Posts Tagged ‘Kristan Higgins’

Vivienne Lorret

Continuing our ongoing series featuring bestselling authors we chat with the dynamic and delightful USA Today bestselling author Vivienne Lorret. Vivienne writes delicious Regency romance for Avon Impulse Harper Collins. She is the author of two popular series called The Wallflower Wedding Series and the Rakes of Fallow Hall Series

What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?

VL: Winning Miss Wakefield (Wallflower Weddings, book 2) hit the USA TODAY Bestsellers List at #120. I was so surprised that I didn’t really believe my editor when she called. I started to hyperventilate and I think I might have asked her “Are you kidding me?” about three or four times. The great thing was, she wasn’t kidding. WMW stayed on the list for one glorious week of ear-to-ear grins and random squeals of delight. Then, poof it went away. Shortly thereafter, Finding Miss McFarland hit the list at the same number, for one week, and then poof. Coincidence or magic fairy dust?

When something awesome happens in your career do you celebrate with food, flowers, or fun? Details please. 

Happiness in a cup

VL: Life is short, so I celebrate as often as I can. When I begin a new book, I shop for office supplies—there’s just something about a new pack of Post-it’s, pens, and pencils that adds to the excitement. And since I’m out anyway, I might stop by Starbucks for a grande chai with whip.

When I finish a particularly tough chapter, or write a scene that makes me happy, I’ll do a little victory dance—though I try to steer clear of the windows so I don’t scare the neighbors. And since I’m already in motion, I might slip on my shoes, go for a drive, and grab a grande chai with whip.

When something BIG happens, like a book release or signing a contract for a new series, I usually buy myself flowers (roses or daisies), and maybe . . .  just maybe . . . stop by Starbucks.

What advice can you give authors who really want to hit a bestseller list but haven’t yet?

VL: I don’t think there’s a secret formula for hitting a bestseller list. If there were, I would have figured out how to stay on one, or how to hit the top 100. But I think having a support-team helps. I’ve been blessed with an incredibly supportive editor and publishing house, not to mention the amazing art department. In addition, it helps to write the book you want to read. After all, if you believe in your book, chances are that other people will too. From there, good things will happen. At the very least, you’ll be proud of the pages between the covers. That means a lot.

Promotion is an important part of every author’s work routine. Tell us one promotional approach that has worked well for you.

VL: Facebook is a wonderful way to keep in touch with your fan base—a quick note about the writing process, a picture of your latest hero or heroine, motivational phrases that inspire you, and random/whacky posts all work to make a personal connection to the people who support your career. Hosting rafflecopter contests on your page also helps. It’s important to give back and spread the love whenever possible.

What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?

VL: I love writing. The act of touching the keyboard and watching the pictures in my head transform into words is pretty cool. Of course, there are days when that doesn’t happen easily and/or the words don’t quite match the pictures in my head. But those are the days when it’s time to fill up the writer’s well, and usually that’s a fun process.

Interruptions drive me bonkers. When I’m writing a scene, and my mind is traveling back to the Regency period, it’s difficult to tune out the lawn mowers, barking dogs, and the daily screaming contests in the neighborhood. Over the years, I’ve used different methods, from wearing gun-range earmuffs to buying a noise-cancelling machine. Then, there are the interruptions that happen within the walls of my writing domain. It’s harder to ignore “I don’t mean to interrupt, but . . .” The questions could be anything from “Have you seen my glasses?” to “Can you do me a favor and . . .” For years, I would stop what I was doing, help find the glasses, fix dinner, or run errands for anyone who asked. But then, I learned to say no. Not just a hem hawing no, either. A definite I’m-working-and-my-time-is-valuable no. It’s liberating. I highly recommend it.

Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

VL: Kristan Higgins because her books make me laugh so hard that I cry. Lisa Kleypas because her books touch my soul. Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, and Candis Terry because their books are simply fabulous (and they are super nice women, too).

What is the coolest/nicest thing a fan/reader has done for you or said to you?

VL: I received a personal email from a reader one day. She’d written me after spending a night in the hospital with her child. And while reassuring me that her son was fine, she also took a moment out of her life to tell me that my book had helped her through the night. I cried instantly, amazed and awed by this woman. With everything going on in her life, she chose to reach out to me. And I’m thankful each and every day that, in some small way, my book provided the distraction she needed.

Tell us about your latest release and what do you have coming down the road?

VL: My latest release, The Maddening Lord Montwood, came out in paperback on August 18th. Yay! I’m so excited about this book! TMLM is the third and final book in The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series. In the beginning, Lucan Montwood pulled his friends into a high-stakes wager, each of them vowing to be the last bachelor standing. Then one after the other, they started to find love. To me, it seemed fitting that the charming, manipulative Lucan would ultimately fall for a strong-willed woman who could see through his tricks. I loved writing Lucan and Frances’ story.

Coming down the road… I recently finished writing a novella for Avon’s Christmas anthology, All I Want for Christmas is a Duke. The Regency anthology will be out this year on December 1st.

My novella takes place during a Christmas house party. To the Duke of Vale, science is everything. He has invited all the right people in order to reveal a formula designed to generate a suitable marriage partner without engaging in the messy procedure of courting . . . (think of it as a in the Regency era). North’s method is clean and flawless. That is, until the impulsive Ivy Sutherland crosses his path. She makes him question all of his data, forcing him to admit that he failed to catalog one vital element for a perfect match . . . love.

In your daily work routine what do you do first and why? A. write/plot/creative B. social media/promotion C. email/admin

VL: Most of the time, a. I like to start writing with a fresh brain. Umm . . . that sort of makes me sound like a zombie. Mmm . . . fresh brains! Then again, that’s usually how I feel until I’ve had my first cup of tea.

So this is where all the Post-its went.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

VL: A lot of Post-its, pens, and papers. I’m in new-series-mode right now, so it’s kind of a mess. I have family trees, character sketches, and a calendar that serves as a ticking clock for each deadline. Beside my desk hangs a huge whiteboard full of story notes. Above my desk, I also keep a slew of notes, reminding myself to focus and to write the book I want to read, among other things. My office can be described as organized chaos.

BONUS: Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .

VL: I’m a writer because that’s the line I stood in when they were handing out souls.

Thanks for having me here today! This was fun and I loved your questions!

USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Vivienne Lorret loves romance novels, her pink laptop, her husband, and her two sons (not necessarily in that order … but there are days). Transforming copious amounts of tea into words, she is proud to be an Avon Impulse author of works including: Tempting Mr. Weatherstone, The Wallflower Wedding Series, and The Rakes of Fallow Hall Series.

Connect with Vivienne Lorret on her website, on facebook, on twitter, and on pinterest. 

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Kristan Higgins

In today’s ongoing series of Q and As with bestselling authors  – we feature the delightful and talented Kristan Higgins (contemporary romance author and women’s fiction author).  Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than fifteen novels and a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages and received numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus and Romantic Times. She is a four-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for best work of fiction. You can connect with Kristan via her website and blog. On her facebook profile page. or her facebook author page, on twitter

What was your first book that hit a bestseller list? What was the list, where did the book rank when it first hit, and how high did your book get?

KH: ALL I EVER WANTED hit the USA TODAY list…I forget where, but let’s say it barely squeaked in there. It stayed on for two weeks, and I was utterly thrilled!

What were you doing when you found out you hit the bestseller list? And how did you celebrate or mark the occasion?

KH: I think I was sitting on this very porch, and my editor called me. I said, “Are you even kidding? Don’t joke about that stuff!” We were both so excited!

For that first time, my husband took me out to a fantastic restaurant, and told the maître d’ “My wife’s book just hit the USA TODAY list!” The restaurant people brought over champagne, and when dessert came, they wrote “Congratulations!” in icing. It was like a dream. Plus, I didn’t have to cook.

What does being a “successful author” mean to you?

Kristan Higgins at a book signing.

KH: I think success means knowing that my books have had an impact on readers. Books are meant to be read, after all; I’m not writing just for my own entertainment. But loving my work is a part of success, too, because if I hated writing and didn’t care about the end result, well, where’s the joy in that? And there’s a financial component in there, too, somewhere. My original goal was to earn enough so that I wouldn’t have to wait tables part-time. That goal has been surpassed. It’s nice to be paid for the work I do, but if I only made as much as a part-time waitress, I’d still be writing.

