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Andrea Hurst and Associates
by:  Andrea Hurst, Andrea Hurst and Associates; Andrea Hurst Literary Management
The Literary Experts With over 25 years experience as a literary agent, professional editor, and bestselling author, Andrea offers a full suite of services to guide you to publishing success.
January 3, 2017

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with Therese Walsh

Editorial director Therese Walsh co-founded Writer Unboxed with Kathleen Bolton in 2006. Her latest novel, THE MOON SISTERS (Crown, Random House), earned starred reviews from both Booklist and Library Journal, and was named one of the BEST BOOKS OF 2014 by Library Journal. Her debut, THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY was named one of January Magazine’s Best Books of 2009, was nominated for a RITA award for Best First Book, and was a TARGET Breakout Book. She has a master’s degree in psychology.

Your site, Writer Unboxed, has been named by Writer’s Digest as one of the best websites for writers for almost ten years straight. What’s your secret?

Hmm, is there a secret? If there is, it’s this: Writer Unboxed provides a daily stream of essays written by art-of-fiction devotees from all walks, who push beyond obvious advice to access true wisdom.

What prompted you to create Writer Unboxed? The shift from physical to virtual reading and publishing has affected many writers and creative minds alike in these past couple of years. How have your main goals when starting Writer Unboxed changed in comparison to now?

Writer Unboxed was founded in January of 2006, before Facebook went public, to put it all into perspective. The shift to digital publishing wasn’t on our radar then. Kathleen Bolton and I set up the site simply to publish articles about the industry and story. We wanted a platform because we felt we had something to say. It grew in a grassroots way from there, as we conducted interviews, were introduced to more people, and realized the site would be best served with many voices present.

Keeping up with a site that has such a large following must come with ups and downs, whether it’s technical mishaps or man-made errors. What have you noticed is the most important aspect to prioritize? Content? SEO? Traffic? Readers?

I think there are three answers here, relating to foundational issues.

First, the site itself must be stable and able to sustain the spikes in traffic that come when a post goes viral. To that end, we now have our own server.

Second, the content itself has to provide value, so while each article isn’t vetted, the contributors (and our guests) are all on the same page re: the tone and goal of the site.

Third, we have a good system with our Twitter team and Facebook page in terms of getting the word out about each new essay.

When all of that is in place, our community shows up. These readers/writers return because they’ve learned that we will provide them with high-value content they can rely on to help them reach their writing goals.

Why is online writer support so important? What have you noticed works best for authors to gain online support, and what are a few things authors don’t spend enough time doing online?

Writers have found ways to ‘tribe up’ in the digital age, which feeds a social need, as we spend most of our time working in isolation. Now we can write for a while, take a coffee break, and connect with our writing group on Facebook or hop onto a site like Writer Unboxed to weigh in on that day’s essay.

It’s not just social, though. Because so many writers experience the same challenges, connecting can become an empowering experience by learning how others faced and coped with those same challenges.

In terms of what authors should do more of online, I’ll suggest something you may not expect: Utilize a social media blocking app (like ‘StayFocusd’ for Chrome), so you can attend to your daily writing goals without distraction. The ‘net, especially social media sites, can too easily become not only a crutch but an addiction, keeping writers from their work. Keep track of the amount of time you spend online vs. off, and take steps to control your ‘net habit if you consistently fail to reach your goals.

There is also a “secret” Writer Unboxed Facebook community. Can you tell us a little more about how this group works? How do you decide which members to include?

The WU Facebook group —over 5,000 members strong—is unusual in that it’s a moderated, promo-free space for writers focused on giving and receiving helpful, empowering information. Everyone is included who agrees to the terms, which are sent to all who inquire. Members aren’t allowed to post links l to their own sites, essays, interviews, books, etc… Because of that, the content that you do see, is distilled to the ‘best of the best.’

Many people struggle to maintain a website with fresh content to keep readers coming back for more. How do you keep coming up with new material for your site and keep readers coming back for more?

Having so many contributors (~50) and guests is key here. We each have a plethora of ideas, and so we never really run out of them. Knock on wood.

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November 15, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with bestselling author Simon Wood

Simon Wood is a California transplant from England. He's a former competitive racecar driver, a licensed pilot, an endurance cyclist, an animal rescuer and an occasional PI. He shares his world with his American wife, Julie. Their lives are dominated by a longhaired dachshund and four cats. He's the Anthony Award winning author of Working Stiffs, Accidents Waiting to Happen, Paying the Piper, Terminated, Asking For Trouble, We All Fall Down and the Aidy Westlake series. His thriller The One That Got Away has been optioned for a movie adaptation. His latest book is Deceptive Practices. He also writes horror under the pen name of Simon Janus. Curious people can learn more at

You’ve recently hit the mark for over one million books sold. Congratulations! How does it feel to know that you have reached that many readers? What advice do you have for up-and-coming authors trying to make in today’s publishing landscape?

It's a little scary and intimidating to have sold that many books. Rather than feeling relief from reaching this milestone, I actually feel quite a bit of pressure from achieving it. There are now a lot of people expecting my best and I have to ensure that I keep turning out good books that people keep coming back for time and time again. That's quite a responsibility. The advice I would give to any writer starting out is forget trying to sell 1 million books or trying to get on the New York Times bestseller list and focus on writing good books and building a connection with your readers. Success comes at selling one book at a time. If a writer can build a strong community around his or her work then the sales and accolades will follow. I think it's become very important in the publishing world where everything is on a virtual bookshelf that if a writer can build a 'clubhouse' mentality through social media, then half the battle is done. If there is a small army of followers who are willing to and wanting to shout from the rooftops about your books that's all it takes to hit the heights.

Your past is full of exciting pursuits, from racing single-seater cars to becoming a private investigator. How have your past experiences impacted your writing? Do you ever feel tempted to return to these professions?

I think my past has given me quite a lot of material that I can draw from directly and indirectly. Motor racing was a very character building experience as they say. The trials and tribulations of trying to keep a racecar team alive certainly made me a stronger person and I'm not sure I would've had the courage to pursue writing if I hadn't raced. Certainly my time in motor racing was very eye-opening. The off track dramas and intrigue will provide me with enough story ideas to last a decade. Similarly my experiences as a private investigator as well as an engineer in the oil industry conjured up more than a few potential storylines for books. Not only that but these jobs were very much always jobs under pressure because there were always outside influences creating a lot of stress and stress is something that characters in a thriller are always dealing with. Would I go back to any my professions? Yes, I would go back to racing at the drop of a long as someone is running the team and providing the car. I'm not sure I have the willpower or the money to be an owner/driver again. I would certainly go back to being a PI if I thought the assignment would lead to a new book. My annoying trait is that I am very curious about people and situations, so I am always more than happy to roll my sleeves up and get involved if it might lead to a new book idea. :-)

As a person with dyslexia, what are some of the challenges you face as an author, and what has helped you sort through those challenges?

When I started out writing, I essentially had to start from scratch. I really didn't understand how composition worked. I had my wife read books on writing to me. I had to develop my own methods when it came to writing fiction. I use voice recognition software and I have modified Microsoft Word to AutoCorrect my spelling and grammar. My wife is my eyes. She reads everything and in most cases aloud in order for me to edit my books. Like any impediment, you develop your workarounds.

You admitted to channeling your love of racing into the character of Aidy Westlake. What do you think readers find so appealing about this character? Who are some of your favorite characters that you have created?

I'm not sure what the reader will find appealing about Aidy. For me, I wanted people to experience a world and lifestyle they wouldn't see or understand. Also I wanted to highlight Aidy's young age. Drivers embark on a very adult career as teenagers. Aidy is making some very adult decisions before he's even 21 years old, so you have someone wise and immature at the same time, which makes for an interesting character at times. I think Aidy's grandfather and his relationship with Aidy is my favorite thing about the Westlake books. I wasn't quite sure who Steve Westlake was going to be to Aidy, but during revisions, his character really came out and that's something really endearing between the two people.

Your books have been translated into many different languages, including four in German. Do you notice a difference in your book’s reception in foreign markets?

Around the world, I think people are more alike than they are unalike. People tend to like the books for the same reasons as everybody else does. I think it's interesting when you see some national lines being drawn. I think one German trade review remarked that the storyline was something uniquely American and could only happen in America and never in Germany, which I found quite interesting. I do find that an American audience is quite moralistic in some ways and if character crosses a perceived boundary then it's a black mark against that character whereas I don't see that aspect remarked upon by a British audience per se. I do like to think I write stories with a universal theme which everyone can relate to in some way.

In addition to writing, you also lead various workshops around the country. Can you tell us a little more about what your workshops offer and who would benefit from taking them?

I've written quite a few pieces for Writers Digest over the years and that's led to me presenting seminars and workshops on a variety of topics. I tend to approach writing with an engineer's mind in that I have to understand it by disassembling and reassembling the component parts of what makes a story. This tends to make my advice quite practical. So I've developed a number of workshops on all manner of topics from plotting and outlining to the nuts and bolts of suspense writing. Also my writing career isn't like most other writers. I came up through the small presses then to mainstream publishing. I turned to self-publishing after my primary publisher went bust during the financial crisis. I had two options — find a new career or start over. I developed a marketing plan, invested in advertising, re-edited the books and built a social media presence. Within nine months, I'd sold nearly 250,000 e-books and my phone started ringing. Publishers were inquiring about available rights. From there I developed a hybrid approach working with publishers as well as self-publishing titles of my own. All this has made me a very rounded writer and hopefully a savvy one too. With all the sales success over the last five or six years, people became interested in how I went about it all so I developed a workshop called the 21st Century Author, which goes into all the aspects of being a modern day writer whether you are published by a major publisher or whether you're doing it all yourself. It looks at how to build an audience and keep them while keeping an eye on the ever-changing publishing landscape.

