Today we’ll be hearing from Margaret Harlowe, a writer of steamy romance. My comments will be in Italics.
- Where are you currently living?
I live in the glorious Rocky Mountains, which inspire some of my writing. My erotic romance novel is set in Wyoming and throughout the Western United States.
Margaret Harlowe is a pen name, and HANDS ON THE WHEEL is my first erotic romance novel. I don’t think it will be my last. Because I live in a very small town, I don’t want to reveal my name. I have written three other published books under my real name: two historical novels and one non-fiction title.
Way to go! The Rockies are beautiful.
- What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I use a very loose outline method, listing scenes in the order in which I think they should appear, shifting them around and changing them as I go. This listing technique helps me imagine my scenes and create a fast-paced narrative.
That is cool. I should do that as well.
- Why self-publish?
For me, it boiled down to either moving forward into Amazon’s self-publishing platforms or allowing my fiction to sit around collecting dust. While being an indie author is an awful lot of work (it truly is!), I could no longer tolerate waiting and waiting and waiting for responses, or non-responses, from traditional publishers and literary agents. I decided to take charge of my own publishing. I’m very glad I did, although I wish my books earned more money for me.
That’s pretty much the same reason I self-published. It is hard work, but in the end, it’s faster. The big publishers aren’t sure how to handle the change in their market.
- Any insights about eBooks vs. print books?
I like to think that eBooks are inspiring a literary renaissance. I have been amazed by how many Kindle eBooks I sell, compared to paperbacks. Probably ten times more. When I self-published my first novel, I went to the trouble of formatting it for eBook outlets such as Nook and Smashwords. For subsequent novels, though, I have stayed with Kindle only – partly from laziness, since formatting is a lot of work, and partly from the fact that Kindle is by far my bestselling eBook outlet. This might be a mistake, but I’m not sure. Also, this may differ from genre to genre.
Romance is supposed to sell better in e-book formats.
- Do you have any suggestions for new writers?
Writing is the hardest work in the world – if you want to write WELL. Aim for the best writing you can produce, whether you are self-publishing or trying for an agent and publisher. NEVER settle for having mistakes in your books. Hire a professional editor and follow his/her advice. Invest in a good style manual, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, so that you can find answers to the inevitable grammar, punctuation, and usage questions that come up. Then, having done this important homework, enjoy the end result of your wonderful discipline.
Great advice and you’re right, it is hard work.
- What’s a surprising thing you learned during your creative process with your books?
I have been delighted at times (though not often enough) when writing seems to flow through me, making me feel as if the words and/or scenes are coming from somewhere else. I love it when that happens!
I see… magic. Sounds good to me.
- What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?
I think a book stands out when the cover, the title, and the story concept are carefully, skillfully conceived. Next, the writing has to be clean, concise, and entertaining. For me, a stand-out story must be character-driven with plenty of human interest. I like books I can escape into, from erotic romance to sweet romance to historical fiction and women’s fiction.
As for my book, HANDS ON THE WHEEL: A Sinfully Erotic Trucker Romance, one element that makes it stand out is that my main characters are mature adults who bring realistic baggage to their very steamy relationship. Also, my book is well-written, with no mistakes. This should not be a stand-out quality. However, in the Erotic Romance genre it is, unfortunately. I’ve been told that my book’s quick pacing is extraordinary, too. It’s a quick, hot, entertaining read – sweet and erotic at the same time.
I agree. The pacing is great and the book is well written and very well edited and the story is sweet.
- What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Twitter. I spend an awful lot of time on there, building my following and retweeting others. Also, I have been submitting my erotic romance for reviews on romance sites that accept erotic romance.
Sounds good. Twitter is great!
- What is the one thing you would do differently now and why?
Book launches. It’s difficult for me to patiently prepare for a book launch. Once I’m finally finished writing and editing and revising a novel, I itch to get it out there. With HANDS ON THE WHEEL, I didn’t do enough preparing for its launch. As a result, it is difficult to get it noticed in the extremely crowded, huge Erotic Romance category.
It’s difficult to be great at every aspect of publishing, especially after you write the story.
- What would you like carved onto your tombstone? Or what saying or mantra do you live by?
Maybe my tombstone could include my favorite saying. So, here’s what I would like carved on my tombstone:
‘Our lives are frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify.’ – Thoreau
That’s beautiful. Margaret Harlowe, thank you for sharing with us.
And the link to Margaret Harlowe’s latest book…
And you can find Margaret Harlowe on twitter at: https://twitter.com/authorMHarlowe