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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

How Writing Book Series Pays Off: Author Interview with Debra Clopton

What made you decide to write that first novel?
I had a senior English teacher who encouraged me to write but I didn’t try it until ten years later after I’d started a business and a family and life was more settled for me.

How long did it take you to write your first book?
It actually took me only a few months, maybe three to write it. I’m a pantser and I see the book like a movie in my head. My first sold book The Trouble with Lacy Brown (also titled Dream With Me Cowboy) took me 10 days to write. However, it went through several revisions.

How long does it take to write a book now?
I’m very prolific and my average book is 50,000 words and it takes me 14 days to a month to write. Then goes to an editor as I work on the next book. Then I revise when it comes back, then on to another editor then a proofreader. So, from beginning to end a book takes me about 5 to 6 weeks. It’s been that way since I first sold.

How did you go about finding an agent/publisher?
I went to conferences but actually sold my first book on my own, when it was a Golden Heart Finalist. I got my agent afterward, then let her go soon after and continued to sell on my own. Later I researched exactly who I wanted as an agent and approached her at a conference, and she took me on. These days I own my own publishing company and don’t have a need for an agent.

You’ve now written nine different book series (hope I’m not missing any). Did you start with the idea of writing a series? 

I do have nine series (I even get them confused and will have two more series by the end of the year). I always write series. In romance writing, that is where the money is. It takes just as much money to sell one book as it does to sell a 5 to 10 book series. And readers love series, which is what it is all about. If they don’t love it and are not satisfied nothing works.

How do you keep your writing fresh after writing so many books?
Since my first series was set up, I’ve worked hard to keep them original. But life is original, and I watch life and pull things from it to apply to my books.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part for me is the middle. I always get there and think the book is horrible! LOL I’ve written about 80 books, I believe, and it is always the same. But I can tell you, the gold happens on the other side of the hill of doubt, so I learned early to just keep pushing and writing. Even if what I’m writing is junk the good stuff comes together through the trash then I go back edit the junk into submission afterward.

You’ve won multiple awards. Is there one that is especially meaningful to you?
I love the ones that were Reader’s Choice Awards and there were several of those. And then Booksellers Best was cool to win. But the truth is a real award-the one that means the most is any time a reader buys your book (I love that). If they love it enough to tell you about it, then that’s the icing on my cake. Those readers who enjoy my work help me to keep working and they are most important to me. (Thank you, readers!)

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing? 
To not think about the things, you think you lack when writing.  If you are weak in punctuation or proofing, ignore that and just create the book first, then worry about the edits. The creation of the book is the gift.

We have all experienced rejection. How have you learned to write past it?
I had a lot of hard rejection. It took me 10 years to sell my first book. Three different books we’re considered by top editors. For over 6 years, I worked closely with those different editors on the revisions. Back then, they’d keep a manuscript for 6 to 9 months before getting it back to you. It was awful. The editors kept changing their minds as to what they wanted.

I had to look inside me and know this is what I was meant to do. There was a drive in me that would not die. This was the only thing I could see myself doing and I focused on that. So, I always kept working and believing in myself, learning and preparing for the day one said yes.

I ran track in school and learned if I fell on a hurdle I had to get back up and finish the race. Rejection is the same. Get up and go for your dreams. These days, there are no gatekeepers. It is the best time ever to be a writer…that is the truth.

What has frustrated you the most in writing/publishing?
I hated giving my book over to editors and losing control of them. Now, with my own company, I am in control of my company and I’m my own best marketing agent.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Believe in yourself, learn your craft as you write and finish the book!

Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
Set aside a time and write. I hear people say they can’t find the time. If you want it bad enough then make time. I wrote in 10-minute timeslots when I had small children and a business. I wrote late at night, early morning, in line at the Dairy Queen. Small segments add up. I gave up TV and all other hobbies and focused on my dream. Set your priorities and stick to them—mine were faith, family, my business and then writing. I said no to anything else.
What is the next book coming out? Can you give me a short synopsis?

 My newest book release is Longing for You, which is book 5 in my Sunset Bay series.

Here are the details… Stuntman-heartthrob, Tate Sinclair, is every woman’s dream guy: he’s gorgeous, adventurous, and successful as a movie stuntman and adventure seeker. Gigi Mason isn’t immune to his good looks, but she is immune to the wanderlust in his veins. She’s been burned before by a walk-away-Joe kind of guy who chose the call of the wild over a life with her. And she’s determined it won’t ever happen again.

Tate was born loving a challenge and Gigi is about to find out that he’s not that easy to ignore…the more she tells him she’s not interested, the more he’s determined to change her mind…But is it the love of a challenge or actually love?

That’s all for today’s interview. If you’d like to learn more about Debra’s writing, here are some links to get you started.
Sign up for her newsletters and contests at:
See her Sunset Bay series book list and get book 1 Free:

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