Guest Post: Do Readers Cross The Romance/Women’s Fiction Line? By Laura Drake

Thumbnail CoverWhat do my readers want from me? In today’s publishing climate, we’re often afraid to give something new a try, afraid of losing our readers, our followers, our mojo even. Sometimes our publishers are afraid as well, using the word “brand” to help us shape our new books. Staying within genre makes sense, but it’s not always possible. Especially when we have a story we want to tell that falls outside certain industry parameters. (I have a few floating around myself.)

Today we have with us, Laura Drake, multi-published, award-winning, romance author whose first women’s fiction title is releasing today! She wonders if fans of her romance novels will read her women’s fiction. Will the new readers she acquires with this book pop over and give her romance novels a try? Below, Laura shares with us her excitement and her fears for her new journey. She’s also sharing an short excerpt. 

Please welcome Laura Drake to WFW! And tell us what you think, in the comments.

Amy xo

Continue reading

Author Laura Drake Likes Cowboys And Motorcycles, And Loves Writing A Good Story

I’m getting this post ready to go live on Women’s Fiction Writers and it’s strange for me because it’s the middle of the day. Why is that strange? Because for a few years now I’ve worked with and corresponded with Laura Drake, and it always seems to happen, oh, around five in the morning.  It’s always nice to know someone else is awake and in front of their monitor when everyone else is sleeping! 

Laura is tireless in her work to promote women’s fiction, evidenced by her involvement in RWA-WF before becoming part of the Founding Team of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association.  What??? You don’t know about the WFWA? It’s a brand new, totally officially official organization on the cusp of being able to open up to members. There’s a link below so you can find out more information. I know that for me it’s an invaluable resource as well as a place I can always find a friend.

Now back to Laura. Laura’s a powerhouse author with a three-book deal, a penchant for motorcycles, a keen wit, and a real understanding of what it means to be supportive of other writers.

Please welcome Laura Drake to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

Author Laura Drake Likes Cowboys And Motorcycles, And Loves On Writing A Good Story

Amy: Laura, you went from aspiring author (and a million other things, including motorcycle chick) to author with a three-book-deal starting with THE SWEET SPOT which was released on May 28!! Can you tell us a little about that?

Laura: It took me three novels, and fifteen years to sell. I think it’s kind of like that sale at Nordstrom’s…you pass up a blouse, but you decide, when another woman picks it up, the perfect one!

No one wanted my first two books until the third one sold. Then they wanted everything I’d written.  I had the three book deal with Grand Central, and a one book deal with Harlequin’s Superromance.

Amy: How did your books change through the editing process? Was this hard for you? (I know that my book went through a big change, sometimes I resisted, but in general, the changes were on target and made it a better book!) 

Laura: Well, The Sweet Spot had more changes than most, because it was written as WF, and sold as romance. The good news was it was close to the line (1/2 the editors believed it to be WF, the other 1/2, romance.)

The changes were mainly a matter of focus; changing the woman’s journey to include more of the hero’s journey. And advance the romance a bit. That was hardest to do, because my couple had divorced following the death of their son. Charla was addicted to Valium, and JB’s drug of choice was young and blonde. They had a long way to go to get back to each other. It took hours of angst and sweat, but it worked out in the end!

Amy: What’s your favorite part of the writing and publishing process? 

Laura: I love the end. Not because I’m done, but because I’ve lived with the characters for nine months, and it’s so rewarding to give them their satisfying ending after torturing themthe whole book (I’m so evil.)

Believe it or not, so far, I love the promo! I’m an extrovert, and I love talking books and writing, so interviews, blogs, etc. are right up my alley!

In person is tougher. I spoke to a women’s group for the first time last week – I was terrified the day before, but when I actually did it, I had a great time!

Amy: How do you see social media in your writing life? Is it work, play, or both?

Laura: It’s a complete party for me. See, I’m lucky. I write about specific subjects (so far, anyway) Professional Bull Riding, and motorcycling (yes, I know, I’m odd.) It makes it easier to find my target audience.

I so love Twitter – all my peeps are there: writers, biker-chicks, bull riders, fans, I even follow a couple of very opinionated bulls!

Amy: You obviously know that the term women’s fiction sometimes gets a bad rap. Yet, there’s the new Women’s Fiction Writers Association which is primed to embrace the term and its authors (just like this blog does).  What is your own definition of women’s fiction and what’s your take on the conflict?

Laura: And thank you, Amy, for what you do for WF writers and readers. It’s so nice to find a quiet corner out of the fray!

I’m from the Rodney King, can’t-we-all-just-get-along, school. I love the new group because their mission is: An Inclusive Organization of Writers who create stories about a woman’s emotional journey.

That’s what Women’s Fiction is to me. I don’t understand getting our collective panties in a twist about a label.  What’s important is the story!

Amy: What’s your best advice for aspiring authors of women’s fiction (other than to join WFWA, the new Women’s Fiction Writers Association)?

Don’t waste time on things you can’t control, or what will happen, five steps down the road. I lost focus with all that distraction. Focus on your craft, and writing a great book. After all, Isn’t that why we chose to write to begin with?

Laura Drake is a city girl, who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance. The Sweet Spot, the first novel in her, ‘Sweet on a Cowboy’ Series, will be released by Grand Central in May of 2013, Nothing Sweeter, in December. Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, will be released by Harlequin’s Superromance in August, 2013.

Laura resides in Southern California, though she aspires to retirement in Texas. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write, full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Website: http://LauraDrakeBooks.com

Twitter: @PBRWriter

Blog: http://WritersintheStorm@Wordpress.com

The Long Road To Publication By Author Laura Drake

Today’s a special day at Women’s Fiction Writers (OK, every day is special!) because our guest is Laura Drake!  Laura shares awesome publishing news below as well as her journey to get there — but what she doesn’t mention is she’s the President of RWA-WF which is the Women’s Fiction Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Laura is smart, funny, dedicated and hard working.  I am pretty sure she doesn’t sleep at all.  How do I know? I’m the RWA-WF Secretary, and we’re emailing all the time in addition to hanging out on the RWA-WF email loops and taking care of all kind of RWA-WF business.  

I’m thrilled that Laure took the time to share herself with all of us here — and I’m hoping (guilt-guilt-guilt) that she’ll join us again when her first book hits the shelves!

Please welcome Laura Drake to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

It Has Been A Long Road – Or – Learning The Hard Way

By Laura Drake

As writers, we’re observers. We’re endlessly fascinated by human behavior. Over the years, I’ve observed that no one gets it all. We’re all a blend of assets, fatal flaws and blind spots. I’m not sure we have control over which of the above we’re ‘gifted’ with.

I’m not smart. No, really. I had to work hard in school to get decent grades. I don’t think well on my feet. I’m a bit of a klutz, physically and socially. If you believe in ‘old souls,’ I’m not one of them. I learn by jumping in and flailing about, making mistakes until the right path presents itself.  I’m not being self-depreciating – I have assets. I just had to find what they were as I went along.

My biggest asset? I’m a plodder. I know, it’s not sexy. But that’s okay, because it works.

My husband and I ride motorcycles. Before I learned to ride my own, I rode behind him for a hundred thousand miles. That’s a lot of time for your mind to wander while observing life from the pillion seat. One day, outside Kernville, California, a dog ran in front of the bike. After a sphincter-tightening scare, he trotted off, but it gave me an idea – kernel of a plot.

Me? Write a book? Who was I to write a book? My brain worried at it, but I refused to be a cliché, sitting in front of a blank computer screen. But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. Oh, the pressure! Then one day I finally realized – my computer had a ‘delete’ key! I could write anything I’d like – no one would never see my drivel!

So I plodded forward on my ‘biker-chick’ novel, finally finishing it a year and a half later. Then I stumbled onto an online critiquing community, and realized I knew nothing about craft. POV? What the heck was that, and what did it have to do with my book?

Seven or so revisions later, I was ready to submit (oh, the ignorance,) and researched how to get an agent (oh, the hubris!)

Fast forward about ten years. I’d finally put the biker-chick novel under the bed, wrote two more books, joined RWA, took classes, attended conventions, pitched. I was a veteran of the submittal wars. I watched authors around me being published. I felt like the last klutz to be selected for the pick-up softball game.

But I just kept at it. I knew my writing was ever-improving, and my last book? It was special. I just knew it in my heart. Last summer, I snagged discovered a wonderful agent who thought so too. That was the start of the crazy Wild-Mouse ride I’ve been on since.

In December I signed a 3 book deal with Grand Central.  And last week, after more than thirteen years, I my ‘biker-chick’ book sold to second publisher!

Do you despair that you’ll never sell? Do you look at the other writers, wishing you had her voice, or his fast writing style?  Don’t. You have assets, and if you keep moving forward, putting one foot in front of the other, you’re going to get there. If you don’t stop, how could you not?

I’m a plodder. I’m embracing it. Yeah, it’s not sexy.  But you know what? Right now, I don’t care.

Laura Drake is a Midwesterner who never grew out of her tomboy ways or a serious cowboy crush. She writes Women’s Fiction and Romance, and in December, she sold three novels set in the world of professional bull riding to Grand Central. THE SWEET SPOT, in which a couple struggles to reclaim their lives after a tragic loss, will be released in the spring of 2013.

Laura resides in Southern California, though she aspires to retirement in Texas. She’s a corporate CFO during the day, and a wife, grandmother, writer, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

You can learn more about Laura and her books here: http://LauraDrakeBooks.com And you can follow her on Twitter too: @PBRWriter.