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Advice to Myself as a Newbie Author

May 22, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as , , , ,

by Shauna Roberts

Today’s Guest: Maureen Child

Maureen Child is the author of more than ninety romance novels and novellas and has been nominated for a Rita five times, including in 2008 for Christmas Cravings (Silhouette Nocturne). More Than Fiends (NAL) is a Bookseller’s Best Finalist and a National Reader’s Choice Award finalist.

Silhouette Desire recently released three books in Maureen’s “Kings of California” series about millionaire brothers: Falling for King’s Fortune (May), Marrying for King’s Millions (April), and Bargaining for King’s Baby (March).

Maureen, if you could travel back in time to before you were first published, what advice would you give yourself?

When I was a newbie, I was ready, willing, and eager to hear advice. All advice. Not to say I always took that advice, but I did listen.

I remember watching the published members of OCC heading off to their PAW meeting every month and wanting to be a part of that crowd so badly I could taste it. I thought if I could just be published, everything would fall into place. Then one of our members, Rita Rainville, gave me some advice. She said, “Being published doesn’t mean your problems go away—it just means you have different problems.”

True, but even back then, I remember thinking—I’d rather have those problems, thanks!

So, if I could reach back in time to my newbie self, I’d tell me to listen up and make notes!

1. Ask questions. Don’t pretend you already know all the answers. Don’t make decisions when you don’t have all the information. Don’t assume your agent is going to make the right choice for you. Ask.

2. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Yes, you have to write to the market if you want to be published, but just because you’ve written ten Westerns doesn’t mean you can’t try a Regency or a contemporary. If your current house isn’t interested, look around. Try another publishing house. No one says you can only write for one house.

3. Know when to pack up and move on. This goes for agents as well as publishing houses. Fear is a big factor in the writing world. And we all get comfortable and sometimes stay too long at the party because the unknown is just terrifying. We’re sure that the agent or editor is going to come through for us if we just wait long enough. Sometimes they do. But sometimes, it won’t get better until you find the courage to step out of the comfort zone.

4. Be dependable. If an editor knows she can count on you to come through for her, she’s going to be more willing to work with you. Trust me on this. Editors have to deal with hundreds of people. If she’s got the choice between working with a flake who consistently lets her down while playing the diva or working with a professional writer who always makes her deadline . . . well, whom would you rather work with?

5. Find friends you can count on. When the writing world gets ugly—and believe me, it does, regularly—you’re going to need a few close friends to pull you through. Be loyal. Don’t tell tales. Celebrate their successes and let them celebrate yours. Sometimes the only thing that holds you together is the voice on the other end of the phone. Treasure your friends. You’re going to need them. Life’s too short for competition. The only writer you’re really up against is yourself.

6. Keep reading. So many times, you get sucked into your own fictional world that you forget other writers are out there, making up fabulous stories. Reading those books is what brought you to this place, remember? Don’t lose the joy of reading.

7. Don’t be afraid to say no. Looking back, there were plenty of times I zigged when I should have zagged. We all make the best decisions we can at the time, but try to slow down. To look at the offer from all sides. Make sure it’s going to be the road you want your career to take.

8. Rejection isn’t permanent. My first book, a Western historical, was rejected all over New York City for a solid year. Everyone loved it, but no one had room for it. On the second round of submissions, the first house that had rejected it before made an offer, and I hadn’t changed a thing. Different editor, different day, different outcome.

9. Get out from behind the computer! I don’t care what you do. Go to the mall, the movies, the beach, the mountains. Sit in the backyard and laugh at the neighbors. But don’t lose touch with the life you’re writing about. If you never see beyond your computer screen, your stories are soon going to sound just as flat as that screen.

10. Give every book you write everything you’ve got. I work as hard now on book number 102 as I did on book number 1. I still worry about getting it ‘right,’ whatever that is.

Trust yourself and never give up. For all the ups and downs, writing is the best job in the world, and you’re a lucky newbie to be heading down this road.


To learn more about Maureen, please visit her Website at http://www.MaureenChild.com or her blog at http://MaureenChild.blogspot.com. Her newest book, Falling for King’s Fortune, is available at all major bookstores and can be ordered online from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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The Write Way………..

May 17, 2008 by in category The Write Way by Maureen Child tagged as ,
It’s so hot right now, it’s really hard to work……especially for those of us who do NOT have A/C–(that’s right, weep for me!) So, instead of writing my own words, I’ve been indulging in reading everybody else’s.

As writers, we all got into this because we love books. All books. Any books. I have so many books in my house, my dh insists that when the ‘Big One’ finally hits Southern California, they’re going to find my body under a mountain of books….For me, doesn’t like such a bad way to go.

Since I became a writer though, reading sort of took the back seat. I get so involved in my own worlds, with my own characters, I sometimes feel that I don’t have nearly enought time to simply read anymore. I can go a couple of weeks, even a month without feeling the overpowering urge to read….then it hits.

