DYANNE: Hello, Angeline. Tell us a little bit about how you got started and about you.
Angeline: Since I was a child, I’ve always loved being transported by a good book. There are no commercial interruptions or some director telling you how each character should look or sound. So it was a natural progression to want to write my own stories.
I work in academic and I’m the parent to two wonderful daughters — one is in college and the other is a high school senior and I struggled to find the right balance for my writing, my day job and being a mom. I’m lucky my girls enjoy the idea of their mother busy writing away as they study for their exams and write their papers. It’s like I’m still in the trenches with them. Working hard, getting frustrated, having breakthroughs just like them. The cutest thing is when they text or tweet me when something happens in pop culture so I can stay in tuned to their world.
Daughter: Mom, Will and Jada broke up!
Daughter: Sorry false alarm, their son just tweeted it’s a false rumor.”
Me: Oh, okay.
I love technology; I just hope both of them don’t ask me to buy them the latest Kindle because my novel is out. I’m offering the new Kindle Fire in my contest but my family members can’t win it.
DYANNE: What a fantastic prize. Since we’re going to be talking about your debut book why don’t you tell us about how it all happened, the call, what you did on receiving the call and the process and what surprised you the most.
Angeline: North Star is the first book in the Sheridan series and it mainly follows the love relationship of Graham Sheridan and Caresse Aldana. It was a wonderful to write because it reminds readers that romance can happen anywhere and to anyone. The story received good feedback in RWA-sponsored contests and even piqued the interest of some upcoming film producers so I knew if I could just get North Star in the hands of a good publisher everything else would fall into place.
The day I found out that a publishing company wanted North Star, I was reviewing my emails at 7AM at the university when I saw a message from Deborah Gilbert of Soul Mate Publishing. She explained about how I should look into a certain marketing firm and I remember feeling a bit puzzled because I sent her my novel for publishing consideration, not marketing tips. Then at the end of the email, she stated, ‘And let me know if you have any questions about the contract.’
Right then, my eyes bugged out of my head, as my mind raced for answers. Contract! What contract?
When I looked a few emails down and saw her first email stating her desire to publish North Star. I think I read it three times before I ran around my office and giggled like a little schoolgirl. It was exciting…very exciting. My family and friends were elated.
Later that night, I continued to work on the second novel in the series, South Beach. It picks up with Graham’s little sister Laila in sunny Miami, Florida
What surprised me the most about the whole process? Well, I’d have to say how quickly the other Soul Mate Publishing (SMP) authors bonded with each other. I was one of the first to be recruited as a member of the author blog and I must say the ladies are so encouraging and thoughtful. I hope the good feeling continue because there are some real breakout authors in this group.
Dyanne: That is a fantastic story. I love it. It almost brought tears to my eyes so I know it had to have brought a few to yours. So Angeline, tell me what had you nearly in tears?
Angeline: Only two things: reading my acknowledgement page and submitting my final draft after my editor’s revisions. There’s nothing like seeing your words in print. It’s even better than attending your graduation day or getting a raise. All of your hard work has paid off and you can feel the sheer joy of it. They were happy tears. Very, very happy ones. It was a wonderful moment.
Dyanne: My God, does that bring back memories. How did you feel when you first held your book in your hand, your first book signing?
Angeline: The first time I saw my North Star it was in eBook form. I downloaded it to a Kindle and just marveled at it. I think I sat right on the floor of my office transfixed at how nice my novel looked. You would think I was observing a rare gemstone the way I grinned from ear to ear.
Since the book signing of ebooks is quite new, I’ve enjoyed using Kindlegraph, a personal ebook-signing marketing tool to sign readers’ kindle editions. (You can view a video on http://kindlegraph.com/ to see how authors use this application with their Twitter accounts.) The process is quite fun and the readers really enjoy the personalized touch.
Dyanne: I just signed up for Kindlegraph less than a month ago and was pleasantly surprised to find I had signature requests waiting. What a rush. I’m so glad technology has kept up with the publishing industry to that extent. Sorry to keep gong on, Angeline. Tell us a little about North Star.
Angeline: Caresse Aldana is chosen to persuade Psyche’s dangerously handsome editor-in-chief, Graham Sheridan, to feature an article on the Mason Community Center. She tells herself it’s just business.
