You’ve now sold more than two million books and are an award-winning author of 30 contemporary romances with 8 more scheduled to be released in 2014. When did you publish your first book? At that time did you think you could make a career at it?
My first published book was Line of Scrimmage in 2008, but that was the seventh book I wrote. I had always hoped to make a career out of fiction writing, but until self-publishing came along, there was no prayer of that happening. I didn’t leave my full-time job until the end of 2011, so I’ve only been writing full-time for two years.
Your writing includes different facets of the romance genre. Do you prefer one genre to write in more than another?
All of my books are contemporaries. The Fatal Series is romantic suspense, but it’s also contemporary. I prefer to write straight contemporaries to romantic suspense, but the suspense is extremely challenging and forces me to stretch my storytelling skills. I always love the final product when I write a Fatal book, but the process of writing the books is grueling. The straight contemporaries are much easier to write.
How do you keep the writing fresh and contemporary after so many books?
I think it goes back to fresh, interesting characters who populate the stories. They keep the books interesting and new every time.
How do you research the storylines for your books?
I do most of my own research with some help once in a while from my assistant and my husband. I often visit places that I think would make good locations for books. However, I tend to write about places I know fairly well, which makes my books more authentic.
Do you think there will always be print books? Yes, I think there will probably always be print books. A LOT of readers still prefer print to digital.
How do you feel the digital market has changed the publishing industry for the better or worse?
I think the digital age has changed the industry for the better because it has given readers more options in how they acquire and read books. I also think the “instant gratification” aspect of e-reading is good for authors and publishers who are in the business of selling books.
How do you write? Or are you afraid of duplicating stories after so many books?
There’s nothing all that fancy about it—I start on page one and write the story straight through. I’m what’s known as a “pantser,” meaning I write “by the seat of my pants," making it up as I go along. I always know my main characters fairly well by the time I begin, and I have a very good idea of where I’m going with the story. The rest is a journey of discovery for me, and I like it that way. I never outline or do character development ahead of starting a book.
Does writing come easier now?
The writing does come easier because I’ve been doing it for so long, and I don’t fear duplicating stories because all the characters are so different from each other, which is what keeps the books fresh. I never hear that readers feel they’ve “already heard” one of my stories.
How much does social media play in your promotion of your books? What suggestions do you have for enhancing a writer’s social media platform?
Social media plays a HUGE role in the promotion of my books. I have a big following on Facebook that includes 30+ reader groups—one for each series and one for each book—that give readers a place to discuss the series and characters with other fans. Those groups have been extremely popular. The McCarthy Series reader group is getting close to 7,000 members and the new Green Mountain Group already has 3,000 members, and the first book, All You Need Is Love, just came out this month. I’m also active on Twitter, although my readers tend to be more on Facebook than Twitter.
What is some of the best writing advice that you’ve received or could give?
Writers write. They don’t talk about writing, they actually do it. Write every day. Treat it as a job vs. a hobby. Take it seriously and take the time to learn your craft before pushing a book out the door. A commonly held belief is that it takes at least 10,000 hours of work to “master” a creative art. I can assure you I put in twice that many hours before people I didn’t know started reading my books. I believe the time I spent learning my craft is a big reason why my books have done as well as they have. There are no shortcuts, no fast tracks, no get-rich-quick road to glory. It’s a long, hard slog, and it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Any last tips about writing that you would like to add?
Only that if you don’t honestly and truly LOVE to write, you’re in the wrong business. If you’re doing it for any other reason than you LOVE to write, you’re in the wrong business.
Want to know more about Marie and her writing, here’s some links to do that...
Join Marie's mailing list at http://marieforce.com/
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Join Marie's many reader groups at http://marieforce.com/connect/.
Contact Marie at email@example.com.