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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Taking it to the TV Screen:Author Interview with Romance Writer, Teri Wilson

Today I am pleased to feature one of the writers from San Antonio Romance Authors which is the local chapter of RWA where I am a member.  This is a wonderful group of writers who encourage each other and it seems someone is always available to give you tips and ideas for writing. If you are not part of a local writing group, I encourage you to find one that fits the genre you write and challenges you. I am currently a member of three writing groups and each is a fit for a type of writing I do. 

Now on to the interview...

I see your first book was published in 2008 with White Rose Press, but when did you start writing your first novel? How long did it take you to write it? 
To be totally honest, I don’t remember how long it took to write my very first books. But really, I didn’t know what I was doing back then anyway. Learning the craft takes time. I’m still learning. I learn something new with every book I write, and I love attending workshops at RWA and hearing advice from the best romance writers in the business. Unleashing Mr. Darcy took about a year from start to finish, but that included several revision passes with help from my agent. By the time we got to the third draft, we considered the book ready to send out to publishers. 

How long does it take you to write a book now?
Right now, when writing books on a new contract, I ask for 3-4 months for a category length book and 6-8 months for a longer single title book.

What did you learn in writing your first book that helped you in writing the next books?
In the beginning, I had a lot to learn about plot and pacing. All the changes my agent requested on Unleashing Mr. Darcy were related to pacing. She likes a fast-paced book. So we did a lot of cutting. It was painful. Ha ha.

Your book, Unleashing Mr. Darcy, has been made into a Hallmark Movie. Tell us about how that came about?
My agent, Elizabeth Winick Rubinstein, sold the film rights to Sydell Albert, the executive producer. Sydell has a long-standing relationship with my literary agency. She’d never worked with the Hallmark Channel before, though. I think even she was a bit surprised when they bought the project. We all were. (In a good way, obviously!)

The Darcy story is not the first one you've written that's based on a classic love

story. You've also done stories based on Romeo and Juliet and My Fair Lady/Pygmalian. What inspired you to do a fresh take on them?
The Darcy book came about because I have an enormous love for Jane Austen and her stories. My publisher, Harlequin HQN, asked me to write more retellings of classics. I chose Romeo and Juliet next because it’s pretty much known as THE love story of all time, and those two kids really deserved a happy ending. I was then drawn toward My Fair Lady because I love Audrey Hepburn. I’ve also written a modern version of Roman Holiday, but it has not yet been published.

How did you go about finding a publisher/agent? Which came first? 
I sort of signed with Harlequin and my agent right around the same time. An editor at Harlequin had seen a manuscript I’d submitted to Love Inspired and sent me a letter requesting that I revise and resubmit. So I’d incorporated all her changes, rewritten the ending and resubmitted. During the wait, I wrote the first three chapters of Mr. Darcy and sent them to Liz (my agent). We’d already been chatting for about a year, because she’d contacted me after reading one of the books I’d written for Wild Rose Press. But she’d yet to sign me. Once she saw the Darcy chapters, she signed me right away. Then she contacted the editor at Harlequin and negotiated a deal for the manuscript they had under review.

What should an author know before signing with an agent?
With regard to signing with an agent, I’d say it’s really important to find an agent who you trust and someone you have a good rapport with. Liz is my agent, but she’s also my friend. We have a great relationship.

What type of publicity does your publisher expect you to do in promoting your book? What do they do on your behalf?
At Harlequin, this differs depending on whether the book is single title or part of a category line. An author of a category book doesn’t have to do a lot of marketing. The lines have really loyal readers. Harlequin also does a good job marketing the different lines to their target audiences. I think the best way to sell a lot of books in a category line is to keep writing more books.

Single title is different, especially for a brand new author. No one even knows who you are, so why would they pick up your book? The publisher has a marketing department to help get word out, but the author has to do a lot of work on her/his own. I remember when I first met the head of HQN, she kept asking me which other HQN authors I knew who could help market my book. At the time I didn’t know any. It was a little daunting.

What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
Part of me wants to say that I wish I’d known how difficult this business can be at times. But it doesn’t really matter. I love writing. I don’t just want to do it. I have to. It’s like a compulsion. I love it.

So I guess instead I’d say that having writer friends is really important. Every time I’m stuck on a story or a plot or struggling with an idea, it’s been my writer friends who save the day. Every. Single. Time. I honestly can’t imagine doing what I do without the encouragement and support of other writers.

What is the best advice you’ve been given about writing or that you’ve learned

that you would like to pass along?
It was something that Sylvia Day said in her keynote speech at RWA in 2014. She said that anyone who has been in this business for any length of time has had to reinvent themselves at least once. You may fail, but you can start over and if you work hard enough and want it bad enough, you can begin again. At the time of this speech, I’d just had my single title contract with HQN cancelled, and these were the exact words I needed so badly to hear. If your first chance doesn’t work out, things aren’t over. Do what you need to do to make another chance for yourself.

What other works are in the process?
I’m currently working on a new book series that I’m not allowed to talk about. It’s a secret. (Wink.) Look for a coming announcement in Publishers Weekly.

If you'd like to learn more about Teri and her writing, here's some options for you.


She also writes fun non-fiction articles daily at
HelloGiggles is an entertainment and lifestyle website for women founded by Zooey Deschanel and now a division of People Magazine. 

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