I’m excited to introduce multi-published author, Patty Blount! Patty writes contemporary romances and is a Firecracker winner and RITA Finalist, and she most recently released Nothing Left to Burn. If you need cheering up, visit her website, http://www.pattyblount.com, for a good laugh and pictures of Gilles Marini. You cannot go wrong there! Here, Patty provides valuable insights into publishing and urges you to avoid the reviews!
What was your biggest challenge with publishing your debut novel?
The biggest challenge for me was letting go of it. It’s your ‘baby’. You want everything done your way but when you sell the rights to publish it, you give up some control. I suppose I could have self-published it but I’m a bit of a purist. I wanted to be traditionally published.
How have you dealt with that challenge as you have published more?
I’m pretty easygoing now. If I don’t think a cover works, I look for ways to make it work. For example, I had one character dye her hair so that the cover image worked.
What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?
If I could do it all over again, I’d have found the confidence to start when I was younger. This had been a dream of mine all of my life. Now that I’ve achieved it, I can’t help wondering if it could have been mine sooner.
How has the market changed since you first published?
The market exploded after Fifty Shade and then the new adult craze. I’d originally planned my debut novel SEND to be a new adult story before there was such a thing. The characters were in their early twenties, just out of college. I was urged to either age them or put them back in high school so the story could be sold.
How has your life changed as you have published more books?
Oh, well, there’s the yacht and the mansion…. LOL. That’s a lie… But I will tell you it’s gotten busy! I work full-time and write after work so that doesn’t give me much time for anything else. I don’t watch TV anymore except for a few favorite shows.
What is the single most important thing an aspiring writer should do?
Read! Reading is what inspired me to want to write. Read in and out of your genre for inspiration.
What is the single most important thing a newly published writer should do?
Avoid the reviews. They’ll crush you. One of my novels, Some Boys, has won a Firecracker Award and finaled in two other competitions. It’s currently in its sixth print run. And still, there are people giving it one star. Don’t read them or you’ll just want to crawl into bed and never come back out.
Where is the best place to go for writing advice?
Two places — the first is your computer. There is a metric ton of writing advice online today. The second place is your local writer’s group chapter. I belong to several chapters of the RWA or Romance Writers of America, including its Young Adult chapter and the Connecticut and Long Island chapters.
Do you have a favorite debut author? If so, who?
I have so many favorites! Jolyse Barnett, a friend from my Long Island chapter, writes beautiful romantic suspense and has her first solo project coming out soon. It’s called One More Sunset!
In the YA world, I’m really excited to read Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not.
Patty spends her days writing facts and her nights writing contemporary romantic fiction. A coworker once said if Patty were a super-villain, she’d be called The Quibbler. Her costume would be covered in exclamation points. Fueled by a serious chocolate obsession, a love of bad science-fiction movies, and a weird attraction to exclamation points, Patty looks for ways to mix business with pleasure, mining her day job for ideas to use in her fiction.
Though she’s passionate about happily-ever-afters, her first story wasn’t a romance at all. Penalty Killer, a whodunit, was written on a dare from her oldest son. Though unpublished, it was the subject of so many seventh-grade book reports that year, the English teacher requested a copy and later returned it, covered in red ink.
Ripped from the headlines, Patty’s novel, Send, a YA story about a former cyber-bully learning to deal with the suicide he caused with a single thoughtless click, was conceived when her boss suggested she learn about social media. Send was released August, 2012 from Sourcebooks Fire. Her book Some Boys (Sourcebooks Fire, 2014) was a 2015 Firecracker Winner, Bookseller’s Best Award Finalist, and RITA Award Finalist.