Author of Historial Romance. I've written time travel romance, as well as Scottish and Western romance set in the 1880s. Ask me anything!

May 14, 2018

For over four years, I worked on a historical romance novel as a hobby. I knew I wanted to write, but never thought it would be possible to be published. I thought it would be getting struck by lightning. Then I entered the world of self-publishing, which has made my dreams come true. I have now published a trilogy of time travel novellas, and am in the midst of a series based on a family in the Scottish Highlands, of which I publish both sweet and steamy versions.

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What point of view do you find most to your liking: first person or third person? Have you ever tried second person
May 21, 7:45AM EDT0
Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
May 21, 7:01AM EDT0
Which authors did you read when you were younger and did they shape you as a writer?
May 20, 10:39PM EDT0
Do you manage to write every day? What do you do when you do not feel like writing?
May 20, 5:53PM EDT0

I now have "work days" and weekends, like people with a 9-to-5 job, mostly because I have a family at home still, and I prefer to write in longer chunks of time. I write most days when kids are in school, but if inspiration strikes, I will pick up my laptop at random times and start letting the ideas flow!

May 20, 6:29PM EDT0
You have published a trilogy of time travel novellas. What’s the difference writing in the shorter or longer forms?
May 18, 11:43PM EDT0

Shorter forms can honestly sometimes be trickier, as you have to tell a believable story with a satisfying conclusion that doesn't seem rushed or forced. In longer forms, you have more room to tell your story. I like doing a mix of both types of writing. It is variety for me, and provides new challenges either way.

May 19, 2:18AM EDT0
What kind of heroes do you enjoy reading in historical romance? What do you think are the qualities a historical romance hero should possess?
May 18, 9:07PM EDT0

I have asked this question to readers before -- what type of heroes they prefer -- and it certainly varies. Some love a charming gentleman; others a brooding, dark hero, and still others a reformed rake. I think no matter the hero, however, he must go on a journey from the beginning of the book to the end, and be believable. He also must be committed to the heroine once they have met, and, in the end, be willing to do whatever it takes to prove his love.

May 19, 2:19AM EDT0
What’s the strangest bit of historical trivia you’ve picked up in your research?
May 18, 12:01PM EDT0

The weirdest research was perhaps learning how head injuries were treated in 16th century Scotland. It wasn’t pretty, to say the least. I'm sure there are others, but nothing immediately comes to mind. I will come back and update if I remember anything else!

May 18, 3:21PM EDT0
If you could time travel, what modern conveniences would you miss most and what would you miss least?
May 18, 10:41AM EDT0

Probably refrigerators, modern plumbing, and electricity -- lights in particular. The least might actually be computer technology. I feel like, as much as it has greatly advanced our world, it has actually taken a lot away from us as well!

May 18, 3:22PM EDT0
Having self-published your books, what has been the most helpful marketing tool you’ve used so far?
May 18, 8:51AM EDT0

To grow your own following through a newsletter list and social media. Don't rely on sites such as Amazon to do the work for you, but have your own followers, particularly a newsletter list.

May 18, 3:22PM EDT0
What is your inspiration behind the ‘Love for All Times’ series. Why time travel? Is there a specific era that you would love to visit?
May 18, 5:58AM EDT0

I always have been fascinated by time travel. I think living in a time there's so much you don't appreciate. To have the opportunity to go back in time with the eyes of someone from the future would be so interesting. I think the time I wrote about -- 16th century Scotland -- is the time I would love to go back to!

May 18, 3:23PM EDT0
Are you ok with endings that do not end happily ever after, or are you a sucker for happy endings?
May 17, 8:30PM EDT0

To me, happily ever after endings are a MUST! I know not everyone agrees, and obviously there are different books for different tastes, but I need a happy ending in the books I read and write.

May 18, 1:15AM EDT0
Have you ever felt like writing a book about fashion design or another non-fiction topic?
May 16, 6:49PM EDT0

I have actually written non-fiction before, but they have been history books as well, so I suppose it is history that pulls me in as much as romance! I have thought about other non-fiction topics to write about, though not fashion design -- I have to admit, it would not be my specialty. But I have considered writing about sports, or a cookbook -- something along those lines.

May 16, 7:21PM EDT0
Do you read any romance novels by other novelists, and if so, do you escape into these idealized fantasies, or read them with a critical eye?
May 16, 10:17AM EDT0

I love reading romance! I try to let go of any critical thoughts and simply enjoy them as a reader, though I certainly will pick out any grammatical errors or proofreading, that kind of thing. More than anything, however, I find myself appreciating the creativity and skill of other authors more than I used to, paying particular attention to the way they weave plots or describe a scene or an action, for example.

