In today’s guest post, I have the immense pleasure of welcoming author Toya Richardson to the blog. Toya, best-known for her romance books THE ATLANTEAN BIRTHRIGHT and FLAME, discusses the development of her works over a period of time, and how it is always beneficial to keep prospective projects on the back burner as they can prove invaluable when one least expects it. I am sure you will find Toya’s experience very interesting and extremely helpful, so, over to you Toya!
First of all I’d like to thank Marcia very much for inviting me to appear on her blog. It means a lot to me 😀
I decided to chat about my favourite subject, writing. I’ve always had a vivid imagination and written stories since the tender age of eight. My mum was my biggest supporter and really wanted to see me published. However, that never happened. She died in 2009, leaving a huge void in my life. I honestly believe that her death was the catalyst for me writing in a near-frenzy ever since she left me. It helped with my grief and depression that I had after losing not just my parent, but my best friend and confidant.
In 2010, I’d finally finished writing a romance/thriller called Flame – I had been writing it since 2000. I tried to submit to agencies and publishers with no luck. I’d spent an awful lot of money on critiques for it and in the end I felt it was no longer my “voice” in the story. So I stuck it in the back of a cupboard and forgot about it.
After that I wrote a fantasy novel, which was picked up by an agent although no publisher was interested. With my agent’s help, I self-published at great personal expense – something I will never do again, I’d advise authors to go via Amazon instead and wished I had.
Shortly after that I started to write romance stories with a kind of magical twist. It wasn’t something that my agent represented and so we amicably parted company. But not before he’d kindly asked one of his readers to look at it for me. This is where I learned that what I had written was paranormal romance, something I’d never heard of before. I am now an avid reader of that genre and love it! It has every element that I love in a story, romance, sexy scenes and the eternal fight of good against evil.
I had three offers all at once for my Eternal Love of the Seekers series and finally decided upon the US based, Red Sage Publishing. The first book, The Atlantean Birthright, was released October 2014. Book two, Rise of the Chameleons is due out in October 2015, with the other five being released in the following months. I do have book eight written, but it needs more work done to it.
After my success in signing for a publisher, I pulled Flame out of the back of the cupboard. I wanted to re-write it so it had my “voice” again. I did so and in February this year, it was released by Little Bird Publishing House.
Each one of my books will be dedicated to my mum because without her, I am not certain I would have written as many as I now have. At the last count, I have seventeen books written in contemporary, paranormal and fantasy romance, but I haven’t submitted all of them – yet.
I have a few words of advice, which may be of help to budding authors out there. The first, and most important, was given to me by a fellow author at a workshop a few years back and I quote, “Write because you love to write. If you’re doing it purely for the money you might as well stop now.” That is so true.
Remember to edit as much as you possibly can, read submission guidelines carefully and follow them to the letter or your work won’t be looked at, get a beta reader that you can trust – I’m still searching for one if anyone is interested – if speech doesn’t sound right, then read it out loud it really does help, if you’re offered a contract check it thoroughly. And if you have an idea while you’re out, and don’t have your trusty notepad and pen with you, text yourself the idea on your mobile phone.
I realise that I am fortunate to have two publishers, but I still work, run a home etc. – like most wonderful authors out there do. I doubt I’ll ever make a living out of it but it’s my passion, which I love very much and makes me feel happy. And if a few readers enjoy my books, then my work is done.