You also write horror under the name Simon Janus. How did this pen name emerge? Do you plan to write more under this name? Have you found having two writing identities beneficial?

A few years ago, I was at a crossroads. Though I'd started out writing horror fiction, my novels were mainstream thrillers. This led to a little bit of confusion as to what kind of writer I was. In horror circles, people saw me as that thriller writer, and in mystery circles, people saw me as that horror writer. The upshot was readers didn't know what to expect from me. That's never a good situation. Because I already had a couple of thriller novels out I thought it was better to develop a pen name for my horror work. It helps my readers determine what it is they're getting and avoid disappointment. I do plan to write more horror novels under my pen name but my thriller identity keeps getting in the way.

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October 13, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with bestselling author Dete Meserve

Dete Meserve is an award-winning, bestselling author who is searching for Good. Like Kate Bradley in the novels Good Sam and Perfectly Good Crime, Meserve searches for people who are doing extraordinary good for others. While most mysteries focus on finding the killer or kidnapper, Meserve's novels focus our attention on finding the helpers, the rescuers, and the people who bring light and hope into the world with their selfless acts of kindness. When she's not writing, she is a film and television producer in Los Angeles and partner of Wind Dancer Films. Meserve lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three children—and a very good cat that rules them all.

As an author, creator and producer of movies and television shows, you must be pretty busy! How do you prioritize your writing time? Do you have a set amount of words/pages per day that you try to achieve?

Producing television and film and running a company does keep me very busy. Add two kids at home to the mix, and there aren’t many hours in the day for writing! Sometimes people say to me, “I’d really like to write, if only I had time.” But I’m living proof that if you really want to write, you can and will find the time.

Most of my writing is done at night after my youngest has gone to bed or early in the morning before work, but sometimes other obligations—reading production scripts, for example—crowd out that time. I also aim to nab a few hours on weekends when my daughter is in ballet or gymnastics, but inevitably someone arrives at the door or a family member needs my attention. Lately, I’ve found I have to schedule/announce my writing time and work behind a closed door because interruptions—even small ones—are the killer of creativity and productivity.

I don’t set page goals for my writing sessions but instead approach each writing session with 2-3 things I want to accomplish. It might be polishing up dialogue or reworking the scene descriptions, which are sometimes even more important than page counts. Once I get started writing, I never want to stop!

What inspired you to write your first novel Good Sam? How did the theme emerge in your life and translate into the book?

For most mysteries, we have to get inside the head of the killer or kidnapper or some person doing bad things in order to solve the mystery. But as a reader and viewer, I was tired of having to “think like a killer” in order to enjoy the story—why do I want to waste time thinking about all the tragic ways people can plan out and destroy other people’s lives?

That’s what inspired me to write Good Sam, a mystery where we are searching for someone doing extraordinary good. I’d been giving a lot of thought to the idea that if our entertainment and news focused as much attention on people doing good as they do on those doing violent, hateful acts, we might inspire everyone to think differently about their world and their ability to have a hand in making it a better place.

Good Sam explores the idea of one individual making a positive difference. What do you hope your readers take away from this idea?

One of the main things I hope readers take away is a sense of hope, especially in these troubling times. Although the media rivets our attention on the latest disaster or violent acts, those stories don’t represent all or even most of what’s going on in the world. There are people doing extraordinary good for others every day, quietly and often anonymously, without expectation of reward or notoriety.

Good Sam is in development as a film that will premiere on the Hallmark channel in 2017. How has the process of turning book to film been for you? How much influence do you have over the production of the film?

I’m just reading the first draft of the screenplay this week and it’s exciting to see the story and characters live in another medium. Writer Teena Booth has a big job taking a story written with the “unlimited budget of the imagination” into an 88 minute screenplay which can be produced for a reasonable budget. As a producer, I am intimately involved in the production and I’m really enjoying the experience of translating this story to screen.

You recently released your second book, Perfectly Good Crime this summer, another mystery about the search for good in the world. What has been the response to this novel? Do you plan future novels with this theme?

Because the news media and entertainment are obsessed with telling crime stories—both real and fictional—I asked myself: what if someone used a crime of major proportions to bring attention to the plight of the poor, the disabled, and the needy? That’s the underlying question in Perfectly Good Crime, the follow up to Good Sam.

