Monday, August 8, 2011

An Interview with Meg Mims

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing award winning author Meg Mims, writer of both historical mysteries and romantic suspense. Her newest novel, Double Crossing will be released on Tuesday, August 9. Please find links at the end of the interview for Meg and her writing.

1. When did you first realize your love for writing?
Probably when I was a teen, and realized how amazing books could let you escape into a fresh new world. I also realized some plots were better than others, and experimented with changing things up (on paper, of course—fan fiction before the internet?) My older sister advised me to create my own characters and stories. Good advice, but I stopped writing and dove into books like Tolkien, Michener, Pearl S. Buck, Taylor Caldwell, whatever I could find in the library. That gave me a perspective of how to create a “world” close to reality. I didn’t resume my experiments with fiction writing again until after my daughter was born. It’s okay if life gets in the way. Fallow periods are never a waste.

2. Which books gave you the inspiration to write your own works early on?
Definitely J.R.R.Tolkien. The moment I read “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” I was hooked and knew I wanted to write. Seriously write.

3. Can you describe your first experience getting published?
Oddly enough, I sent out twelve different things for the children’s market—puzzles, stories and poems. One caught the editor’s eye at Children’s Better Health Institute, so he published it in Jack & Jill magazine. I was shocked to see the acceptance letter after so many other rejections. But receiving a small check and contributor copies was wonderful! I had over a dozen other puzzles, poems and illustrations, either monetary or copies only payment, published in the children’s market until 9/11 closed submissions down. And life got in the way again.

4. What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of writing?
I’m a watercolor artist, which is relaxing and wonderful—but I’m not an everyday painter like my mother was. I chose writing as a career, knowing it was not a hobby. I love flower gardening, although my perennials are mad at me for neglecting them lately. Crafts are fun, but I haven’t had much time for that either. I’ve done pretty much anything—show me a picture and I can figure out how to make it. I had several friends help me make “book earrings” as giveaways!


5. What are your thoughts on traditional publishing versus self-publishing through ebooks?

A year ago, I was totally against e-books, self-publishing, etc. But times change, and I had waited long enough for the “big six” publishers—and been rejected. Even after earning my M.A. degree in Writing Popular Fiction, and knowing my manuscripts were marketable, I was shocked to get an offer from Astraea Press less than a week after submission. AP is small, but I believe it has tremendous potential in the “clean fiction” market—no erotica, no swearing, no graphic violence, but not in the “preach to the choir” market either. So Double Crossing, being a blend of historical western romantic suspense, with more suspense than romance and yet with inspirational elements, found a home. I know that several friends have had great success with self-publishing. Technology is a tool. I say use it to your advantage!

6. What methods of self-publicizing have you used (ie. social networking, blogs, etc.)?
Promotion is key. I am a member of Savvy Authors, who offer several marketing and promotion workshops—where I learned about an author platform and social networking. It takes time, effort and money when you’re a small fish in a huge school of other ocean fish. But there are ways and means to stand out. I’m on Twitter, I maintain a blog and a book website, several pages on Facebook, learned how to do my own book trailers, and joined Coffee Time Romance, Romance Junkies and the Independent Author Network. Authors helping other authors promote is a win-win. I’ve also contracted with Goddess Fish Promotions to host my book launch on their party pavilion. The more exposure, the better!

7. What advice can you give to aspiring authors in your genre?
Perseverance is the key. The best advice I ever heard was “You’ll never publish if you quit.” Take stock of your writing, be completely honest with yourself—I had to do that before applying to Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. I knew I was close to getting my foot in the door, but could not put my finger on why my manuscripts kept getting rejected. In one term, I discovered my writing lacked the right balance of character emotion—and I worked hard during the rest of the terms to “straighten the ship.” Another key—the writing life “ain’t for sissies” (with a nod to Bette Davis). Stop whining. Stay positive. Write something completely fresh and new. Learn your strengths and weaknesses by whatever means possible (critiques, contests, rejections.) And never give up.

Double Crossing
Web site
YouTube Trailer

Meg Mims
Twitter: @megmims