Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Category vs. single title and other things

Today I'm interviewing Nalini Singh who writes both category romance for Silhouette and single title paranormal romance at Berkley. Writers who write for HQ/Sil and single title houses at the same time are becoming more and more common, so I asked her what it was like:

J.A. You have started a single-title paranormal series with Berkley, but you also write category romance for HQ. How is writing single title different from category? Is one more challenging for you than the other?

N.S. It's difficult to compare the two, because they're so different. Each utilizes different skill-sets. For my short contemporaries, it's all about focusing on the two leads, while with my paranormals, world-building plays a critical part. They are both equally challenging, in their own unique ways.

J.A. On your road to publication, how did you handle rejection? How did you keep up your belief in yourself to keep going in the face of rejection? (If you were never rejected, skip the question!)

N.S. Oh yeah, I have a stack of rejections! I think what kept me going was this hunger I had to write. That's why I always ask people why they're writing. Because in the end, all you have to pull yourself up and keep the faith is your belief in what you're doing. That hunger, that passion, is so so important.

Another thing that helped was that I didn't focus obsessively on a project. I would love it, write, send it out, then start on something else, so a rejection wouldn't hit me as hard - yes it hurt, but I knew I'd have something else to go out with.

J.A. What would be your advice to a new writer trying to "break in?"

N. S. This is a cliche but it's true - write what you love. Forget about following the market. Be true to yourself. I wrote Slave to Sensation without knowing where I was going to sell it or if anyone would buy it. But my passion for the story came through and I believe that's what made it sell.

Have faith in yourself and the stories you want to tell. And be very choosy about who you allow to criticise your work. Don't write a book by committee. Stay true to your voice.

J.A. Describe your writing day--do you write full time or have a day job as well? If you'd like, please share ways you motivate yourself to keep writing and producing your great books.

N.S. I am fairly full time - I do occasional other work to stop from becoming a hermit but otherwise, I write. But that's a new development - until a few months ago, I worked full time. As such, my work days are still developing in terms of a routine but that's part of what I like about writing - you can set your own timetable, be flexible, so long as you meet deadlines.

My motivation is mostly internal. I want to write, to tell these stories. But to kickstart myself if necessary, I'll read or take a break from everything and then come back to it fresh.

J.A. Thank you!! I'm always interested to hear other authors' points of view.

Nalini has a March release from Berkley Sensation, Visions of Heat, second in her series, and in February released Bound by Marriage with Silhoutte Desire. You can read more about Nalini at

and her blog at


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Road to a Sale--One Author's Journey

For today's blog, I sent a few questions to Farrah Rochon, a brand-new author with Dorchester. I find the stories of authors’ paths to success to be inspiring. Each author had a different journey, reinforcing my belief that there is no one “right” or “sure” way to becoming a published author.

The similarities I find in each author’s story, though, is hard work, persistence, and a stubborn refusal to give up. Whether the sale comes from an agent, a contest, a meeting at a conference, the right ms. in the right slush pile at the right time—doesn’t matter. It was the hard work and persistence that got the manuscript ready to be sold in the first place.

Let me introduce Farrah Rochon, whose first book Deliver Me, a March 2007 release, is out in bookstores now.

J: How did you deal with rejections?

F.R. It's been said before that this business is not for the faint of heart. Truer words have never been spoken. The first time I sent a piece of my writing out, it was for a Missouri RWA chapter's writing contest. I placed fourth in that contest, and received wonderful feedback. I just knew the publishing contract would be forthcoming. I thought two, three months tops, and my book would be heading for the shelves. Well, it was more like five years, and during that time I received many rejection letters. However, I've never allowed myself to take even one of those rejections personally. Just as there are books that other people love that I hate, and vice versa, I knew that some editor out there was going to love my work. I just had to find "my" editor. So, I prayed, and I worked. I worked, and I prayed. I used a few swear words now and then, but then I went right back to praying and working. And waiting for my time. In my heart, I always knew I would be published.

J: How did your first sale come about?

F.R. I simply love my first sale story. In my opinion, it's the perfect example of how up and down this business can be. Last summer, I spent a great deal of time revising another manuscript for another publishing house. It was my second set of revisions, and I just knew they were going to buy this book. Well, they didn't. I was crushed when I received a rejection letter from the editor apologizing for not buying the book "even though she really loved the story and appreciated all the work I put into revising it". I spent the night venting to my friends, but vowed not to spend more than a day feeling sorry for myself. After all, I was becoming an old pro at the rejection thing.

That same night, I sent an email to my agent, letting him know about the rejection. The next day, July 13, 2006 at 1:16 p.m., my agent replied to my email stating how sorry he was about the rejection. But, he also had a bit of good news to share. He'd just received a call from Dorchester. They wanted Deliver Me. In less than twenty-four hours, I went from totally dejected, to totally elated. I haven't come down from Cloud Nine yet.

J: Thanks, Farrah, for sharing!

To readers: If there is a question you'd particularly like to see addressed here, please contact me through my website: www.jennifersromances.com (click the "e-mail" button at the top of the site.)

It's early days for this blog, and I have so much more to tell you. But I'd like to gear questions and answers to what people would like to know. Thanks much!!