Glad to speak with you today Nina Lewis!
How long have you been writing romance novels?
I have been writing stories, on and off, since I was nine or ten. Mostly in imitation of the stories I was reading, so I started with versions of The Famous Five and Malory Towers, imagining myself and my school friends in exciting adventures. Then I started reading my Mum’s romance novels (secretly, obv.), and my own writing became a little more, um, adult.
What inspires you to write romance novels? Is that the only genre you write?
Romance (writing it and reading it) is like a holiday from reality, and I find I need a lot of holidays! We are taught to feel guilty for not functioning efficiently 24/7, in our families, in our jobs; but that is actually unnatural, and also unhealthy. People need down-time, and people need to tell stories about their lives that allow them to go back and face reality again.
Although The Englishman is contemporary fiction, I feel most at home in historical fiction and historical romance, and that is what I will be writing in future.
How many words per day do you like to write? Is that a daily goal or weekly goal?
I am extremely undisciplined, so I have no daily or weekly stints. But I am fairly obsessive, so when I am in a ‘flow’, I write a great deal in a short time. Other times, I merely polish or edit; and that can be both rewarding and frustrating.
What is the name of your first book? How long ago was it printed? Where did you market it and did you have a good sale number?
I have published non-fiction, but The Englishman is my first published fictional text. It will be published by Omnific Publishing in May 2013 as an ebook and a paperback – and here’s to hoping it will sell well!
I understand you have a book series. How many books are in the series (or will be in the series when completed)? How did you come to write a series?
I do not plan to write a series, although I’ve lately thought that I may want to. But because I am interested in a number of different historical periods, the novels that I hope to write next will variously be set in the French Revolution, late fourteenth-century Oxford, and twelfth-century France and England.
How do you feel about online book reading? Do you have a book that you’ve written for a digital shelf like ibooks or kindle?
I do not own a Kindle yet, and I am reluctant to get one, because I stare so much at a screen anyway. But I expect I will get one within the next twelve months, or so. It’s the future.
Do you think it’s worth to ask buyers to purchase a digital novel for the same amount of $ as a print novel?
Authors and readers are likely to have differing opinions on this. You’d think that an ebook costs less to produce, so it should be cheaper. But authors must live, too, and what price would you put on creativity? In the end, supply and demand regulate the market.
How do you think the change in the publishing industry affects authors today?
Self-publishing and indie publishing put established publishers under pressure, and that is a good thing. At the same time, there is a glut of ebooks, and while some are outstandingly good, there is a lot of stuff that’s not so great. Dividing the wheat from the chaff can be time-consuming and frustrating. I dip into so many novels to decide which one I want to buy, that at the end of a couple of hours’ surfing and reading, I am frustrated and bored and end up buying nothing.
It obviously makes a huge difference that you can pick up a paperback and browse through it, while you can typically read the only first few pages of an ebook. The shape of stories changes if you know you must hit the readers between the eyes on page two, or they won’t buy it.
If you could give a budding author advice what would it be?
Keep at it. Learn to stand back and look at your writing as if you were an editor.
Can you recommend our readers a publisher that you like to work with?
I have worked only with Omnific, and I have found them helpful and professional.
If you could be a famous author, who would it be and why?
The ideal situation, I think, would be one in which I could be proud of my novels because I feel that each of them is the best I was able to write at that time, and at the same time one in which I am able to make enough money to live by writing. I envy all writers for whom this is the case! If you want names – in the romance genre, I admire Georgette Heyer, because she is a restrained writer, both in language and in emotion. And she writes brilliantly witty dialogues.
Tell us where we can find your book(s) and provide a link!
The Englishman will be published by Omnific Publishing on May 7, 2013. The cover, blurb and an extract were revealed on subclubbooks.
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Happy to speak with you Nina - Thank you for sharing your journey as an author, as well as The Englishman, your first novel!