I am so excited to host Marina Adair, a #1 national best-selling author who writes contemporary romances about the loves and lives of the handsome heroes of St. Helena, California; Sugar, Georgia; and Sweet Plains, Texas. Her work has been described as a “witty blend of sugar and sizzle” with “endearing characters and a unique quirky flair.”
I am particularly excited because this is our first giveaway! Marina has offered to give away one signed copy of her newest release, Need You For Always. You will get one chance to win for your Facebook Like (Romance Debuts), Facebook comment, WordPress comment, and/or Tweet to @romancedebs. The winner will be chosen and announced on Wednesday, October 14th.
Read on for Marina’s advice for new and aspiring authors.
What made you decide to write romance novels?
I started my writing career as a screenwriter, focusing on family adventure films, which led me to writing YA novels. One day, I discovered a romance novel at my local library, Falling For Mr. Dark & Dangerous by Donna Alward. I finished it in one sitting, then said to my husband, “I want to write books that makes other people feel what I am feeling right now.” The next day I started my first romance novel.
What was your biggest challenge when you were trying to publish your debut novel?
Figuring out my voice and what made me different from other writers. That’s why it is so important in the beginning to experiment with voice and genre. Sometimes what you’re drawn to as a reader isn’t what will cement you as an author.
How have you dealt with that challenge as you have published more?
Knowing my voice and the kinds of stories I want to tell makes it easier to utilize edits and criticism to grow my craft. If a writer decides to go the traditional route, securing an agent and publisher, then their works become a collaboration. Being adaptable and open to other ideas is key to growing as a writer.
What would you have done differently if you could start all over again?
Honestly, nothing. At the time, every mistake and rejection letter was awful, but I came to realize that every mistake and failure prepared me for my career. They got me one-step closer to where I am. I have four books that never sold, and never will. But each of those books lead me to discover a different part of myself—and my voice.
Can you imagine having a different career? What would it be?
I was a competitive cheerleading coach before I started writing and loved it. I could see myself going back to working with teenagers, maybe teaching writing.
How has the market changed since you first published?
Options. Holy moly, with self-pub, e-exclusive deals, traditional, and hybrid careers, authors have more options than ever before. It is exciting to think about all of the different avenues an author can take toward publication.
How has your life changed as you have published more books?
I had to become a master at multitasking. In the beginning, I would work on one book at a time, giving my sole focus to the story at hand. Now, with multiple series and publishers, I can be working on as many as four projects at one time, all in different stages of publication. Multitasking and time management have saved me.
What is the single most important thing an unpublished writer should do to get published?
It is simple: Write. My professor told me the only thing that separates writers from aspiring writers is that they sit their butts in the chair and write…everyday.
What is the single most important thing a newly published writer should do?
Be adaptable. The only way to grow as a writer and excel as an author is to be open to change and criticism. Once you sell to a publisher, it is no longer a story written for your sole enjoyment; your editor’s job is to help you fine-tune your story so it can be enjoyed by the largest reader base possible.
Where is the best place to go for writing advice?
Join local writers support group. There is one for nearly every genre. Romance Writers of America has been a great source for me throughout all of the stages of my career.
What is the best writing advice you have ever gotten?
Sit my butt in the chair and write … everyday.
Do you have a favorite debut author? If so, who?
I recently discovered MK Meredith. She writes emotional and complex characters that feel real and pull you in.
Emerson “Emi” Blake dropped out of culinary school to care for her ailing mother, but she has bigger dreams than running St. Helena’s most popular pita cart. First on the menu: upgrade to a gourmet food truck. A new part-time job as a personal chef will definitely provide the funds, but it also forces her into close contact with her one and only one-night stand, Dax Baudouin, who’s daring her to try a second taste.
Former army Ranger Dax has a clear mission: come home, get healed, and get gone. Yet Emi’s tough-girl exterior and hidden soft side are even harder to resist than her mouthwatering baklava. After years of battles, he knows better than to try and rescue anyone—not that she’ll let him get close enough to try. Truth is, Dax is starting to think that Emi’s the one person who can save him…if he can just persuade her to give him another shot.
Marina Adair is a #1 National best-selling author of romance novels and holds a Master of Fine arts in creative writing. Along with the Sugar, Georgia series, she is also the author the St. Helena Vineyard series, and her upcoming Heroes of St Helena series. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and two neurotic cats in Northern California.
As a writer, Marina is devoted to giving her readers contemporary romance where the towns are small, the personalities large, and the romance explosive. She also loves to interact with readers and you can catch her on Twitter at @MarinaEAdair or visit her at http://www.MarinaAdair.com. Keep up with Marina by signing up for her newsletter at http://www.MarinaAdair.com/newsletter.