AMA: Teen mom turned Romance Author

S.M. Soto
Jan 11, 2018

I’m a newly published romance author, my Debut, The Darkest Hour is the first Standalone in the San Diegan Series. I’m also a teen mother who struggled to get in her feet, and now four years later, I’ve finally made it. 

Currently have three book releases set up for 2018: 

May - Scoring the Quarterback 

August - Damaged Heart

October - Deception and Chaos 

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If you could do a book in collaboration with another author, who would you like it to be and why?

Jan 12, 12:27PM EST1

I’d love to do something with Whitney G or Lauren Blakely, maybe a rom-com. They’re both amazing. 

Jan 12, 4:01PM EST0

After this life changing experience, does your perception on men and on love change?

Jan 12, 10:22AM EST1

I do think it’s made me a little more closed off and jaded. I haven’t dated anyone since my son was born—mainly because I don’t have the time.  

I don’t necessarily think my perception on love has changed, but for me, personally, I don’t believe the normal happily ever after is in the cards for me. 

Jan 12, 10:31AM EST0

How supportive are your family and friends throughout the whole ordeal and now in your chosen career path?

Jan 12, 8:09AM EST0

They’re very supportive of me. Choosing this career path was risky, I think everyone knows that, but my family understands how much this means to me. 

Jan 12, 10:19AM EST0

What do you think makes a compelling story?

Jan 12, 6:18AM EST0

Hmmm. What I think makes a compelling story is a fresh story line and the characters. If your reader roots for your characters, you already have a compelling, page turner that they’ll want to finish. 

Jan 12, 10:23AM EST0

Is there a romantic movie you can watch over and over again?

Jan 12, 5:05AM EST0

The Notebook and The Titanic! I can watch those movies over and over again without a problem. 

Jan 12, 10:21AM EST0

How do you think the social media has helped the romance novel industry or has it?

Jan 12, 4:31AM EST0

I think it’s helped authors reach even bigger audiences.  On twitter and Instagram alone, there’s so many hashtags just dedicated to the bookworld, so I think having social media aids the author in spreading the word. 

Jan 12, 10:25AM EST0

What kind of books do you often read and who are your favorite authors?

Jan 11, 6:53PM EST1

For the most part, I’ll read anything in the romance genre, but my favorite sub genre of romance is Dark Romance. I love a well plotted twisted story. 

I have so many favorite authors, but a few that are my go-to one-click authors are: Colleen Hoover, Amy Harmon, and Pepper Winters. 

Jan 11, 7:08PM EST0

You are truly an inspiration. Any advice you can share to other young mothers out there?

Jan 11, 5:09PM EST1

Thank you!

I think the best advice I can give is don’t give up on your dreams. Just because you’re a young mother doesn’t mean all your hopes and dreams go swirling down the drain. A child is a blessing, and you should never feel weighted down by that.

Is it going to be hard? Hell yes. Will there be days where you break down and cry? Totally. But none of that means your life is over. It only makes you stronger. 

I don’t know how many times I heard people say that I ruined my life when I got pregnant. For a while I even started to believe it, but you know what? It only made me work harder to prove all of them wrong. 

Jan 11, 6:16PM EST0

How do you stay inspired to maintain your creative vibe?

Jan 11, 4:07PM EST1

READ. I try to read at least two books every week so I don’t get burned out. It’s also a great way to perfect your craft. When I read other people’s work I look for things that could be better, things that can make the story better and in the end, I think it helps make me a better writer. 

Jan 11, 6:09PM EST0

Reading really helps, same here.

Jan 11, 9:21PM EST1

How do you make sure you get to balance family and writing?

Jan 11, 2:53PM EST1

I still haven’t quite found the balance yet, but I’m working on it. I try to write as often as possible, but being a single-mother doesn’t leave me with much time. Right now, the scales are tipped in the direction of my son, but once nap time and bedtime hits? I bust out the laptop and get writing. 

Jan 11, 6:05PM EST0

Are any of your books somehow based on a true story?

Jan 11, 12:39PM EST1

I think in some small way, all my books are based on true events. I try to write about stuff that is familiar to my readers— something they can relate to. I wouldn’t go as far as saying my books are based off true events in my personal life, because that would be false, but definitely the life experiences of people around me. 

Last edited @ Jan 11, 6:00PM EST.
Jan 11, 6:00PM EST0
Show all 3 replies

Can you tell us a little bit more about your book The Darkest Hour?

Jan 11, 10:51AM EST1

Of course. 

The Darkest Hour is a romance novel about two broken individuals who fall in love, despite the heartbreaking circumstances of their pasts. The story is focused on a young woman named Aliza, who learns there’s love to be found even when you’ve experienced a lifetime of loss. Through her chink of armor, Chase Roland finds a way into her cold heart, rekindling her ability to open up and love again.

Soon enough, Aliza realizes she’s not the only one broken, hiding a past filled with guilt and secrets.

Jan 11, 5:57PM EST0

Any advice you can share to aspiring authors out there?

Jan 10, 11:22PM EST1

The best advice I can share is don’t ever give up. There will be times that you’ll ask yourself if it’s worth it and you’ll question yourself, but don’t. This is your dream for a reason, you have to believe in yourself and in your work or no one else will. 

Jan 11, 10:17AM EST0

When did you decide to become a writer and why did you choose this genre?

Jan 10, 6:19AM EST1

Well, for starters, I’ve always loved reading and the world you find yourself getting lost in while you read. Even as a kid. 

I started off reading my moms old V.C. Andrews books when I was just in fifth grade, and every year after I fell more in love with books and what they had to offer. It wasn’t until I graduated high school and I was working part-time at a law firm that I thought, hey, I wonder what would happen if I tried to write a book? I’ve always had a vivid imagination and I am single handedly the definition of a daydreamer, so the ideas for books were always there, I just had to act on them and put pen to paper. 

As for why I chose the romance genre - it’s mainly because I started off reading romance as a young girl. Granted, V.C. Andrews romance tales were a bit more twisted than others, but I think my younger self absorbed all of it and had no other choice but to fall in love with the genre. I’m also a hopeless romantic at heart, so I think writing romance was written in the cards for me. 

Last edited @ Jan 10, 12:03PM EST.
Jan 10, 12:02PM EST0

How did you come up with the book titles? Scoring the Quarterback, Damaged Heart, Deception and Chaos and The Darkest Hour?

Jan 10, 1:02AM EST1

I came up with each one differently. I originally wanted to name The Darkest Hour, Dark Paradise, after a Lana Del Ray song but I wasn’t sure how well it would’ve gone over, copyright infringement wise. 

For Scoring the Quarterback, I tried to think of something sporty and something that would relate to the novel itself. 

It was fitting when I though of Damaged Heart because the book itself is about a woman who views herself as damaged and broken down. 

It took me a while to come up with Deception and Chaos, only because I wanted something different, a title that hadn’t been used before. So, I just decided to go literal and choose two words that distinctly represented the premise and plot of the book. 

Last edited @ Jan 10, 12:32PM EST.
Jan 10, 12:31PM EST1
Show all 3 replies

What are your goals for your writing career?

Jan 10, 12:46AM EST1

I’d say my top goals for my writing career are to hit the bestsellers list and one day see my stories come to life on screen. 

Jan 10, 12:06PM EST0

How difficult was it to get your work accepted for publishing? Any tips you can share to other authors out there?

Jan 9, 11:02PM EST1

It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Before I submitted my debut, I read a lot of articles online about other authors who spent years getting no’s, and I think reading all that instilled fear. After I sent my submission off I was expecting hard no’s and  when I received the opposite, it was amazing. 

I think the main tip I can offer to other authors is: believe in yourself and your craft. What works for one publisher may not always work for the other. This does not mean you aren’t a good writer and it definitey doesn’t mean your book sucks.

Always, always, ALWAYS proof read a million times over, especially in your query letters. 

Jan 9, 11:31PM EST0

What is usually your inspiration for writing your piece?

Jan 18, 7:33AM EST0

When you need a break from writing, what do you do?

Jan 9, 12:36PM EST1

If I need a break from writing I generally choose a show on Netflix to binge watch and read a few books until I feel refreshed. 

Jan 9, 12:39PM EST0

How does it feel being a published author at a very young age? What else would you like to accomplish in the future?

Jan 9, 11:54AM EST1

It’s a bit intimidating, but honestly, it feels great. I have years to keep working and perfecting my craft which I think works to my benefit. My number one goal right now is to hit the bestsellers list, but one day, I’d love to see one of my stories come to life on screen. 

Jan 9, 12:42PM EST0

What is your typical day like?

Jan 9, 9:25AM EST1

My typical day is actually quite boring. I normally wake up around 7 to take my son to pre-school, then I head home to watch my niece for my brother. While my son’s in school and I watch her, I usually try to slip in some writing, but anyone that has kids knows how hard that can be. After my son gets out of school, the rest of my day consists of two screaming children.

It’s fabulous. Really. 

Jan 9, 10:38AM EST0
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