Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Romance Today, an Interview with Author, Lynn Ricci



What made you decide to take the plunge and write a novel?
Writing a novel was something I always wanted to do but more so after my mom and I were cleaning out my paternal grandmothers apartment and I came across a green leather, zippered journal.  My grandmother was 92 at the time she passed and this was a snapshot of her life at 16, moving from the woods of Maine to NYC during the roaring 20s.  And there was a story in those pages – one I still want to fictionalize and tell.

You’ve released two novels – one in August and the second in December. Do you write that fast or have these been in the process for some time?
The first novel, The Dating intervention, was started long before my second novel, Cursed. The Dating Intervention took about two years to the point when I released it, but Cursed was already well underway at that point.  I have another couple of stories right now that I am feeling out to see which one will bubble up and write itself quicker!

How long did it take you to write the first book? How many rewrites did you do on it? Who helped you with the editing?
The first book required more rewrites.  I had a group of diverse friends that I had read my early draft manuscript in order to elicit good feedback.  I set up an online anonymous survey so no one would hold back!  I built out characters they wanted to know more about and revealed more of the back story because of the process and I think it really helped.

Did the second book come about quicker?
The second book did come quicker – almost like a movie inside my head.  And it’s written that way with lot of visually rich descriptions and nuances to help the reader see what I did.  Not as many rewrites, actually none!  I presented the story in its current form to the editor and found I was in decent shape. 

How did you come up with the idea for The Dating Intervention?
It actually came about from personal experience – although the book is not about me!  Very similar to the main character, I am divorced with children and a corporate job.  I started dating a man and when that ended, my friends didn’t want me sitting around and kept telling me to get back out there – but dating is REALLY tough when you are in your forties.  I started sending out snippets of my “bad dates” to friends and got a lot of positive feedback that it was funny and someone suggested I tie them together into a book.  Well, that was enough to get me started. 

Could you give me a short synopsis on the story for my readers?
The Dating Intervention deals with the issues of dating post our "prime," juggling other responsibilities, and allowing ourselves to take chances with our lives to find what really gives us happiness – whether with a relationship or what we do for a living.  The book is similar to real life – there are touching moments with close girlfriends, sad and frustrating moments when you feel your life is crashing down, and some funny times when you can’t believe this could be happening! 

Your 2nd book, Cursed is defined in a review as a “spellbinding modern gothic.” What exactly does that mean – vampires, werewolves, and witches? What should make readers interested in learning about your main character and her life?
Without giving too much away, there is a witch involved and she is made even more dangerous because she is a scorned woman.  There is no time travel – but there is a look back to Boston in the late 1800’s, and the same brownstone Sarah Carter has moved into.  What she finds out along the way is the connection she has to the family that had lived in the house back then and how that connection may put her in extreme danger from the witch who wants her revenge.

How would you define the difference between chick lit and romance writing?
I enjoy chick lit for my personal reading.  I feel it’s usually a lighthearted, fun look at love, where opposites attract and usually involves shopping and shoes – two things I love.  Romance books explore more of the can’t live without, passionate, spiraling, lusty type of love that many times is with an against all odds backdrop.  Both are great and hopefully everyone gets to experience each type in their lives – at least once!

Did you try the normal route and try to find a traditional publisher to handle your book?Did you pitch any agents? When did you decide to self-publish?
That was part of the delay with The Dating Intervention.  I did query several top agents but got all the same response – thanks but no thanks right now.  In hindsight, I should have tried more than 3-4 but by then I was starting to learn how tough the traditional publishing route is.   

I was also learning more about the self-publishing world and how much it had changed from the days of vanity press to the new print-on-demand option that allows an author to have control over their work, and when and how their books are released.  For me, it was a simple decision; I was not as hung up on being represented and more about sharing my stories.  I now have people reading and enjoying my work, writing reviews, and making a connection with me through social media.

What type of publicity do you do to promote your book? What has worked best for you in generating sales?
It’s hard to say what works best since it’s been a relatively short period of time.  I did decide to go the Amazon KDP route first for both books so offering the free days has generated subsequent sales.  And I did a blog tour for The Dating Intervention and I am about to kick one off for Cursed during the first week in March.  I have done the Goodreads giveaways and I think that also helps with visibility.  Right now, being a new and unknown author, the best thing I can do is get my name out there to generate new readers and generate enough buzz for the books to go viral.  And avenues such as this interview are a good way to do that, so thank you!

What do you know now about writing/publishing now that you wished you had known sooner?
The amount of promotion was a little bit surprising.  As I just mentioned, the level of marketing required to get your name out there in the sea of new and upcoming authors is not only huge but it’s never ending.  I need to be active on social media like Facebook, Twitter, and write a blog, along with keeping my website up to date and change it enough to keep visitors coming back.  Then there are the interviews and guest blogs for blog tours and making sure your online presence is kept up to date on places like Shelfari, Amazon Author Central, etc.  All while continuing to write, work and raise a family. 

Is this a stand-alone book or are you planning a sequel or prequel for any of your characters?
For Cursed, I am considering a prequel that would focus more on the witch and show a little bit of the same story told from her side.  As for The Dating Intervention, I have thought about connecting some of the secondary characters in future contemporary romances. 

What is the best advice you’ve been given about writing or that you’ve learned that you would like to pass along?
It takes more than you as the writer to get your book across the self-published finish line.  You need to ask others to beta read your story (listening to their feedback!), and enlist professionals for the cover and editing services.  Although the allure of doing it all yourself for free is powerful, you need to view this as a business - investing in yourself and the product you are releasing to the world.

I hoped this has piqued your interest to learn more about Lynn and her writing. To get you started here's a link to her blog - lynnricci.wordpress.com, website
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for having me on your blog, Chris. The interview was a lot of fun!
    -Lynn

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