Today I'm super excited to welcome author Marilyn Baxter to my blog. Her new book Better as a Memory releases today and is currently on my kindle waiting for me at home. I absolutely love the cover for this book! Better as a Memory is available today from your favorite digital book retailer.
Congrats on your newest release, Better as a Memory! I can't wait to see you at RWA in July and hopefully at the Heart of Dixie luncheon in June.
This is the book that was part of the readers voting contest. How exactly did that work?
The “What’s in a Name” novella contest was a little like American Idol. But I only had to write one novella, not sing a different song each week! The contest was comprised of three rounds of voting with each round presenting a little more of the story. Round One began with the title (based on a song title) and a two-paragraph synopsis. Then everyone voted. Round Two had the top 25% in each sub-genre move forward and the first 300 words of each novella was added to the title and synopsis. Round 3 had the top 3 vote-getting entries from each sub-genre compete with the first 1000 words of their novellas posted along with the title and synopsis. When the dust settled after Round 3, I was one of four finalists.
The Boroughs editors chose the overall winner, but all four finalists got a contract for their novellas. I wasn’t the overall winner, but I did have the highest number of votes thanks to oodles of friends who voted and promoted the contest for me. As a result of my top votes, I was invited to submit a full-length manuscript to Boroughs as well as have the novella published.
Now that you are a published author, do you still enter your books in contest?
I haven’t entered anything recently, but I’m always open to that option.
What are you currently working on now?
I’m letting a few ideas percolate right now. One is an unfinished NaNoWriMo project. It’s a spin-off from the full manuscript I mentioned before and features a heroine who’s an attorney in Atlanta and a hero who is an international photographer. She’s very career-driven and he comes from a large Italian family with a mother who keeps bugging him about settling down and starting a family. The book opens with him returning to Atlanta after months of being out of country and out of touch, and he learns his attorney friend with benefits has a little surprise due soon – HIS surprise. She ends up on forced bed rest and when her caregiver turns out to be more about taking than giving, he offers to step in and look after the mom-to-be.
I also have a few ideas floating around for stories set in Ireland. I visited that beautiful country last fall and feel the need to set something there so I can visit again vicariously.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I almost hate to list them because I’ll surely leave one off. But I’m absolutely mad for Roxanne St. Claire. Her romantic suspense novels kept me up all night reading to see whodunit, and her contemporary romances have me sighing a happy sigh at the end because they dig so deeply into the characters’ emotions but always have a happy ending. Linda Howard was one of the first romance writers I read and Mister Perfect is on my list of all-time favorite books. Another one of the first romance authors I read is Linda Winstead Jones. She lives in the same town as me, and many of her category romances are set right here in Huntsville, Alabama. That has made them come alive, not to mention she’s a terrific writer. I’m also a huge fan of Kristi Gold who writes for Harlequin Desire. She can pack so much romance into 55,000 words! And she has the most swoon-worthy sheikh heroes. She writes a mean cowboy hero too! And last, but certainly not least, are my Writing Playground pals Kimberly Lang, Andrea Laurence, Kira Sinclair and Dani Wade. They write in a variety of romance sub-genres and have won multiple awards. We’ve taken the journey to publication together, through thick and thin, and I don’t know what I’d have done without them.
I will be at the Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon on June 14 in Huntsville, Alabama. There’s more info here: http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=1223. This luncheon is such a fun event with authors from multiple genres, raffle baskets and a benefit book signing afterward. This year we’re donating our proceeds to the Cullman, Alabama library. They are still trying to recover from the massive tornado that struck the town on April 27, 2011. This is the first year I’ll be attending as an author and I’ve had SUCH fun putting together goody bags for the folks who sit at my table as well as an author basket for one lucky attendee to win. If you’re near the area, come join the fun!
I will also be attending the Romance Writers of America annual conference in San Antonio, Texas. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be signing at the literacy signing, but I’ll definitely be there to support my fellow writers and help the cause of literacy. If you’re at RWA and recognize me via my nametag, please say hi!