And boy, when it hits, it hits hard. In the last month or so, I think I’ve read more than fifty books. And I seem to be on a Regency England kick at the moment, which is odd since I stopped reading (and writing) historicals years ago. But I’ve rediscovered the magic of an earlier time. I’m thrilling to the Alpha male in a British drawing room. I’m loving the sweep of the moors and the delicate beauty of an English garden. And oh, the dialogue. The wit. The banter.

So in the midst of my reading binge, I’m realizing again just what first drew me to the magic of the written word. I’m remembering the passion for writing. The simple joy of being able to create worlds for a living.

And I’m hoping that somewhere out there, readers are enjoying MY books as much as I’m enjoying everyone else’s.

So what are YOU reading?

Maureen Child is the author of more than 100 romance novels, but at the moment, she’s sitting in front of her fan, pretending she’s in Mayfair………

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The Write Way (because there is no ‘right’ way)

October 17, 2007 by in category The Write Way by Maureen Child tagged as

So, last month I went to plot group. My plot group’s been meeting twice a year for more than ten years. Susan Mallery, Christine Rimmer, Teresa Southwick and I have worked together well, obviously, for a long time! This time was different though. We had a new member, Kate Carlisle. And hey, now Kate’s published too! Coincidence? I wonder…

But the point of this blog is to say that even after writing and selling and publishing nearly a hundred books, I’ve still got plenty to learn. Plot group lets you brainstorm with other writers. Writing is a solitary profession. And usually, that’s one of the biggest reasons why I like it so much. It’s not necessary to play well with others. But plot group is something different.

For three days, we plot like crazy. We laugh like loons, we come up with off the wall ideas, plot points, turning points, character traits, bad moments, escalating ways to torture our people and titles that will never see the light of day. We turn ourselves loose, cutting off the inner critic who’s always warning us not to push the envelope too far. For those few days, anything is possible. There is no such thing as a bad idea and you can say whatever’s on your mind.

I’m not saying all the ideas we played with will survive. As a matter of fact, one of my ideas didn’t exactly thrill my editor, so I’ll be coming up with something else for her. But that idea she doesn’t want will be stored away to maybe find life again somewhere else. I really do like that hero!

As writers we’re always looking for the next great book. The idea that will wow editors, amaze marketing and thrill readers to the point that we land on the NYT list within two days of publication! The sad truth is, that no matter who you are or how many books you’ve published, there’s always rejection to be considered. No matter how brilliant we think we are, not every idea is golden. Not every book should be written.

So we keep going. We keep typing. Because persistence is the key in this business. Never surrender. Never give up. Never go away. Keep writing, because at the bottom of it, that’s all a writer can really do.

Maureen Child is hard at work on her next Desire for Silhouette and in between pages, is still taking breaks to do the happy dance for her good friend Kate Carlisle! Congrats again on your 3 book sale to NAL, Kate!

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Coming Through

February 26, 2006 by in category 25 Days of Romance, Contests, From Our Archives tagged as , , ,

25 Days of Romance | Marianne Donley | A Slice of Orange

A Slice of Orange is closing the 25 Days of Romance Contest by bringing you a Bonus Blog from Maureen Child. We plan to announce the winner of the contest on March 6th. Thank you all!

By Maureen Child

On Valentine’s Day, my daughter Sarah called on her drive home from work. We usually get a lot of chatting done while she’s stuck on the freeway and that day was no different. Of course, the conversation turned to Valentine’s Day and she asked me if her father had given me the box of See’s Bordeaux that has become tradition in our house. When I assured her he had, she said, “Your sweetheart always comes through, doesn’t he?”

It wasn’t until much later that I realized how true her statement really was.

Mark and I were married when we were kids (although we were not twelve as Sarah insists) and we’ve been married a long time. We sort of grew up together and I can honestly say that even when he makes me nuts, I’m still nuts about him.

Nothing shakes Mark. Where I’m volatile and explosive, he’s steady and quiet (not that he gets much chance to talk around me). He’s the patient one and I’m the one most likely to erupt like some long dormant volcano suddenly springing to life when everyone least expects it. We were a team when the kids were little and now that they’re grown we’re still a team. The team we were when we first started out.  And it’s even more fun this time.

Mark is the rock in my world. I’ve always been able to count on him. When my car breaks down in the worst possible place at the worst possible time, I know I can call him and he’l ride to the rescue. When I’m feeling like the world is crashing down around me, he makes me laugh like no one else ever has. When I’m on deadline, he listens to me whine. When I’m obsessing about a new book, he never asks what I’m doing as I stare blankly into space.

And back when I was sure I’d never sell a book, Mark always believed in me.

Romance isn’t just the stuff we write books about’the first flush of love, the excitement charging the air. It’s also about being there for someone every day. It’s about laughing together over jokes no one else will ever understand. It’s about holding hands in the movies and dancing in the kitchen.

It’s about always coming through.

Maureen Child


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