1) Why Romance? Did you choose this genre or were you ‘chosen’ by it?
A little of both. I was an avid reader as a child and wanted to write my own books, but didn’t think real people grew up to be writers. So I earned a teaching degree. While teaching kindergarten. I did a lot of storytelling for children, so I first started writing children’s stories. Eventually I wrote nine books for Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley Kids series.
Meanwhile I met a writer who told me about the Romance Writers of America. It turned out the local chapter, GRW, met five minutes from my house. At the time, I hadn’t read a lot of romance although I was a mystery buff and loved Mary Higgins Clark and Sandra Brown. The group was so friendly that I picked up some romance books and fell in love with them. When I discovered Harlequin Intrigue, a line that combines both romance and suspense, I was totally hooked
and knew that was what I wanted to write.
A year later, I sold them my first book and have written about sixty books for them to date along with other single titles for various publishers.
2) Is there a romance author, living or dead, who inspires you particularly?
Tami Hoag’s book Cry Wolf – I was mesmerized by the story, the atmosphere and her writing and wanted to write like her. I’ve discovered a lot of other great writers along the way but still love her books.
And I can’t forget my critique partner – we started critiquing together before either one of us was published and that was nearly 17 years ago. She’s read my work, been a champion of mine and taught me a lot about the business side.
3) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future
My latest and current release is a romantic suspense thriller DYING TO TELL, (a Slaughter Creek novel) from Amazon Montlake. This story is dear to my heart because it percolated in my head for a long time, so I was thrilled when an editor bought it!
It’s set around a small southern town and a mysterious mental hospital and is chocked full of small town secrets, murder, mystery and two lovers who were torn apart years ago.
My sister works in a psychiatric hospital and her stories of patients inspired me – I was always fascinated with multiple personality (dissociative identity disorder) and wanted to incorporate it into a book. In DYING TO TELL, the heroine’s sister Amelia suffers from this disorder. She was a fun character to write!
Future projects: I just turned in the manuscript for the sequel to DYING TO TELL – HER DYING BREATH, another Slaughter Creek novel – which will be published June 2013. I’m excited about this book as it continues a mystery thread that wasn’t tied up in book one, but also focuses on its own self contained romance and mystery. The hero of book one, Sheriff Jake Blackwood, has a brother who works with the FBI. HER DYING BREATH is his story.
Special Agent Nick Blackwood comes to Slaughter Creek to catch a serial killer who is murdering men via autoerotic asphyxiation. Oddly, the killer keeps contacting Brenda Banks, a local reporter about her kills, drawing Brenda into the investigation. Nick had a crush on Brenda years ago, and even though he’s forced to work with her, and protect her when she becomes a target, he can’t lose his heart to her…
From Harlequin Intrigue, you’ll find the last three books in my Bucking Bronc Lodge series– Cowboy Cop; December ’12, Native Cowboy; January ’13, and Ultimate Cowboy; February ’13. March brings an anthology from Intrigue with Joanna Wayne and Mallory Kane!
Currently, I’m working on the idea for book three in the Slaughter Creek series as well as the first book in a new Intrigue series tentatively titled COLD CASE AT CAMDEN CROSSING.
4) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get
As I said before, I started writing for the children’s market. I did find that a tough market to break into. The publishers buy only a few books each year, making it extremely competitive whereas publishers print numerous romance books a year.
When I switched to romance, I really tackled it as a project – I was determined to sell. So I bought hundreds of books and read and studied them, then found the line I liked (Harlequin Intrigue) and targeted that line. I had a couple of projects rejected before they bought me, but each time the editors wrote nice rejection letters with feedback that steered me in the right direction. I met my agent at a local conference, and although I had been turned down by another agent who said I did terrible things to my characters, this agent loved my work!
Perseverance, studying the craft and networking all played a part in finally making that first sale. My advice to writers – never give up.
5) What’s your opinion about this Ebook revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
I have mixed feelings about it. At one time, traditional publishing was the way to go and self-publishing was frowned upon, as if only those who couldn’t sell self published. Because of the evolution of publishing, the fact that publishers are making more money off of eBooks than print books but not sharing the profits as in higher royalties for the authors, and the fact that most traditional publishers do very little marketing for certain titles and expect the author to promote herself, authors have been driven to self publishing.
The eBook revolution is a great opportunity and an option for writers who are prolific, who’re willing to pay for editing and who may want to write something that a traditional publisher isn’t buying. Other advantages include the fact that indie writers earn a higher percentage of their sales, can get books out more quickly than the long lead-in for print books, and can control their titles, covers and pub dates.
Also, authors can make use of their backlists (which is what I’ve done) and introduce those titles to a new audience. Even though publishers may reprint authors’ backlist in eBooks, they rarely allow the author to update the book (as I’ve done in my backlist), and the publishers are doing nothing to promote the books so they sell very few copies.
As a matter of fact, I sold DYING TO TELL to Amazon Montlake, which offers both print and eBook versions, because at this point in time, the NY publishers weren’t buying romantic suspense. But I loved the story and genre and wanted this story to be told. If the market doesn’t hold up, I’d definitely consider going the indie route for other romantic suspense titles.
I have already worked in the indie market — my backlist consisted of my older romantic comedies so I updated and self published those in eBook and have written three new projects so far to add to those.
That said, I do worry about the fact that anyone can publish a book now, that some self-published books are lower quality because writers may not take the time to have them edited well.
Of course, hopefully the samples offered on eBook will help readers sort out the professional from the others.
6) Nowadays many publishers expect their authors to use Social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer to write only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are
I’m afraid I fall into that latter category! I really just want to sit back and write! However, the traditional publishers do expect an author to self promote and work the social media platforms (another reason writers are driven to the indie route. If the author writes the book and has to self promote, what are the publishers doing for the writers?)
For me social media is time consuming and takes away time from writing, but I’m trying!
Info about the author:
Award-winning author Rita Herron fell in love with books at the ripe age of eight when she read her first Trixie Belden mystery. Although she wanted to be a writer then and actually scrawled her first novel at age twelve, she didn’t think real people grew up to be writers, so she became a kindergarten teacher instead. Ten years ago, she traded her classroom storytelling and puppets for a computer and now writes so she doesn’t have to get a real job.
Having sold over fifty books to date, she enjoys spinning spine-tingling romantic suspense tales filled with murder, mayhem, and spicy romance as well as sexy romantic comedies. Rita Herron currently writes romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue and she’s writing dark, gritty romantic suspense thrillers for Amazon Montlake.
To know more, please visit her website: www.ritaherron.com/
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: