Kathryn Craft: Merry, I believe we met at the Philadelphia Writers' Conference. How has that event shaped you, and what others have you participated in?
|Saving Grace at Amazon|
I’ve been to a lot of writer’s conferences since then, and I truly love them and think they’re one of the most valuable thing a writer can do. I’ve gone to several Romance Writers of America regional conferences, including teaching a workshop at the Chicago-North Spring Fling conference earlier this year. I’ve also attended RWA national conferences, which are enormous (over 2,000 writers attend) and overwhelming, but it’s one of the few times during the year that I can get together with all of my writer friends who I usually only hang out with online. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Kathryn: You like historicals and romance. What draws you to these forms?
Merry: I’ve always loved history. I majored in history not once, but twice in college, and my
|In Your Arms at Amazon|
As for romance, well, I didn’t intentionally set out to write love stories, they all just turned out that way. I tried fighting it for a while, but no, that’s what I have in me to write.
Kathryn: Why did you decide to self-publish? When did you start, and how is it going?
Merry: Well, I don’t do well with authority. Ha! But when I first learned that self-publishing existed, how all of the responsibility was in the hands of the author along with all the control, I knew that was the path for me. I’ve been called crazy for actually embracing the responsibility and the work, the nearly literal blood, sweat, and tears, but for me that is far more satisfying than traditional publishing. And let me tell you, every step of the way in my self-publishing journey has been harder, more complicated, more frustrating, and more expensive than I thought it would be, but also so much more satisfying and rewarding! I love every second of it.
Kathryn: You are a prolific writer! Tell us a bit about how you set your goals and hold yourself to them.
Merry: I have two very important tricks that help me stay on track and stick to a writing schedule and my writing goals. First, when I’m drafting a novel, I have a 2,000 word per day word count goal. I strive to meet that daily goal the way some people make themselves go to the gym every day. I write down my word count in the morning and type my fingers bloody until I reach it, even if I know what I’ve written is terrible. Some days it’s more painful than others, but meeting the goal must be done!
Second, I know that I’m a morning person, so I get up at 5:30am every day to write for about an hour before getting ready for the day job. I do it every day (well, it’s more like 6:30 or 7:00 on the weekends). Every. Day. I’m lucky that I’m able to be disciplined about that, though. I’m not married and I don’t have kids, so I don’t have a lot of distractions. It’s a blessing. And my method must be working, because so far I’ve published 12 books!
My biggest motivation for writing prolifically is that I love—and I mean LOVE—to write, and I have more story ideas bumping around in my head than I could hope to write in a lifetime. Last time I actually counted them, I had 25 books waiting to be written that I could give you a title and a blurb for. If I don’t write fast, I won’t have time to get everything written, even if I live to be a hundred!
Kathryn: What do you hope to bring to the Blood-Red Pencil?
Merry: I’d love to bring the knowledge that I’ve gained through my experiences with writing and self-publishing, both the things that have worked and the mistakes I’ve made and learned from.
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service, and the author of novels The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy (May 2015, both by Sourcebooks). Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the Storm. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.
...now turning over her BRP spot to the competent pen of: