With a publishing industry that is ever in flux, it can be hard for an aspiring author to figure out what information is relevant and what she needs to do to be successful. Recognizing this, literary agent Andrea Hurst and writer/blogger Cherise Hensley present a series of weekly interviews with publishing industry specialists. The AUTHORNOMICS Series features literary agents, editors, authors, marketing experts and more talking about their opinions on the publishing industry, writing, and what a writer needs to know.
AUTHORNOMICS Interview with Bella Andre and Melissa Foster
Bella Andre’s New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels have been #1 bestsellers around the world, having hit the bestseller lists 23 times, with more than 4 million copies sold so far. Known for “sensual, empowered stories enveloped in heady romance” (Publishers Weekly), her books have been Cosmopolitan Magazine “Red Hot Reads” twice and have been translated into ten languages. Bella also writes bestselling sweet contemporary romances under the pen name Lucy Kevin. http://www.BellaAndre.com
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes contemporary romance, new adult, contemporary women’s fiction, suspense, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café and Fostering Success. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.
How did your mutual interest in romance writing act as a catalyst to draw you both together?
Bella: I’ve always been a huge romance reader, reading a book-a-day when I can fit them into my busy writing schedule! Both Melissa and I absolutely love the romance genre, so when we decided to write together, we automatically knew we’d write a contemporary romance series about a close-knit family—and that we’d set it in Cape Cod.
What made you decide to write a romance series instead of doing a romance collection with one another?
One of the many things that we have in common is our love for our readers, and our desire to bring them the best stories possible. Giving readers a romance collection is done quite often, and it’s a great way to collaborate, but we wanted to bring our readers something even more exciting—a whole new world.
It’s really fun to create something new with another writer, especially one who is so creative and smart. The brainstorming process for each of the books has been a tremendous amount of fun for us!
What does your collaborative process look like? How did you divide the workload between the two of you? Were there ever times when you strongly disagreed on something and had to compromise?
We’re quite lucky, because we agree on most everything. We’ve both heard horror stories of collaborations going awry, but we spend hours on the phone and email planning our stories, and we find that we feed off of each other’s creativity. Each of our fingers are in every aspect of the planning, writing, and revising.
Your upcoming novel, Cape Cod Kisses is the first book in the Love on Rockwell Island series. How is it different to write a series versus focusing on a stand-alone novel? Is one more difficult than the other?
Any novel takes a lot of planning and research, but the planning of a series is more complicated than that of a stand alone novel, because we’re planning five books, with ten heroes/heroines, and a host of other characters, plots, and subplots. We wouldn’t say either is more difficult, because both are so much fun, but series can be more complex. Fortunately, we both have extensive experience writing long running series, so we have a really good understanding of the process.
How many books do you plan to have in the Love on Rockwell Island series?
We’re planning five books in the Love on Rockwell Island series, but we’re already getting excited about wedding books, and we’re meeting new characters that we can’t wait to write about.
The two protagonists in Cape Cod Kisses, Quinn and Shelley, are complete opposites in terms of their personalities. What do you think it is about opposites attracting that makes such a great love story?
Think of how boring it would be if we were all the same. At the onset, Quinn and Shelley appear quite different. They compliment each other so well, and their connection is so deep, that through their love they help each other grow and realize that they’re really not that different after all. People have many layers to their personalities, and sometimes it just takes the right person to uncover the parts that have been buried or have gone unnoticed, or in Quinn’s case, parts that had been forgotten. It’s also really fun to watch the sparks fly between a hero and heroine—and makes for some deliciously sexy love scenes!
What advice do you have for authors who may be considering writing collaboratively in the romance genre?
We’re asked this a lot. Entering into a collaboration is like entering into a marriage, and the same considerations need to be given. Trust is primary. If you don’t trust your writing partner’s judgment or writing skills, it will never work. If you’re too tied into your ego, you’ll probably have issues, because the idea of collaborating is (hopefully) blending the strongest aspect of each writer’s voice into the story, which means removing or revising parts you have written. We have a lot of fun with our joint venture, and we’re both super flexible with the primary goal of creating the absolute best book for our readers that we possibly can, which makes it easy to enjoy.
Can you share any details about your upcoming projects? Any speaking engagements or appearances?
We are working on Cape Cod Promises, the 2nd book in our Love on Rockwell Island series. This book is about Trent Rockwell and the woman he’s never been able to forget. Cape Cod Promises will be released early this fall!