Welcome back to the blog. Today I have Romance Author Nina S. Gooden, author of A Clockwork Christmas, The Big, Bad… and Light Can Be Gentle.
Thanks for coming on the blog, Nina!
How did you start your career as a writer?
When I was a kid, there were so many things I wanted to do. I overused the line “when I grow up…” and pretty much plotted to work every job under the sun. I had a lot of energy and fully intended to juggle all eighteen of my career choices! Even so, there was always one goal that kept popping up. I wanted to write. In fact, I wrote all of the time! Fanfics, short stories, poems…I spent so much time reading and writing that even today my friends make fun of me because I missed so many movies and musical eras.
Ultimately, it was my family that pushed me to take that final leap into the professional world. I’m kind of a sickly chick, so one day when I was down in the dumps over all the things I couldn’t do, one of them just kinda said “Do the things you can.” So I did. I think that’s an important lesson for everyone to learn, you know? Finding your limits and pushing them. I was lucky enough to be born into a family of Can-Doers.
Don’t let what happens while you’re making plans slow you down. Be flexible, responsive, and determined.
I see you’re published through The Wild Rose Press and Liquid Silver Books. What made you decide to choose these e-publishers over traditional publishing houses and an agent?
It’s probably really sappy, but The Wild Rose Press has one editor in particular who pushed me into e-publishing. In the beginning, I did my fair share of submitting and being rejected. At the time, I was really struggling with building up a thick skin. I also didn’t realize I was making some rookie mistakes in my manuscripts. Callie Lynn Wolfe was a dream come true, she took my first book and validated all of my hard work. It needed some major scrubbing, but her warmth and enthusiasm…well, to be completely honest, reading those emails, even today, can bring tears to my eyes.
There’s just something about the way e-publishers seem to work for and with their writers. In the future, I will probably end up seeking out an agent, but these companies have laid down the foundation for what I will look for in all of my future endeavors. They’ve set the bar high and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I work hard and I know what I want. That kind of confidence is important to any writer. It’s not an easy business to get in to. There’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. You just have to keep your eye on the prize and know when to push and when to let up. Unfortunately, the only way to learn which is the better option, is to experience both and the success and failure they bring.
How are you able to balance real life with your writing life or have you?
Oh, that’s an easy question! I have a fantastic support system. My husband is like my own, personal talking Blackberry. Sometimes when I write I get on these binges that can go until…well, until I wake up with my keyboard imprinted in my face. He reminds me when I need to eat, when I need to sleep, and enforces a rather strict exercise/break regiment. You’ll never catch me doing 1k1h on Sunday and that’s because it’s my day off: whether I like it or not!
On the other end, my sisters are what keep me on track when it comes to my various projects. I’m a pretty fast writer, so I can get a book done in a couple weeks if I focus, but between the time-vortex that is the internet and my own special brand of crazy, I’d never get anything done without the constant reminder that I need to continue such-and-such series because they’re waiting for this-and-that to happen.
I cannot express how important it is to surround yourself with positive people who respect what you do. There are always plenty of people who will belittle and doubt you. Be prepared to meet tons of individuals who think it’s sooo easy to write a book that surely if you can do it, then so can they (*Coughs* Not that I’m bitter or anything). You need a strong barrier of love and support to block out all that noise when you’re on your fifth draft and still have no idea why your heroine seems so flat.
Since you’re published through e-publishers, are you working to find an agent and go the traditional route for future projects?
As mentioned before, I have particularly high standards when it comes to the kind of people I want to work with. Every book I write, every drop of ink I scribble onto a page, is a little bit of me. That being said, I have one project in particular that I value. My baby, so to speak. That project, I’m hoping to have represented by the beginning of next year.
I’ve already gotten my list of targets… I mean agents… lined up. I want to finish at least two of the series I have contracted/published before I go down that route. That gives me enough time to clear some of what I’ve got on my plate, as well as continue to shape my craftwork. I figure this is one of those businesses where you’re never a “Master.” There’s always something else to learn and I want the biggest, shiniest arsenal of awesome before I try my hand at finding an agent.
How long were you writing before you signed your first publishing contract?
I was writing with the goal of getting published for about two years before I landed my first contract. I spent a long time on my first book, trying to make it work when it had some fundamental flaws. It took me that long to be okay with setting it to the side and working on something else. It was a hard lesson to learn, but probably one of the best I could recommend to my fellow writers.
If something isn’t working, let it go. You can pick it back up later, use it in a different way, or switch it up in the future, but all the time you spend struggling with a faulty concept only weakens your resolve and frustrates you. That doesn’t mean you should drop your work every time you hit a snag, but if you’re editing your little heart out and nothing seems to be working, maybe it’s time for a step back. Sometimes a clean slate is exactly what you need.
Is there anything you’d like to say to novice or unpublished writers out there who read this blog?
Writing can be a very solitary act. It’s easy to sit in your room, write, and completely forget about the world outside, but you mustn’t do that. First of all, you can’t write about beautiful things if you don’t experience beautiful things. If you don’t have a support system at home, there are plenty of writing/reading groups out there. There are classes and workshops designed for the sole purpose of helping you hone your craft and meet like-minded people. Go to them, learn everything you can, and remember you’re not alone in any of this.
My second bit of advice is a little contradictory. Of all the lessons I’ve taken on this journey, it was the hardest to accept, even though it’s kind of obvious when you think about it: not everything works for everyone. Advice is all well and good, but ultimately, it’s up to you to find your own way. Don’t be discouraged if you find that you don’t fit the molds you’re handed. Find your method, your niche, and your voice. You’re the only one who can.
Thank you so much for stopping by today, Nina. We really appreciate your information.
Nina can be reached through:
And you can find her books at the following retailers:
Links for The Big, Bad:
Links for A Clockwork Christmas:
Links for Light Can Be Gentle: