EDITOR NOTE: I met Maureen when she self published her first book. She's come a long way with her writing and I'm proud to see her grow into a wonderful romance writer. Take a moment to say hello.
Maureen Smith is the author of ten novels and one novella. She received a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland with a minor in creative writing. As a former freelance writer, her articles were featured in various print and online publications. Since the release of her debut novel in 2002, Maureen has been nominated for two Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Awards and twelve Emma Awards, and has won the Romance in Color Reviewers’ Choice Awards for New Author of the Year and Romantic Suspense of the Year. Maureen lives in San Antonio, TX with her husband, two children, and a miniature schnauzer.
SECRET AGENT SEDUCTION
Tough, beautiful Secret Service agent Lia Charles has never met a challenge she can’t overcome. That is, until she receives her latest assignment—rescue the brilliant, bona fide hottie Armand Magliore, a revolutionary leader of a war-ravaged Caribbean republic. Lia will need all of her special-ops training to get Armand to safety. But it isn’t long before she realizes that extracting the darkly handsome rebel from the treacherous jungles will be the easy part. Guarding her heart from him will test her to the very limits.
What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
As a romantic suspense writer, I love it when people tell me that my story had the perfect blend of romance and mystery. That’s what I always strive to give my readers: a well-written story with riveting suspense and unforgettable romance. I hope that’s what I delivered in Secret Agent Seduction.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that I enjoy incorporating paranormal elements into a story. I really liked having a heroine who could read minds. At the same time, I think Lia’s inability to read Armand’s mind added a compelling dynamic to their relationship. I look forward to tackling more paranormal storylines in future books.
What is the hardest part about the writing business?
The waiting game! Waiting to receive an editor’s response on a proposal I’ve submitted. Waiting for the publication of a book I’ve slaved over for months. Waiting to receive a royalty check. Waiting, waiting, waiting…
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It takes time, talent, perseverance, and yes, sometimes luck, to become a commercially successful author. I wish people didn’t have such glamorized notions about the writing business. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me about receiving six-figure advances, reaching the New York Times bestseller list, and appearing on Oprah. In other words, they want to know why these things haven’t happened for me yet. The reality is that there are many talented writers out there who may never land a publishing contract, or who may never “make it big.” It takes hard work, determination, and a true love for writing to persevere through all the ups and downs of the business.
Our theme this month is Online Marketing. What online marketing have you found that particularly works well for you?
When my first book was published in 2002, I did a lot of online marketing. I advertised on literary Web sites, had my books listed on as many sites as possible, did interviews, participated in chats, and sent copies of my books to online book reviewers. Quite honestly, I don’t do as much online marketing today as I used to (and probably should). For me, the most important thing is having an updated Web site and/or MySpace page that lets readers know about upcoming releases, book signings, contests, etc. Another thing I’ve found very rewarding is having a Yahoo Group, which enables me to interact with my readers and get to know them better, and vice versa.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I’d known that success doesn’t come overnight; comparing myself to other writers (i.e., bestselling authors) is counterproductive; and not everyone has my best interests at heart.
Was there ever a time in your writing career you thought of quitting?
Absolutely! Writing is such an unpredictable business. Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t. When setbacks occur—and they have—I’ve often questioned my decision to pursue a writing career. I’ve even questioned my talent. I think every writer becomes discouraged at some point in their careers. But whenever I feel like quitting, I just ask myself what I would do if I didn’t write. Could I really stop writing if I tried? The answer is a resounding no. I’ve always loved writing, and I always will. As long as I remember that, I can persevere through anything.
Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?
Believe in yourself, first and foremost. If you’re doing everything you can to hone your craft as a writer and you honestly believe that you have a gift to share with the world, don’t let anything stand in your way of becoming a writer. And stop making excuses for why you haven’t completed that manuscript you’ve been tinkering with for years! You owe it to yourself to finish the book and submit it to publishers. You never know what doors God may open!
Five questions about books:
One book you’ve read more than once.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The original romance novel.
One book you couldn’t put down until you finished.
The Good House by Tananarive Due. It was hauntingly scary and featured an unforgettable plot, setting, and cast of characters. Tananarive Due is by far one of my favorite authors.
One book that made you laugh.
In the Company of My Sistahs by Angie Daniels. Renee’s crazy antics had me rolling on the floor!
One book that made you cry.
Alex: The Life of a Child by famed sportswriter Frank Deford. A heartrending story of his young daughter’s tragic battle with cystic fibrosis. I will never forget that book. I get choked up just thinking about it.
One book you wish you’d written.
The Stand by Stephen King. But then again, only Stephen King could have written that stunningly apocalyptic book.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
I love to hear from readers! You can reach me via:
Web site: http://www.maureen-smith.com/
Yahoo Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/maureensmith/join
- I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.
I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.
I’m available for:
Online promotion coaching
Contact me at:firstname.lastname@example.org