Friday, September 26, 2008

A Self-Published Success Story

A few weeks ago I posted a review of Linore Rose Burkard's Christian regency romance, Before the Season Ends. She self-published her novel, then Harvest House offered her a contract. The book, will be re-released in December.

Go Here to see the new Harvest House cover.

Below is the interesting interview with Linore. In a few more days I will post the interview with her editor, Nick Harrison of Harvest House, which I believe will be of great interest to all historical writers.

Now, here is Linore Rose Burkard.

1. Your book, Before the Season Ends, was self-published three years ago and managed to grab the attention of someone at Harvest House, a Christian publisher who bought the rights and is releasing it in December. How did that come about?

Once I self-published, Melanie, I took courses on promoting and marketing, and I just went out there and started establishing a web presence as best I could. I joined forums, chat groups, any group I could find that had some link to my book ( an Inspirational Regency Romance), started a web site, newsletter, and wrote articles to spread over the web via article banks. At the same time, I began networking and making friends. No one succeeds entirely on their own, but there are things every author must do on their own to get that web presence going, and I did what I could.

2. What inspired you to create these memorable characters and the fun, fast-paced plot of Before the Season Ends?

I was influenced primarily by Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. I wanted desperately to read a book that had the fun and some of the wit of those authors while also offering a refreshing, Christian worldview. After waiting years for that book to appear on the shelves, one day it me hit that if I was ever going to read the book, I'd have to write it, myself! So I wrote the kind of book I was looking for, and apparently lots of other people were happy to find it existed, once I did. (By God's grace!) It's fun, adventurous, historical, and combines innocence and smarts in the heroine in just the right amounts.

3. Your book has a style that I would characterize as unconventional. Can you explain your reasons for writing as you do?

I think you're nicely trying to say that I head-hop a lot! And yes, I do. I see my scenes like a movie playing in front of me, and when you see all your characters at once this way, you want to share how each of them are feeling in the scene, just like in a movie. I like the "dimensional" feeling this gives to a scene, and the reality that no one lives in a vacuum. Lots of time, the only humor in a scene lies in getting the reaction to something by other people, not the main character, and I'm always looking for that humorous side to things.

4. I hear you're working on a sequel. Who and what is it about and when will it be available?

Well, I can't give too much of a spoiler, since Before the Season Ends is about to reach a much wider audience when the Harvest House edition comes out. But I can say that the characters people come to love in the first book are in the sequel, and that the story is full of action. I think my books sort of "snowball"--that is, they may start out seeming calm, but once things get rolling, they increase in speed until the end, when it all comes to a head. I like to think this makes them more and more fun as they go along, and other people seem to confirm this in their responses and reviews. The House in Grosvenor Square is especially that way. It's another London Regency adventure/romance and lots of fun.

5. How did you learn the craft of writing, and what advice can you give aspiring authors?

The best way to learn to write is to do it. Don't stop working on a piece until it says exactly what you want it to. And take lots of time before you judge a piece. Put it down and out of your sight for as long as you can. If you're not published yet, and you can't tell if your book is any good, put it away. Don't even think about it! (Except perhaps for getting other opinions.) When you pick it up again, and you're really removed from the story, you'll know soon enough, when reading it fresh, if it grabs you or not. If you enjoy it, chances are others will too. I know I have a winner when I'm reading something I started quite awhile ago, and then it stops--and I'm like, "Hey! I want to read the rest of this!" I actually get annoyed at myself for not finishing things when I'm reading and really enjoying the story--and then it ends abruptly. If you don't get that sort of reaction, keep editing or writing new things until you do.

6. Your bio says you homeschooled your five children and your ninety-year-old grandmother lives with you. What is your day like? How do you find time to write?

One of the blessings of having grown up in a large family is that I can go in and out of concentration with little effort. I can work with things going on around me. There are times when I really need an extended period of quiet, but usually I can hop right back into whatever scene or article I'm working on, after an interruption. And that's what my day is like, in a nutshell: It's full of INTERRUPTIONS. I happen to believe these interruptions are the things that make up my real life; they are as much my calling as writing. I make out schedules, I think ahead for ways to keep the kids happy while I'm especially busy, but mostly it's a matter of recognizing that small periods of time are valuable. I may write for an hour, stop to make breakfast for my youngest, write for half an hour, then read her a book. Meanwhile, I've got to keep track that the kids are doing what they're supposed to be, but right now I've got it pretty easy. I've got one away at College, one commuting from home to College, and one in Christian school. So that leaves only two that are homeschooling, and one is a kindergartner. (I love teaching a child to read. It's a joy.) So it's sort of a back and forth process, between me and the children and me and my work. I also write in waiting rooms, in cars if I have to wait for someone, while traveling, etc. Small periods of time are wonderful because your brain will cooperate and give you much more than you can get down in ten minutes, say, but you might not have got it if you hadn't "given" that ten minute interval to writing.


Janna said...

This is a wonderful book and I am so excited for Linore that it is getting picked up by Harvest House!


bigguysmama said...

Linore's story is so wonderful! I enjoyed your interview. I can't wait to read her book.

Mimi B

Robin Johns Grant said...

What a great interview! I'm so proud of this woman for self-publishing, then marketing and promoting and finding her way to this success. I love it that she took a different route. And she has a great way of looking at things. She's so right that the interruptions are often as much a part of our calling as the writing. It's very important to be able to see which interruptions are worthwhile and which are just--interruptions.