What is your book about?
To date, I have published two books (SECOND CHANCES and WHEN WE MEET AGAIN) via CreateSpace.com and have two almost-completed books in the works (THE ART OF LOVE and HIDDEN). The first three titles are part of a planned four-part series about four childhood friends which follows their roads in life and love; the fourth title is my first foray into the young adult genre.
Cultivating relationships is what life is all about because people are the ones who remember you and carry on your memory long after you are gone. For this reason, I choose to write about the ins and outs of relationships and the love that binds people together, whether it is platonic or romantic.
Where did you come up with the idea for your book? Did you start with a character or with a story?
My first book (SECOND CHANCES) came from a silly exercise I perform most nights to help me fall asleep in which I come up with two characters and a simple story about them – often romantic! I am usually asleep before the story gets very far, but one night I created a story that so intrigued me that when I awoke the next morning, I just had to write about it. That was how SECOND CHANCES was born. As I wrote, the other characters for the series began clamoring to have their story told as well, and so that is how the other books in the series are coming to be!
Why self-publish? Why not a regular publisher or an e-publisher?
I enjoy the freedom of self-publishing. I’m in charge and have only myself to report to or blame if something doesn’t go quite right. I wanted to see my book in print; to hold a copy of this labor of love, and so self-publishing seemed the way to go. I have queried a couple of romance publishing houses and am hopeful to be published in the traditional sense someday, but for now, self-publishing allows me to get my work out there for myself and others.
Absolutely! My books can be purchased on Amazon.com as both a real book, as well as in Kindle format. My goal is to also make them available in bookstores in the near future.
Would you recommend self-publishing to other writers?
Yes, a million times, YES! There are so many people out there that I have spoken to throughout this process that are aspiring writers and want to be published. What better way to realize that dream than to do it yourself?! You’d be amazed at how many resources are available to make it happen. I have established many contacts and made new friends in the writing and publishing world as a result of self-publishing.
What have you learned from the whole process? What advice do you have for new writers?
The road to publishing is full of many twists, turns, and dead ends. First and foremost, discover who you are as an author. Write, write, write, and when you are tired of it, write some more. Make time for writing as you would anything else in your life. Schedule it in somewhere among working, running errands, and eating. I write best at night when the kids are in bed and my husband is watching television. I grab the laptop and sit down for a while, even if it’s just an hour, and I write. I make lists, jot down ideas, reread something I’ve written and make additions/corrections; anything that gets me involved in the process is fine. For me, it is therapeutic, allowing me to shed my worries and every day stressors by escaping into a world of my own creation. Finally, read and research as much as you can, for pleasure but also about the world of writing and publishing. The more you know the better writer you can be.
Who are some of your favorite writers?
This is a tough one, but I think it’s safe to say that as a romance writer, some of my favorite authors are those who write in the same genre and a similar style as my own; ones who really delve into relationships and love in a thoughtful and realistic yet romantic way. Nora Roberts is one such author. Some others are Jude Deveraux, Catherine Anderson, and Kristin Hannah. When I want a great period piece, I turn to Johanna Lindsey, Julia Quinn, or Jane Feather. Classically, I love the Austens and the Brontёs. I am also really into chick-lit, reading authors like Jane Green, Sophie Kinsella, and Marian Keyes. And finally, I enjoy young adult novels, which help me when writing that genre and to just relate to my students. Lauren Kate, Stephanie Meyer, and L.J. Smith are my top three favorite young adult authors.
What books are on your to-be-read pile?
I’m a little behind in my reading for pleasure since I have a full-time job, three kids, and my spare time is usually spent writing, editing, or cake decorating. I read before I go to bed, but by then I’m so exhausted that unless the book is so gripping that I can’t put it down, I’m usually asleep in fifteen minutes or less! Nonetheless, here are a few titles that I have good intentions of getting to in the near future.
THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger
THE TENTH CIRCLE by Jodi Picoult
THE ELEGANCE OF THE HEDGEHOG by Muriel Barbery
PROMISES TO KEEP by Jane Green
A DESIRABLE RESIDENCE by Madeleine Wickham
THE BRIDE QUARTET SERIES by Nora Roberts
TORMENT by Lauren Kate
THE SEARCH by Nora Roberts
Tell us more about yourself. Work? Family? Pets?
I was born and raised in Passaic, a bustling city in northern New Jersey. My family is from Puerto Rico and, as such, I was raised bilingual. My pride in my language and culture is what prompted me to become a Spanish teacher, which is just one of the many hats I wear.
When I’m not teaching, I am also a mother to three beautiful children - Mandara, Maddie, and Aidan; a wife to Tim; a cake decorator with a small, home-based business; and, of course, a writer. In addition to a husband and three children, my immediate family also consists of a talkative calico cat named Jade and an adorable hamster named Fluffy. We all live in Cranford, New Jersey in small colonial house that is getting more and more crowded by the day!♥