When the estates of the 100 wealthiest Americans are targeted in a series of sophisticated, high tech heists, Los Angeles TV news reporter Kate Bradley must venture inside the world of the super rich to investigate the biggest story of the year.

As the heists escalate, Kate’s search is thwarted when the Los Angeles police detective she’s been working with mysteriously disappears, her senator father demands that she stop reporting on the heists, and the billionaire victims refuse to talk to the media. Kate uncovers clues that those behind the robberies have shocking, yet uplifting, motives–it just may be a perfectly good crime that brings about powerful change.

The response to the novel has really surprised me. Parade, Sunset Magazine, Buzzfeed, USA Today and others featured it and it got strong reviews from top reviewers. And what surprised me is that people love it even though it’s a mystery without a single dead body, killer, or a kidnapper. These are the mainstays of mystery fiction yet readers write to say that they were turning pages to find out the identity of the “Robin Hood” behind the heists and why he/she was doing it. And they really enjoy how this perfectly good crime inspires others to help those who need it most.

As a follow-up, I’m working with award-winning journalist Rachel Greco on a non-fiction book featuring the stories of 25 ordinary people who are doing extraordinary good in the world. Some stories are poignant, others are heartwarming, and others are lighthearted and fun. We think this will be an uplifting, inspiring book which readers will want to gift to others, that book clubs and church/synagogue groups will want to discuss, and that even kids and schools can use as powerful real-life examples of compassion and making a difference in the lives of others.

I’m also working on a follow-up to Good Sam and Perfectly Good Crime, following Kate Bradley and Eric Hayes as they both take a new and important step in their lives and another twist on the search for Good.

How did you make your choice for the publication of your book? Do you work with a staff for editorial and marketing for you books?

For Good Sam, I submitted the manuscript to a few agents and a few small publishers. The agents passed but two publishers made proposals. When I looked at the proposals and researched what traditional publishers might offer, it just didn’t make any business sense to go the traditional route. Why would I give up the lion’s share of the royalties and the creative and business control of the property in exchange for a relatively small sum from the publisher and no guarantee of a specific marketing or promotional spend? And would their editing and book design process really be better than what I could hire on my own? For me, the answer is no. I began choosing my own editors and book designers—all of whom had extensive experience working for traditional publishers and highly regarded authors—and working directly with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes, etc. to release the ebook, paperback, and audiobook. That means I control how the book is positioned, how it’s marketed, what it looks like, how it’s priced—and I don’t have to seek permission or cajole a publisher to tweak or change any of those elements. That freedom is priceless and it’s paid off. I’m close to selling 90,000 copies of Good Sam and 2 ½ years after its publication, the response to the novel is greater than ever.

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September 2, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with bestselling author Bette Lee Crosby

Bette Lee Crosby’s work was first recognized in 2006 when she received an NLAPW Award for an unpublished manuscript. Since that time, she has gone on to win numerous other awards, including six Royal Palm Literary Awards, five FPA President’s Book Award Medals, three Reviewer’s Choice Awards and two Indie Discovery Finalist Awards. Spare Change, Book One in the Wyattsville Series has been featured on the USA Today Bestseller List three times, is a Barnes & Noble #1 Bestseller, and an Amazon #1 Bestselling Historical Mystery. Baby Girl the fourth novel in her Memory House Series became a bestseller before it was actually released.

As a USA Today bestselling author, what is your number one tip to staying motivated as an author?

Write what you truly love to write; you will enjoy working on it and your love of the work will shine through to your readers. This can be a fickle business with one theme or sub-genre suddenly popular and then just as suddenly not. Authors can easily fall into the trap of pursuing the newest, latest, greatest trend; but the thing is trends come and go. Well-written fiction that carries a piece of your heart will outlast the trends plus both you and your followers will love what you’ve written.

You have published eleven books since 2011. Are there any tricks to being so efficient with your writing?

No easy tricks, I wish there were. I write almost every day but I don’t go by word count. Some days I can write three or four thousand words, other days I am lucky to do 500. I try to measure each day’s work by the quality of the words rather than the quantity. On days when the magic isn’t happening, I rewrite and rewrite until I get the particular scene or passage so smooth I can read it aloud and have it roll right off of my tongue.

Did you have any favorite books or authors in the past that inspired you to write your own books?

As a kid I loved Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I started out as an artist and wrote for business marketing throughout the earlier years of my career. I can’t say it was one specific author who inspired me to turn to fiction; it was more an issue of simply doing what I loved. I am a very avid reader and believe I learn something from every book I read.

You mention that your mother was a wonderful storyteller, and that you use her voice in much of your writing. Would you say that she has impacted your writing more than anyone?

Yes, definitely. My mom grew up in a coal-mining town in the hills of West Virginia and did not have the advantage of a higher education, yet she was one of the wisest and most resourceful people I have ever known. She never wrote stories, she told them—but she told them in a way that made each one seem magical. In a whispery voice, she could make you believe anything was not only possible, but also about to happen. That to me is storytelling.

Can you tell us a bit about your writing process? What environment do you find most comfortable to write in?

First the writing process—Each evening when I stop writing, I start thinking of what I will write the next day. Not the words, just the feelings and thoughts of the characters. In the morning I walk about five miles and the whole while I am imagining the scenes as they will be written. Once I am back home, I shower, have breakfast and go to work. I go into my office and by then I am ready to write.

My office is where I do almost all of my writing. This is my space. I am surrounded by lots of lovely little treasures—books, teddy bears, souvenirs, pictures, plushy throw pillows and the like, so this is where I am happiest. My computer is a MacBook Air, so on occasion I will unplug it and move to the lanai for a few hours.

Is there a certain type of scene for you that is more difficult to write than others? Do you have any favorites?

Yes, for me intimate romance scenes are the most difficult. In most of my books such scenes require a true outpouring of emotion and it is very easy to step over the line and let your characters say things that sound trite in such a situation.

Oddly enough, it is easier to write scenes of anger than those of love. In love scenes every single word should be sincere and meaningful, whereas when a person is angry they can explode into all kinds of sputtering and stammering hammered-together phrases.

Do you read your own reviews, the good and the bad? Do you have any advice for other writers on how to deal with the bad?

Yes, I always read reviews. While I have been fortunate in getting more than my share of glowing reviews, there are also a few bad ones that pop up now and then. Some I recognize as meaningless—for example, I have a new book coming out September 14, titled Silver Threads. It is book 5 in the Memory House Series so in mid-July we put the book up for pre-order with just the cover and a book description. A week later I handed the manuscript off to my editor. Before I got the manuscript back, before the earliest beta readers even saw it, when there was no way possible an outsider could have seen it, a one-star review popped up on Goodreads. Reviews like this you just have to accept that they are bogus and move past them.

However, there are other times when I have learned from reviews that are less than favorable. For example—On Memory House, the story ended with a budding romance. The book averaged a 4.5 rating and most of the reviews were excellent, but there were some—not a lot, but enough to make me take notice—who said the ending was too abrupt. I thought about this for a while and in the long run decided to go back in and expand on what happened to those budding young lovers. That’s a case of learning from your reviewers.

What is the best writing advice you can give to someone just starting out?

Create characters that you feel for, characters people will actually care about. They don’t have to be perfect people, a few flaws make them more human. But make sure that you know each and every character, both the good and the bad. Knowing your character doesn’t mean just the color of their hair and eyes, it means knowing what is inside their heart and why they feel as they do. You don’t have to explain all of that to your reader, but if you honestly know your characters then when you write a scene that is out of character for that person, you’ll know it and your story will have believability.

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August 10, 2016

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with author Ashley Farley

Ashley Farley writes books about women for women. Her characters are mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives facing real-life issues. Her goal is to keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning. If her story stays with you long after you've read the last word, then she's done her job. After her brother died in 1999 of an accidental overdose, she turned to writing as a way of releasing her pent-up emotions. She wrote SAVING BEN in honor of Neal, the boy she worshipped, the man she could not save. Ashley is a wife and mother of two college-aged children. She grew up in the salty marshes of South Carolina, but now lives in Richmond, Virginia, a city she loves for its history and traditions. Ashley loves to hear from her readers.
Feel free to visit her on Facebook at or
Amazon author page
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As a bestselling author, how do you keep your readers “turning pages until the wee hours of the morning”? What are some of your strategies for maintaining suspense in your books?

I learned this lesson a long time ago. If I’m bored writing a scene or chapter, my readers will be bored reading it. When I start surfing the Internet for a new pair of shoes, it’s time to either throw out the chapter or mix things up a bit. Writing from multiple characters’ viewpoints creates opportunity for more plot points. Cliffhangers at the end of a chapter are a great way to keep a reader engaged. If the reader starts a new chapter, chances are she will finish it.

What is your writing process? Do you write every day?

When I am in first draft mode, my goal is to write a chapter every day. For subsequent drafts, I set goals that enable me to meet my publishing deadlines. So yes, I write every day.

When you write, are you more of a pre-planner or do you just let yourself write and mold the story as you go along?

A little of both. I swim laps every morning. During that time, I plan scenes, paragraphs, and sentences. When I sit down at my computer later, the words flow much easier. When I start a project, I usually have a general plot in mind. But I count on my characters to show me the way.

What keeps you motivated?

My readers! I love hearing from them. Knowing I have touched their lives motivates me to give them more.

Your latest novel, Lowcounty Stranger, was just released this month. What inspired you to write this continuation of the Sweeney sisters’ story?

