I would like to welcome my guest today, Lindsay Downs to talk about his writing.
Why do you write?
I’ve been an avid readers ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.
So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. At first my attempts were feeble with very little plot and the dialogue was horrible. Much to my relief none of my early works still exist except for their memories.
Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers. Unfortunately, that’s when I learned if I was to succeed in school I had to write in a style which didn’t suit me. Acquiescing to their wishes I still kept thinking there had to be a better way to tell a story.
This came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.
With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.
Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres.
My favorite was regency. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I would never attempt. To slake my hunger for writing I took the easy way out and developed contemporary storylines. Now that worked as I based my characters around the military while keeping them sweet. Part of this was because of the publisher who only accepted that style and partly because love scenes tended to take me out of the main storyline.
Then it happened on one fateful day in early 2012. One of my publisher asked for volunteers to write a Christmas regencies. Even though I said I’d never try this genre, I took up the challenge and wrote A Christmas Surprise. Needless to say, I was hooked. It was released on November 7, 2012
Since then seven more have been released either through a publisher or self-published with A Bluestocking’s Christmas having been released on November 11, 2014.
And today, November 28, 2014 available for preorder, a three book boxed set, To Catch a Killer, of the Markson Regency Mystery series. Two have been previously released and the third is a new book. Several reviewers have called this series cozy mysteries. The release date is December 8, 2014.
Now that you know how I got to this point in my life as an author. I do it because I love telling stories and taking my readers to a time and place they couldn’t go otherwise. Plus, my characters won’t stop talking to me.
How has writing impacted your life?
I’m an introvert. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Being an author has helped me come out of my shell to a certain extent but not completely. I don’t socialize except on a few social network sites. That’s not to say I don’t talk face-to-face with people but it’s usually on my terms, which they aren’t aware of.
For example-the baristas at my favorite Starbucks know I’m an author and sometimes, while at the drive-thru ask what I’m working on. Of course I’ll answer them then drive off.
Even at the boarding house, where I live, I can control who I interact with. If any of you are familiar with that particular type of living arrangement, I spend 90% of my time hiding away in my room. Occasionally I’ve venture out and talk with someone but always with the excuse, if I get to uncomfortable, I’ve got to get back to writing.
At least I get out to a writers conference once a year. There I will socialize with others. Of course they are all authors so I wonder if that qualifies.
In conclusion, between 10 years ago and now I have improved as far as coming out of my shell. Maybe not as far as some but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made and if it wasn’t for writing I probably never would have.
What advice would you give to beginner writers?
Never give up and treat writing as a job not a hobby. Even if you can only write for 15 minutes a day, that’s a start. Do it at the same time every day and let the family know you’re going to be busy.
If you can take workshops either online or in person to learn the craft do it. Also join a writers group. These can usually be found through your local library or by talking with other authors. Join social networks sites.
Don’t chose the genre you want to write, let it chose you. That’s how, after all these years I’ve found a home with regency mysteries and regency romantic suspense.
One thing you need to remember, not everyone will love or even like your book so develop a tough skin as criticism will be coming your way.
Finally, never give up your dream to be published.
Lady Brittany Sexton loves her newest book on Africa but she quickly learns keeping it in her possession is difficult. For her, the problem lies with Lord Samuel Palmer, who believes ladies should not read inappropriate tomes. Part of Lord Palmer’s fascination is the cryptic messages found in the margins. What quickly develops between Lady Brittany and Lord Palmer is even more confusing.
As Christmas draws nearer and with the book still in her possession, Lord Palmer follows her to her parents country estate. It’s there they, along with some friends, slowly make sense of the notes.
During all of this, Lady Brittany learns a fact about Lord Palmer that disturbs her greatly—why he desired the book. To clear her mind and think about her answer to Lord Palmer’s sudden proposal, she goes for a horseback ride, only for disaster to strike.
Once well, she returns home. Lady Brittany now has to make a life changing decision. Can she… will she marry Lord Palmer ?
What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.
In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.
More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.
After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.
For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.
I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA).
Where you can find me-
Lindsay Downs-Romance Author