keys to the future, we are the conscious and the dreamland of society so we will take the future wherever we want.
Morgen: We are, it’s a great time to be an author. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Amy: My website, http://www.amyromine.com.
Morgen: Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Amy: Do you have any pearls of wisdom or advice for me? Would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂
Morgen: Oh, gosh. If about writing, I do think that we’re never too far along the path to learn and I blogged some writing essentials for Nancy Dodd back in May if they’re of any use. Otherwise, just keep doing a bit of everything online, see what works and what doesn’t (for example I’ve heard little about Klout, Twoo etc so am resisting those until I feel it’s worth the time) and enjoy meeting fellow writers along the way. Although I’m biased, it’s the best industry to be in. Thank you, Amy.
I then invited Amy to include an extract of her writing…
“I’m not having this conversation with you.” A fire ran up her back in annoyance at his scolding.
“Yes we are having this conversation.” He stepped closer and fear shining in his eyes. “You need to start being more careful, this isn’t a game.”
“What exactly have I done to make you think that this is a game to me?”
“You’re going to get yourself killed!”
“So I’m just supposed to hide until it goes away? I’m supposed to stop my entire life while I wait for someone to catch him?”
“No, but you need to stop taking unnecessary risks.”
“Ok hang on a sec, let’s just review what risks I’m allowed to take,” The sarcasm dripped from her voice and she was on the verge of laughter. “So we’ve established I’m not safe at home, since I’ve spent almost two weeks with Donna now. So according to ‘you’ home is out.”
“What about work? Nope, can’t do that either. Parade of flowers, a rotting teddy bear and a box of blood pretty much shut that door didn’t it?”
“You’re not hearing me–”
“No, Eric, you’re not hearing me. I can’t go to work. I can’t come home, what else is there?”
“You need to think about this for a minute.”
“No I don’t! I’m tired of thinking about it,” Rebecca’s voice cracked and her eyes started to tear. “That’s all I do is think about it! I lay awake at night seeing flowers, boxes of blood and dead rats. Not to mention hear the screams of unknown women as they have god knows what done to them!”
“Beccs calm down,” Eric reached out to touch her and she backed away, the sound of pounding in her head.
“I’m done thinking about it. I’m done running from this asshole,” unable to keep the emotion out of her voice, she pushed her hand through her hair in distraction. “If he wants me he can come and get me! In fact I hope he doesn’t wait too long because I need to get some goddamn sleep!”
And a synopsis …
Trust Me Book 1 – Serenity Lost Blurb:
A mad man who loves the first pearl of blood
Rebecca Gailen has enough on her plate already, when she begins to receive anonymous gifts it is easy to ignore, she simply didn’t care.
He leaves nothing behind but lifeless crimson
Eric Stiles is on the trail of a killer. The psychopath’s bloodlust seemingly insatiable, the LVPD Detective wonders if this will be the one that got away.
Fate always has a plan
In the midst of chaos, Rebecca Gailen and Detective Eric Stiles come face to face and the world around them comes to a screeching halt. It was one night neither of them had forgotten, a perfect moment they’d clung to for strength. Unknowing that fate had other plans…
His heart lurched, her armour shattered and the world started again.
Amy Romine has always wanted to be one of the good guys. From playing ‘Charlie’s Angels’ in the backyard of her Allentown, PA home as a child, to the pages of her most recent series, The Soul Mate Chronicles, Amy has always dreamt of adventure and romance. Her need to make characters truly deserve their happiness takes us on many a twisted journey. From serial killers to demons, Amy holds nothing back in the name of true enduring love.
A wife, mother of three, full-time corporate employee and now the author of two compellingly addictive series and finishing a third, her entrance onto the stage of romantic suspense has been an enthralling adventure all its own. Although Amy started writing in high school but didn’t take the professional plunge until three years ago when a little voice told her she was meant to be doing something more…
Since her premier release of Serenity Lost in October 2010 with Extasy Books, Amy became the Prime Time Editor for BellaOnline, and regular contributing author to the Amazon Subscription Blog, ‘Red Lipstick Journals’. She is also an active eBook Author supporter lending her voice to encouraging new and indie eBook authors in striding toward their visions. Her own goal is to be a self-sustaining author by 2014.
Amy currently resides in Arlington, Texas with her husband, and three children.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and are thinking “ooh, I’d like to do this” then you can… just email me and I’ll send you the information. They do now (January 2013) carry a fee (£10 / €12.50 / $15) for the new interviews on this blog but everything else (see Opportunities on this blog) is free.
If you go for the interview, it’s very simple; I send you a questionnaire (I have them for novelists, short story authors, children’s authors, non-fiction authors, and poets). You complete the questions, and I let you know when it’s going to go live. Before it does so, I add in comments as if we’re chatting, and then they get posted. When that’s done, I email you with the link so you can share it with your corner of the literary world. And if you have a writing-related blog / podcast and would like to interview me… let me know.
Alternatively, if you’d like a free Q&A-only interview, I now have http://morgensauthorinterviews.wordpress.com on which I’ve rerun the original interviews posted here then posted new interviews which I then reblog here. These interviews are Q&A only, so I don’t add in my comments but they do get exposure on both sites.
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The full details of the new online writing groups, and their associated Facebook groups, are:
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