She thought her heart wasn’t in jeopardy, but she clearly underestimated Graham’s charm, and his determination to win her heart. As their passion intensifies, disturbing mishaps at the Center place Caresse’s life in danger.
The highly anticipated Mason Ball fundraiser is in peril. Can Graham decipher the evidence, finger the culprits, and save Caresse before it’s too late?
North Star takes inspirational themes of family bonds and community involvement and gives readers a passionate romance.
Dyanne: The blurb you just gave has me adding North Star to my “To Buy” pile. How long did it take you to write your first draft of North Star? How long to have it submission ready? How long before you made the sale? LOL. Yeah, I know I asked you several questions at once, but hey, you’re a writer, you can handle that. J
Angeline: The first draft took two months but it wasn’t ready for submission until a month later. I queried agents and publishers for about a year before it was picked up.
Dyanne. A career in writing definitely isn’t for the faint of heart. LOL. It takes a lot of work and a lot of balancing to keep everyone happy and still manage to create. What is the strangest thing that has happened to you since you began writing?
Angeline: I’ve learned to plot my books the way writers plot out screenplays. I see the whole story in my mind’s eye and take the time to outline it. Then the characters take on a life of their own and shoot my best laid plan all to hell.
Dyanne: What is the one lesson you’ve learned in this business that you’re grateful for?
Angeline: Every writer needs to become a part of a writer’s organization that believes in education and support. The Romance Writers of America (RWA) has been a resource I just couldn’t live without.
Dyanne: I second that. What is the one secret that you have that you hope is never made public?
Angeline: Now you know if I told you that, it would become public. I know how popular you are, Dyanne. Don’t try to make me think a secret expressed in this forum would stay between me and you.
Dyanne: You know I had to try. I was thinking you were going to say you’d have to kill me if you told me. That I could have worked into an evil contract. Now how about having a little fun. I have the power to grant you one wish. What is your wish?
Angeline: Well, if you could grant me one wish it would be able to entertain romance readers with the Sheridan series. It’s been so fun to write Book One I would like the opportunity to reveal the Sheridan siblings to them.
Dyanne: Ahh, that’s such a sweet wish. Consider it granted. Tell me Angeline, what’s on your plate for the future?
Angeline: Continuing to work at the university, completing the Sheridan series for Soul Mate Publishing, raising my daughters, do a little traveling, enjoy my life, and the people in it.
Dyanne: Promo is the one thing I don’t do often enough. What promotional things are you doing?
Angeline: I have a GREAT Kindle Fire contest to promote North Star so I hope a true fan wins it. I’m also blogging, facebooking and tweeting like every other author. The fans can reach me if they want to discuss the characters.
Dyanne: I hope a true fan wins your contest also. It’s taken me years to decide to buy a Kindle. This year my husband will be giving me one for Christmas. I’ve already pre-ordered it. J So giving away the Kindle Fire should definitely be won by a fan. I know you’ve already started on your next book, so can you tell us a little about that one?
Angeline: My next book, South Beach, is Laila’s story. I’ll be sending her on a much-needed vacation in sunny Florida, where she’ll cause a media whirlwind with her old college friends, Dr. Sofìa Vega-Barea and Ms. Marina Carter. Fans will get to hear from Malcolm, Graham and Gray again.
Dyanne: I haven’t read North Star yet, but I’m sure when I’m done I’ll be just as anxious to read South Beach. Who are your biggest supporters?
Angeline: My family, friends and colleagues. I guess it takes a village to grow an author. I’m hoping my fans will soon lead the wave of support so I can get feedback on the minor characters in North Star they want me to write about in the future.
Dyanne: Did you enter any writing contest?
Angeline: College writing contests when I was younger and Romance Writers of America (RWA) sponsored contests because the feedback is priceless.
Dyanne: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Angeline: Yes, don’t waste days, months, and years talking about the story you want to write. Just make it happen. Don’t talk the talk, walk the walk.
Dyanne: That’s great advice. I can’t wait to meet you in Arkansas next year for Romance Slam Jam. Angeline, where can readers find you?
Dyanne: Angeline, thank you so much and let me know how your contest goes. Congratulations on your book and here’s wishing you continued success.
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