I took a break from the Sweeney sisters to write Merry Mary and Breaking the Story. I felt a connection with Scottie Darden and her brother, Will, but it was more from the parent/child perspective. I relate to the Sweeney sisters more because they are the same age as me, and each exhibits a different facet of my personality.

Do you think you’ll write more featuring the Sweeney sisters? How did your writing experience alter in comparison to your first novel about them?

Yes! Boots and Bedlam, a Sweeney Sisters holiday novella, is scheduled for release on October 18. And I’m deep in the first draft of the untitled fourth sequel. Writing about the sisters was much easier the second time because I already knew the characters so well. I understood their likes and dislikes. Their talents and their flaws. But I struggled with the backstory. There’s a fine line between bringing the reader to speed and giving away too much. You want to present a stand-alone book for new readers, but you don’t want to spoil it if they decide to go back and read the first novel.

You introduce new character, Annie Dawn, in Lowcounty Stranger. What inspired you to incorporate her into the Sweeney sisters’ world?

I had unfinished business with all three sisters that I wanted to address. Hence the need for a sequel. Annie Dawn’s plot line tied everything together. I really Annie’s character. She’s resourceful and street smart, yet naïve in certain ways. She’s kind and considerate and touches all their lives. Yes, you will see much more of Annie Dawn in the books ahead.

You’ve mentioned that your brother’s death led you to use your writing talents to reach others, and your novel Saving Ben is a direct result of that. What do you hope readers will take away from this novel in particular?

I want others to know they’re not alone in struggling with addiction, mental illness, bullying, and eating disorders. Okay, so maybe there are a lot of themes for one novel. But hey, it will hold your attention until the dramatic conclusion. An interesting note on the ending, by the way. I hadn’t planned the startling conclusion. When I arrived at the scene, I let my characters show me the way. I love it when they take control.

Have you been able to find some peace through your endeavors? How can others make a difference like you?

Very much so. Writing Saving Ben was therapy for coping with my grief over my brother’s death. My writing career in general is about me having a life outside of my family. I’m devoted to my children and husband, but having something that belongs only to me makes me feel complete. People make differences in many ways. After my brother died, I envisioned myself speaking to groups of young people on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. I quickly learned that I’m not a public speaker. Words come much easier for me when I’m putting them on paper. I encourage readers to identify their passion. Whatever it is that drives your emotions, find a way to express it to others. No one’s effort is insignificant.

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A R C H I V E / H I G H L I G H T S

AUTHORNOMICS Interview with award-winning author Rachel Aaron
originally posted: July 18, 2016

Rachel Aaron is the author of 10 novels, including the Fantasy fan favorites The Legend of Eli Monpress and Nice Dragons Finish Last. She also writes romantic Science Fiction under the name Rachel Bach, starting with Fortune's Pawn, a high octane romantic adventure about a powered armor mercenary who gets in way over her head, published by Orbit Books.

In addition to her fiction, Rachel is also known for her bestselling writing efficiency book 2K TO 10K: WRITING BETTER, WRITING FASTER, AND WRITING MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE. To learn more about Rachel and all her titles, visit!

How did you know when it was the right time for you to make the transition to “writing full time, all the time”?

Ha, well, for me it was simple. I started in traditional publishing, and it just so worked out that I got pregnant and got a book deal for my first novel at the same time. I was working a low paying job at the time, and my husband had insurance, so I just kind of threw caution to the wind and quit shortly after I got the phone call. Lucky for me, it worked out, and I haven’t had to get a “real job” ever since.

On a side note, this is one of those situations where traditional publishing shines. Getting my advance up front let me quit my job and go full time right away, a lot sooner than self-publishing would have let me. This was also back in 2008, before the self pub boom really got going, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Authors today have a lot more options on the table. That said, I wouldn’t change a thing about my career. Starting out in traditional was a huge advantage for me. Working with a career editor you can’t say no to is a priceless experience for an author, and while selling my books to NY definitely hurt my earnings in the long run, for where I was at the time, it was a very good thing for me and I don’t regret it a bit.

What does your writing process look like today, between juggling a family, an informative blog, and putting out great books?

I’m very lucky to have a husband who not only supports my writing, but actively helps out in the “family business.” My husband Travis is my manager in so many ways. He takes care of business stuff, helps on the blog, does most of the housework and cooking. You name it, Trav does it, and all so I can get more writing time! Thanks to him, I’m routinely able to hit 8-11k words a day on my novels, which is huge progress. He really is priceless, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all the work he puts into my great dream.

But not everyone has a Travis. Before my writing was making enough to let him quit his job as well, I was the housewife and writer all in one, and it was NOT easy! I had to set aside my writing time and jealously guard it if I wanted any hope of meeting my deadlines. This was the situation that inspired the 2k-10k jump, actually. I couldn’t get more time to write—I’d already come close to killing for the time I’d carved out—so I had to get more efficient with the hours I did have.

You call your first novel, The Legend of Eli Monpress, “the book that started it all.” What sticks out in your mind when you look back on writing that particular novel? Is there anything you would change about it if you could go back in time?

The Eli books were an odd bird for me. I’d written a very serious Epic Fantasy as my first novel and saw myself as a Serious Fantasy Author. Trouble was, the serious Fantasies weren’t catching agent attention. Also, I was getting kind of tired of being so serious all the time. Then, one day, I had this idea about a wizard thief who wanted a one million gold bounty on his head.

I tried to push it away because it frankly felt too silly, but the characters just kept nagging at me until I finally just sat down and wrote the first scene, which is almost word for word what is now the opening of The Spirit Thief. The moment I finished, I knew this was it. This was the book that was going to take me to New York! And it did.

Honestly, I don’t think I’d change a single thing about my career so far. Everything I’ve done, including the mistakes, has made me the writer I am today, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world!

Your Paradox Series is published by Orbit books, under the name Rachel Bach. This makes you a hybrid author both traditionally and self-published. What do you see as the benefits and downsides to both methods? Why did you choose to use a pen name for this series?

The pen name was my publisher’s idea. When I pitched the Paradox books, my Eli series was not selling well (it went on to sell much better after the publisher gave it a new cover later that year). My Paradox books were also very different in tone from my other stuff, not to mention being Science Fiction. Because of all this, Orbit decided to rebrand me, and since I wanted to publish with them, I went with it.

Hindsight being 20/20, it was a good decision. As Trav and I have talked about on the blog, author brand need to be specific. Our names as writers are our logos, and you want your reader to know what they’re getting when they see “Rachel Aaron” on a cover. This kind of brand management was what Orbit was after, and despite the INCREDIBLE ANNOYANCE of having two names, I think it was a smart move over all.

I still hate having my readers split, though.

To answer your question about being a hybrid author…I didn’t actually set out to be one. Like I mentioned earlier, when I got into the book business, self publishing was still seen as the last resort of the desperate. Every author blog and writing advice column was constantly screaming at us not to even think about self publishing, so…I didn’t.

But when the sea change of the early 2010s hit, I started singing a different tune. All of a sudden, self publishing wasn’t so fringe anymore. I was meeting lots of self published authors at conventions who not only were making good money, but they had good books, and they were making their own business decisions!

That was really what decided it for me. I’m a giant control freak, and I love running a business. As much as I like Orbit, giving up control of my books to a publisher was a source of constant stress to me. So, after a brief and highly successful self publishing experience with my writing non-fic, 2k to 10k, I decided to go it solo with my next Rachel Aaron series. That first book was Nice Dragons Finish Last, and let’s just say it’s performed better than my wildest hopes. I was making more money than ever, and I had total control. It was kind of a dream come true. After that, I was hooked.

I still do projects for New York because sometimes a project comes in that you just couldn’t land on your own, (like writing a novel for a major IP like Star Wars, which I’m not doing, but just as an example). I’d also go back to NY if I wrote a YA novel since YA still does very well in print. Over all, though, I’ve gotten way too spoiled by the self pub freedom and money to ever go back to NY for good. But that’s what being hybrid is all about: getting to choose yourself whom you write for. Trust me, as an author who started out in the time of no choice, that is a HUGE breakthrough.

Your award-winning book 2,000 to 10,000 (2k to 10K) is all about increasing the quantity and the quality of an author’s daily word count. As a novelist, what inspired you to write this book?

The baby situation I mentioned above! It really came down to three factors: the book was late, I needed more time to get it done, and I didn’t have that time. I had a new baby, a hard deadline, and 12 hours a week of paid baby sitter time to write. There was no getting around it: I had to get faster, or I was going to crash and burn. So I got scientific, through out my old assumptions, and actually analyzed what I was doing with my writing.

As you can tell from the title of the book, the results were amazing. I went from writing 2,000 in six hours to writing 10,000 in the same time, without sacrificing quality. And before you say that’s crazy, my original 2k to 10k blog post is still up and free. I explain my whole system there, so go read what I did for yourself and see if it’s crazy. I can’t say it will work for you quite as well as it did for me—every writer is different—but I know for sure that it’s helped thousands of writers double their daily word counts. That’s gotta count for something!

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AUTHORNOMICS Interview with best-selling author Patricia Sands
originally posted: June 6, 2016

A confessed travel fanatic, best-selling author Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada, when she isn’t somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. I Promise You This, Book 3 in her award-winning Love in Provence trilogy, was published May 17, 2016.

Find out more at Patricia’s Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author Page or her website. There are links to her books, social media, and a monthly newsletter that has special giveaways and sneak peeks at her next book.

