Are you struggling to finish your manuscript? Do you want to have finished a draft? Do what author Rebecca Hunter did, and make that your birthday gift to yourself! I love this idea because it reframes the writing process into something you do for yourself instead of a chore that you struggle to get through. And who really needs another pair of earrings, right?
Read on to learn about Rebecca’s Stockholm Diaries series, and head over to Amazon.com to pick up the latest book for FREE! But hurry! It’s only free for a few hours today!
What inspired you to write this story?
My husband is Swedish, and we have lived in Sweden twice. Both times, I met women from around the world with interesting, unique stories about meeting Swedish men and moving to Sweden. These stories involved chance meetings, uncertain risks and sacrifice, all in the name of love. The whole Stockholm Diaries series is a kind of tribute to all these stories.
Was this the first book you had written?
This is the first book to make it out of my hard drive and into readers’ hands, but it’s not my first attempt. As a birthday present to myself a few years ago, I decided to give myself what I wanted the most: a completed novel, no matter how it turned out!
The story was a mystery, and even after a year of work, it was a mess (and still is, though less so at this point!). However, going through the process of writing and revising helped me understand how to conceptualize a novel.
At the time, I was living in Stockholm, and as I struggled through the mystery, I came up with a new project idea: stories about North Americans falling in love with Swedish men! Should I abandon all the hard work I had done on the mystery for my shiny new idea, still untainted by frustrations? Yes! But I followed this shiny new project through to the end.
How did you fit your writing into the rest of your life?
I’m married with two elementary-age kids, and I work part-time as an freelance editor of academic books and articles… so I’m busy. But writing fiction is both hobby and work for me. The career side of it is certainly work—I’ve never set foot into the business world before this—and writing can be hard work as well. But writing is also my hobby in the sense that I use my spare time to read and write. I’m not crafty, I don’t follow the news or blogs too closely and I’m a mediocre cook at best. I only watch TV/movies as a way to spend time with my husband and kids. Instead of all these activities, I’d rather dedicate myself to the craft of writing.
Were you involved in a writer’s group?
Early in 2015, I became a member of the San Francisco chapter of Romance Writers of America, and I have learned so much from the members and the speakers. It’s a great community. For more specific help with my writing, I have a writing partner, K.D. Hazzard, who helps me with the developmental side of the story process, and I have a critique partner, Julia Victorine, as well as a bunch of other Beta readers who all give me lots of good feedback.
What would you change if you could?
It’s funny you ask this. From a marketing perspective, I should probably answer, “Nothing! The book is perfect the way it is!” But truthfully, as a writer, I learn from writing each story, and I try to take what I’ve learned and apply it to my next book.
Stockholm Diaries, Caroline is a mix of genres: New Adult romance, travel writing and some women’s lit aspects. Caroline’s own exploration of Stockholm and of her future path is just as much a part of the book as her budding romance with Niklas. The beginning of the book contains a lot about an outsider’s experience in Stockholm, which I find fun and intriguing. But the compromise in a wider focus is that the book ends early in Niklas and Caroline’s relationship. My solution? Give them a Book 2! That’s coming next February if all goes as planned.
In my new novel, Stockholm Diaries, Melanie, I tried to write more squarely in the contemporary romance genre, just to see what I could do with those parameters. It’s an island romance, and I came up with a plot that pushes the characters together in almost every scene of the book. This posed a plotting challenge, but ultimately, I think the tighter focus gave Melanie and Henrik’s romance more space to develop in depth and complexity.
Biographer Melanie has spent her life in the shadow of a single question: Why did her father abandon her? When he unexpectedly dies and leaves her his cabin in the Stockholm archipelago, Melanie heads straight for Sweden, looking for answers.
But island life isn’t what she expects, and neither is her new neighbor, Henrik. Together they try to piece together the story that both tangles their lives together and pulls them apart.
Rebecca is a writer, editor and translator who has always loved to read and travel. Though she has been involved in book projects for many years, she only recently branched out into writing her own fiction. Actually, writing her first novel was a birthday present to herself… her 29th birthday, in case you’re wondering, though possibly not her first 29th birthday.
This first novel dissolved into a complicated mess, but out of its ashes rose a new idea, an idea for an entire series, in fact: Stockholm Diaries. The stories are born from the author’s love of and longing for Stockholm as well as all the wonderful romance potential that the city holds for both visitors and long-time residents. And, as you may have guessed, it is also part of the setting for her own private Stockholm Diaries story.
Rebecca has, over the years, called many places home, including Michigan, where she grew up, New York City, San Francisco, and, of course, Stockholm, Sweden. After their most recent move from Sweden back to the San Francisco Bay Area, she and her husband assured each other they’ll never move again.
Well, probably not.
Visit Rebecca at rebeccahunterwriter.com!