Welcome back to an old feature of mine, Tell Me More About . . . I’m so excited to resurrect it this week with super-succesful, Inspy Romance author-extraordinaire Elizabeth Maddrey.
Tell Me More About . . . is a feature which focuses on every day people from a variety of walks of life who impact the world around them in big or small ways.
So, let’s get to it! Welcome, Elizabeth to the blog!
Tell us a little bit about yourself such as background, where you’re from originally and now (general region is totally fine), your family, hobbies, etc.
I grew up in northern New Mexico. We moved to the DC area when I was eleven—just before sixth grade. After college and grad school and a few years with hubby in the Army, we landed back in the DC area, so at this point I feel like I have to call it home. I have a PhD in computer science and my professional life, before I became a mom, was all centered on software engineering in one form or another. That’s probably why my book heroes trend geeky – they’re my peeps and I love them. Hubby and I have been married coming up on 26 years, we have two boys (13 and 9). Hobbies include reading, crochet, and continued attempts to learn to love knitting despite the fact that it stresses me out.
When did the writing bug first bite you?
This is hard to answer! I don’t remember not writing. I’ve always loved to read and it always seemed a natural extension to write. I started getting serious about seeking publication probably eighteen years ago, but it took me another nine(?) before I had something finished that I thought was actually good enough.
What made you pursue becoming an independent author?
Honestly? I spent two years querying agents in search of that dream contract. I got fed up with the “no” that kept coming—or, more often than not, the silence (and I still get frustrated that it’s considered acceptable for agents and publishers to not even bother with a form letter to say no thank you. There are very few other places where that’s considered de rigueur. Although I say that and a lot of the big software companies are that way with resume submission. So you’d think I’d be used to it. Anyway, I did get a contract with a small press and started that way, but the owner encouraged me to go Indie because she knew I had the technical chops to handle it (and you don’t need a ton, but this was back before there were quite so many amazing tools for indies) and that it would be more beneficial for me. So I did.
What advice do you have inspiring authors, indie or otherwise?
Believe in your stories and don’t read your reviews.
What has influenced you in your writing style in your past or present?
I read. A lot. More than 200 books a year across a broad variety of genres. I know there are successful authors out there who say they aren’t readers, but I firmly believe those are the minority. Most authors are also readers.
What author comes to mind when you think of authors who have influenced you over the years?
So many. Anne McCaffrey, who was the mother of so many of my best friends in middle and high school. Elizabeth Moon for the same reasons. L.M. Montgomery. Jane Austen. Madeline L’Engle. Susanna Kearsley. Nora Roberts.
What future projects do you have planned that you would like my readers to know about?
This summer, I have a six-book sorta-billionaire romance series that’s coming out, one book each month through October. And I feel the eye rolls, I do, but I love these stories. I’m so, SO pleased with how they turned out and I hope that readers give them a try and love them as much as I do. The series is called So You Want to be a Billionaire.
How many books have you penned since starting your career?
I have 36 out right now, but if you count all the Billionaires which are written but not released yet, it’s an even 40.
How would you define your writing style? Pantser? Plotter? Share with my readers a little about your writing process, if you don’t mind.
I’m definitely a pantser. Part of what took me so long to finish a book I thought was worthy of trying to have published was that I spent a ton of time doing it the way you’re “supposed to.” I read so many craft books. I made outlines, timelines, character interviews. I cut out magazine photos of people who could be the characters (the Internet was still a baby and I didn’t always want to use the dial up). I found outfits in clothing catalogs. And I hated all of it. I had all this information for the story and by the time I was done doing “what you had to do,” I was over the story. I didn’t want to write any of it. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to just sit down and let the story come as it did that I was able to write and finish and love the process. So now that’s what I do. I generally have a vague idea of what the story is, but other than that, it’s a blank page and a timer and writing sprints.
Where can readers connect with you online and otherwise?
For non-interactive information, my website: http://www.ElizabethMaddrey.com
For more interaction (which I love!) there’s Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/ElizabethMaddrey
And Instagram http://www.Instagram.com/ElizabethMaddrey
And if you sign up for my monthly-ish newsletter on my website, there are two free books as thank yous, so I know I always like that as a reader.