Some authors are great at it, while others can’t find the right formula, but in order to be a success in today’s market, you have to do promotion. So, what are the top three things that you do consistently when it comes to promotion?

KH: I write everything myself—I answer all my email, posts and messages, I write my own newsletters, every Tweet and Facebook post comes from me. I think that’s important, because it connects me with my readers, and that bond can’t be underestimated. I also think you can tell when you get a note from someone’s assistant, and that strikes me as ungrateful in a way . . . here the reader has told you how much she loved your book, and you don’t even read it? You don’t have five minutes to answer? I just couldn’t do that.

Kristan with her dear friend (the wonderful) Kim Castillo

I deliver a consistent product. When you go to my Facebook page, read my newsletter, follow me on Twitter, read my blogs, you’ll always know it’s me (see #1). All those posts contain the same tone as my books—they’re warm, approachable, often funny, heartfelt and talk about everyday life. I’m not whining about how mad I got in traffic or “vague-booking” about my problems, because that’s not what my readers want to hear about. They want the me of my books. My friends and family are there for the bad traffic days.

I write more books. It’s easy to believe that if you just promote enough, your book will get attention. I don’t think that’s true. Readers can’t be fooled or manipulated into loving an author. It’s always about the book. I know authors who are great on Facebook and write ragingly popular blogs about publishing, authors who have ten times the Twitter followers I have. But that’s not what I’m doing for a living. I don’t want to be a social media whiz; I want to write books. My readers want me to write books. You have to choose how you spend your time.

What is one thing you absolutely LOVE about being an author and one thing that makes you BONKERS?

Kristan is a dog lover and dog owner. She says most of her books have dogs in them because “life without a dog is pretty lonely to contemplate.”

KH: I love when I understand my book. It usually takes 265 pages, and then I smack my forehead and say, “So that’s what this book is about!” I would sincerely love it if this moment could take place on page 10 and have killed several roosters under the full moon to try to change this, but all for naught, I’m afraid. Page 265 seems to be a thing with me. (Author disclaimer: I really haven’t killed any roosters. But I’ve been tempted.)

The thing that makes me a little bonkers is the phrase “churning them out” in regard to writing two books a year. First of all, in the romance genre, that’s not terribly fast. Secondly, it implies that I’m just going through certain motions. I don’t. Every book is different. Every book is hard. Every book has a chunk of my heart in it. There’s no formula or button or crank. It’s my heart on the page, almost literally. I want to say to those people, “Churn? Churn them out? It’s more like I gave birth to an alien baby covered in spikes, okay?”

Who are some of your favourite authors and why?

KH: Mary Balogh for her beautiful prose and wonderful characters; Elinor Lipman for her wry, wise, joyful voice; Marian Keyes for her sense of humor; Robyn Carr for her moral compass; Stephen King for scaring the pants off me.

What are you currently working on?

KH: I’m working on a women’s fiction novel called ON SECOND THOUGHT. It’s about two women who find themselves abruptly single and end up living together while they try to come to terms with the reality (and end) of their relationships. And it’s about second chances, too.

In your daily work routine what do you do first and why? A. write/plot/creative B. social media/promotion C. email/admin

KH: C first because I always have to check and see if there’s something from my editor or publicist that needs taking care of quickly. Then B would come second, usually because there’s a note that says something like if you could have this by today, that would be so great! Then comes A, because I like to have uninterrupted time to work creatively, so I clear the runway, as it were.

What would I find on your desk at this very moment?

KH: I’m on my front porch!

Finish this sentence: I’m a writer because . . .

Kristan Higgins’s upcoming release IF YOU ONLY KNEW will be out on Aug. 25. Pre-order and you can win a $500 VISA gift card. Check her site for details.

KH: I think I’d go a little crazy if I couldn’t be. I don’t know what nonwriters do all day? Talk to real people? That seems so uninspired!

KH: Thank you so much for having me today! I loved your questions, and it’s a huge honor.

Kristan is running an awesome contest for her upcoming book. If you pre-order her upcoming release IF YOU ONLY KNEW, (before Aug. 25) you can enter a contest to win a $500 VISA gift card!

You can connect with Kristan via her website and blog. On her facebook profile page. or her facebook author page, on twitter. Kristan also writes for The Jaunty Quills blog. 

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