What inspired you to choose being an author as a career choice and write women’s fiction?

My story is probably different from most others that you hear. I began writing my first novel, The Bridge Club, shortly after I turned sixty. (Yikes, I always have a little nervous twitch when I say that age out loud!) I began writing it for my real-life Bridge Club, a group of ten women with whom I’ve been friends since we were all turning twenty. One thing led to another as people read excerpts of my manuscript and I was encouraged to fictionalize and publish it as a novel. Thanks to the response, and the fact that I realized I loved writing fiction, my new career began. I like writing to my demographic and telling women’s stories. A recurring theme is that it is never too late to begin something new in life. I’m proof!

Do you write every day? What is your process like? Do you have particular ways you stay motivated?

I do write every day. I wake up early and can’t wait to get to the keyboard. I usually dive right into my current manuscript and later I take some time to check emails and social media. Of course, the latter is an enormous time suck and it takes discipline to turn it off and get back to writing. I’ve been a photographer all my life and use my photos a lot on my blog, on Facebook and in my monthly newsletter. My new addiction is Instagram (@patricialsands) and I usually spend an hour on that at night (in bed, on my phone … if the truth be known). I’m a nighthawk so it’s a great way to end the day.

I love writing and everything that goes with it, so I honestly have no trouble staying motivated. Having said that, I also play tennis a couple of times a week and spend time with our large blended family (7 grown children plus partners, 6 grandchildren … so far). Fortunately, they all all live quite close by. Friendships are very important to me and there’s always time to go to lunch or golf with girlfriends. It may sound weird, but everything I do inspires me to keep writing.

You call yourself a travel fanatic, and visit the south of France quite regularly and incorporate this setting into your Love in Provence Series. What is it about this location that drew you to set your books there?

Now that’s a dangerous question! You don’t really want to get me started on the south of France! I’ll attempt to be brief. I first fell in love with that part of the world when I backpacked with friends after university in 1967. I’ve been fortunate to return often and for the past twenty years, my husband and I spend extended time there in spring, summer or fall … it varies from year to year. The beauty, history, culture, cuisine (and a long list of other things) make me want to share my love of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur with readers.

In 2015 you went from being exclusively an indie author, to signing with Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing imprint. How has this affected your writing career? Do you find being a hybrid author beneficial?

I was surprised and delighted when Lake Union invited me to sign with them. I had been a very happy indie author and will probably still self-publish from time to time. However, the editorial support and guidance Lake Union offers is excellent and the team they assigned to assist with the publication of my books is amazing … professional, collaborative and knowledgeable. I feel very fortunate to be working with them.

Your latest book, I Promise You This speaks to allowing your heart to lead the way. You can talk more about the theme and your connection to it?

I Promise You This is Book 3 in the Love in Provence series. The general theme that runs through the series concerns making changes in mid-life: listen to your heart and don’t be afraid to follow it. That is something in which I am a big believer. I often speak about this to women’s groups and I know it will always be something I write about.

Can you tell us a little about the book trailer for your Love in Provence series? What advice do you have for authors thinking about making their own book trailers?

That trailer began as the one for The Promise of Provence. When I wrote that book I didn’t realize it would become a series, but the reader response was enormous and everyone wanted to know more about the characters. It was a pleasure to continue the story and we realized the trailer really applied to the whole series so we only had to make a few changes. The photography is all mine with some video clips added by the company that produced the trailer. They were great to work with and it was a very personal experience. We worked closely together to get exactly the feel I wanted. I think making trailers is a great idea, but I do recommend working with people who can add their technical expertise. I’m happy to share the name of the company I used if anyone wants to email me about it.

How important do you feel social media is for marketing your books? Have book giveaways been an effective marketing tool for you?

Before I signed with Lake Union, all of my marketing began with social media. Whenever I was using a promotion site, those links would be shared on all my social media platforms. I think one of the most important things is to connect with lots of writers and readers. It was a wonderful surprise for me to learn how connected and supportive writers and readers are and how we all help each other.

Book giveaways are fun to do, but the most effective marketing tool is to keep writing good books. Encouraging readers to share their thoughts in reviews is also extremely beneficial.

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A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

ANDREA HURST, President of Andrea Hurst & Associates
Andrea works with both bestselling and emerging new authors to help polish their work, obtain publication, increase sales, and build their author brand.
She brings over 25 years experience. She is a developmental editor for publishers and authors, a bestselling Amazon author, an instructor for the MFA creative writing program at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers’ Digest. As a literary agent, she selectively represents high profile adult nonfiction and well-crafted fiction. Her clients and their books have appeared on the Oprah Show, Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Morning America, National Geographic network, and in the NY Times.

For serious writers and professionals in need of assistance polishing, developing, and evaluating their book for public