When plot changes are suggested, we have spirited discussions, as you can imagine, and one of us has to complete another draft, which is then read again by the other person. Basically, we go back and forth, rereading, revising and editing, and then proofreading until we feel the book is ready for someone else to read.
From what I can see, you’ve published 21 books since 2011. What was the best lesson you learned from publishing your first novel that gave you the impetus to go on to another book?
We learned many lessons in the process of publishing our first novel, originally called The Astrologer’s Daughter. We ultimately renamed it The Other Side of Summer because we realized that readers thought it was an occult book and not the women’s fiction/romance novel that it is.
At conferences, I’ve been told not to write Christmas books because it won’t have year-round appeal. How do your Christmas themed books sell out of season?
We are always amazed at how well our Christmas-themed books sell throughout the year, especially The Christmas Diary, The Christmas Town, and the three books in the Christmas Eve series. Many are time travel novels, which may account for their popularity all year long. Also, none of our books are boilerplate, Hallmark-type novels; each is unique, and Christmas is only one part of the plot.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
As John Grisham once said, “Writing's still the most difficult job I've ever had - but it's worth it.”
What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
The best encouragement comes from our readers, through increased sales and good reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and BookBub. We are also encouraged when readers write to us through our website or on Facebook, to thank us and/or ask to be put on our mailing list.
Are your books indie-published?
Yes. Broadback is the name we gave to ourselves, as publishers. We will be expanding the imprint in the near future, featuring different genres and expanding our Christmas Eve time travel series.
What has surprised or frustrated you the most in writing/publishing?
What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
If you are self-publishing and you want readers, you have to get them through writing the books readers want to read. You also have to advertise and market. You have to do your research, have an advertising budget and be creative and persistent.
What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Write every day or at least six days a week. Set aside a time of day to write and let everyone know you can’t be disturbed during those hours. It’s your job. And read, read, read.
Are there any other points about writing you would like to add?
There is nothing like the high you get when you write a good scene and it looks and smells right; especially when your characters lead the way, dancing on the page.
Time with Norma Jeane: A Time Travel Novel is your latest book. What drew you to write this story?
By making it primarily Darla’s coming-of-age story, though, we could be more creative and imaginative, and not be tied to specific biographical details about Marilyn’s life. And we could gently reveal Marilyn’s personality through the eyes of a smart, troubled and worshiping young girl, who grows up in just eight days.
This novel is a coming of age story about Darla, a precocious and lonely 16-year-old girl, who wants to escape her current, troubled family life. While walking her dog, she slips back in time to 1954 and meets Marilyn Monroe, who is one of her favorite actresses.
She lives with Marilyn for eight days, even going on a road trip with her. As Darla interacts with Marilyn and the people they meet on the road trip, she discovers important things about herself and comes to a decision about the purpose of her life.
Meanwhile, Marilyn is trying to connect with the father she never knew. While the events in the novel are totally fictitious, we have based them on facts (such as her marriage to Joe DiMaggio and her friendship with the photographer Milton Greene). We have tried to present Marilyn in a respectful and caring way, even while showing her charm, playfulness and, unfortunately, her self-destructive tendencies.
I just started reading this book and I encourage my readers to pick it up as well. If you’d like to learn more about all their books, here are some links to get you started.