May 16, 7:23PM EDT0
Do you do any editing after you receive printed proof copies of your book?
May 16, 8:51AM EDT0

I do tons of editing! I probably edit each book about four times myself before printing, and then it also goes through an editor and proofreader. I do find having a print copy helps me find more errors and pick up more little things, though usually a paper copy will suffice. Once the book is in print, I don't actually read it again unless for some reason it requires further edit.

May 16, 7:24PM EDT0
What are some of the writing habits that have helped you to successfully and consistently publish fiction?
May 16, 5:05AM EDT0

I'm sure different habits work for different authors, but here are a few that work for me:

1. Setting up a schedule. I schedule the year, the month, the week, and the day as each come up. This helps me adhere to deadlines and keeps me on track.

2. Research what other authors are doing. What are the trends, what is popular, what types of advertising seems to be working.

3. Set aside blocks of time to write, and write where you are inspired.

4. Determine what helps ideas form and make those a habit. This may be walking in nature, or meditating, or playing piano -- whatever helps your ideas flow.

5. Just write. Sometimes it's not great and you will have to go back and edit or erase. But nothing else will get you going.

May 16, 7:27PM EDT0
When writing an important scene, what methods do you use to enhance the accuracy the scene?
May 15, 4:01AM EDT0

With any scene, I really like to describe it accurately, and therefore write about the setting -- for example, the room, the furniture, what's hanging on the walls -- but in a way that flows and doesn't take the reader away from the emotion of the story. 

Then I think it is important to describe how the characters are saying something and what their actions are while saying it. 

And finally, then I think it is important to give insight to what they are thinking and how they are reacting to what is being said to them or what is happening around them.

May 15, 11:40AM EDT0
What is it about romance that appeals to a majority of women rather than men?
May 14, 11:44PM EDT0

I think romance empowers women. They are on equal footing as men -- it is not about a woman being a secondary character. I'm not really sure why else it would appeal to more women than men, although I do think that quite a few men read romance as well, they just aren't as likely to talk about it, though they shouldn't be ashamed!

May 16, 7:57PM EDT0
How difficult was it to incorporate timetravel into the plot of your novel?
May 14, 5:00PM EDT0

I actually didn't find it too difficult. The important thing is to choose how time travel works in this particular world, and then not to stray from it. For example -- if a character travels to the past, does what she does affect the future? Or is it already predestined that she was to return to the past and make the changes, and therefore the future already follows the timeline it was always supposed to? Those are the types of questions that are important to determine at the beginning. Then its kind of fun to play with how the characters interact based on their completely different worldviews.

May 14, 6:33PM EDT0
How extensive was your research for your novel and how much preparation was involved prior to the actual writing of the book?
May 14, 2:39PM EDT0

For the first book I wrote, I did fairly extensive research. The initial preparatory research is on the setting -- the era, the location, what major events have occurred or are occurring that would majorly affect my characters or make parts of the story I am contemplating possible or impossible. This is oversimplified, but as an example, in my first McDougall book, I knew that the time period was one in which the clan system of the Highlands was no longer the society we have come to know through medieval stories, but rather one in which the laird or chieftain is primarily a landlord more than anything. This changes quite a few interactions within my novel. Many people were also leaving to the bigger cities or the Americas, which had to be incorporated into the story.

I'm sure every author does things a bit differently, but I do most of my research as I write. For example, if my characters are going to board a ship to travel across the Atlantic, when they get to that point, I will research what type of ship they are on, how long the journey would take, what type of food would they be eating, what are the different classes on the ship, could they have interacted, where would they have boarded and then landed, that sort of thing. Sometimes if I'm in the writing groove, on my first draft I will note where more research is needed, and then I will go back later, do my research, and add in the necessary research. So I suppose the short answer to your question is that I do quite a bit of research, but a lot of it is during the actual writing and not prior. 

May 14, 3:02PM EDT0
What were the events that lead you to become a romance writer?
May 14, 1:13PM EDT0

I actually started writing romance long ago, as I always thought if there was one career I would want to do more than anything, it was write romance. I love reading romance, I love editing, and more than anything I wanted to write. My first book was actually a four-year process, as I would start and stop, never knowing if it would actually get published. I thought when I finally finished it, I would submit it to publishing companies and see what happened. Then in doing researching on publishing, I realized that I could possibly be just as successful, if not more so, self-publishing. I learned more about the opportunity, and finally actually wrote a different book, and published it first. When it did better than I expected, I finally published the book that had taken me so long to right, and the rest, as they say, is history...

May 14, 2:57PM EDT0
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