First Sale Stories: Shirley Martin, "One More Tomorrow"
Lynda: What's the name of your first book?
Shirley: My first paranormal book is my vampire romance, "One More Tomorrow"
Lynda: When was it published?
Shirley: Around 2001.
Lynda: Which publishing house?
Shirley: New Concepts Publishing
Lynda: What's it about?
Shirley: It's about a vampire who was transformed against his will, and his search to regain mortality. It also concerns reincarnation, since he had a lover from centuries ago, and he meets her again in the present. It is a beautiful love story between these two people, Galan and Stephanie (Stevie).
Lynda: What was the inspiration for the book?
Shirley: I had been reading several vampire romances, and I wondered what it would be like for a vampire to be transformed against his will, and how he would regain his mortality.
Lynda: What do you like most about your main characters?
Shirley: Their spunk and determination against the odds, and their love for each other.
Lynda: How long have you been writing fiction?
Shirley: A little over fifteen years.
Lynda: Is this your first paranormal manuscript?
Lynda: Is paranormal your main focus?
Shirley: I enjoy writing both paranormal and fantasy romances. Lately, I've been writing fantasy.
Lynda: What attracts you about the paranormal characters you write about?
Shirley: The idea that they can operate outside the bounds of normality, e.g., that they have paranormal traits that enable them to do things that most people can't do.
Lynda: How long did it take you to sell your book, from the time you finished your manuscript?
Shirley: A little over two years.
Lynda: Do you recommend that a pre-published writer focus on finding an agent first, or do you think it's OK to submit directly to the publisher?
Shirley: If a writer can find an agent within a few months of submitting, then an agent is a good thing to have. Otherwise, there are many publishing houses, especially epublishing, that will consider your manuscript without an agent.
Lynda: Thinking about the notion of "It's always darkest before the dawn," what was the lowest point in the process for you? Was there a time you almost gave up?
Shirley: Getting rejections again and again is never easy, but each rejection spurred me on to try harder. I never gave up, because I knew I could write, and that I had many good stories inside me.
Lynda: What was the process of revisions/rewrites like?
Shirley: A lot of work, but if a writer wants to get published, she/he must be willing to make changes. I know of several writers who refused to make changes, and they are still unpublished.
Lynda: What was it like, working with the editor at your publishing house?
Shirley: She made suggestions, which I followed.
Lynda: Do you have any words of wisdom for us regarding rewrites/revisions?
Shirley: It's a lot of work, but it's worth it to make your manuscript marketable. In my historical romance, "Forbidden Love," I had to change one-third of the book to make it marketable, because in the original copy, the heroine was an adulteress.
Lynda: Do you get a lot of help marketing your book, or do you have to do it yourself?
Shirley: Most of it I have done myself.
Lynda: What's your best marketing advice?
Shirley: Market in as many ways as possible, e.g., at romance sites, and with bookmarks, contests. Having a website is a necessity. Also, often send out goody bags with bookmarks and flyers.
Lynda: Did you have input about your cover?
Shirley: Yes, with every contract, authors at New Concepts are sent an art questionnaire, very detailed.
Lynda: Have you done any book signings? If so, what were they like?
Shirley: I did a couple booksignings at a local Waldenbooks and sold quite a few copies. It was fun talking to the customers.
Lynda: What are your writing plans for the future?
Shirley: Write, write, write. I have lots of ideas.
Lynda: What advice would you give to all the pre-published writers out there?
Shirley: Work hard and never give up. Be willing to take advice. I have general advice for writers at my website, www.shirleymartin.net.
Lynda: How can readers find out more about you?
Shirley: Check out my website (above). Go to your local bookstore and check on my print books, "One More Tomorrow" (vampire romance), and "Dream Weaver," time travel romance.