Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I live in Ontario, Canada. I balance writing with my work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic and being a mom to three sons (luckily grown and capable of throwing together a decent meal, in a pinch). I’ve written 7 romance novels. Two of my stories are posted on Wattpad – She’s Not a Fan, the first in a hockey series, and Choices. The 3 stories in the Perfectly Series have been published, and I’m working on edits of the 2nd story of the hockey series and a Christmas romance novel. I wrote my first book 4 years ago and can’t believe how much I’ve learned. It’s also hard to believe I didn’t own a laptop 7 years ago – now for writing, online courses, editing, connecting with readers, I couldn’t live without one. And I’m at the point where I can type as fast as I think!
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is Perfectly Planned, Book 3 in the Perfectly Series. When I wrote the first book, Perfectly Honest, I knew I wanted to have more books in the series that would be based on spin-off characters from the first. In the first book, Chloe has an accident and that’s what starts the cascade of events for Mikaela and Sam. In Perfectly Reasonable, Book 2, Chloe shows up more often because she works with Margo. During one of their breaks, Chloe mentions that she’s looking for a sperm donor – and the premise for the third book was born!
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I can’t imagine not writing. Even though I only started writing about 4 years ago, I have such a deep enjoyment of it. I love being immersed in the fun world of a romantic comedy. My house is on the water, so when I’m writing, I usually sit where I can watch
the waves on the lake and listen to them lap (or crash wildly) onto shore, which is very relaxing. When the weather is warm, I’ll write outside.
One of the things I love most about writing is being able to write at whatever pace I choose. As a kid, I always found it tough to come up with a story when the teacher asked because I had too many thoughts racing around in my head and needed time to mull it over. Luckily, now I have time to mull it over! So I don’t get too wound up about completing a certain number of words a day. Lately, I’ve tried to complete a novel within a season. It’s easier to keep the characters and storyline details in my head if it’s a shorter timeline.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I read a lot of Harlequins when I was younger. I could finish one in 2 hours and it was a great way to relax at the end of an evening studying. I’ve read all of Nora Roberts/JD Robb’s books. I love her style of writing. Reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott made me think that I could actually do this.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the second book in a holiday series. I wrote the first story about Christmas.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I try to post twice a week on my website and include a wide variety of topics. I have a series called Sharing the Awesome where I ask people I know to write about their hobby/job/interest. It’s been really cool hearing about how people got involved in their craft or job and what advice they would give to others who would like to try it. I’ve recently started a Sharing the Awesome Author series and invited other authors to share their stories and advice. I have a lot of fun on twitter – it’s been the best of the social media platforms for building a following and engaging people.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you’re serious about writing, eventually you’ll need to invest some time in marketing and promotion. Publishers like to see that you’ve made an effort to build a following. As soon as you decide on a pen name, set up an email account (Gmail), a twitter account, a wordpress blog, and join wattpad.com (those are all free) and purchase the domain name for a website (cost is ~ $10/year). If you’re using your own name, you can also set up a Facebook author page (which is different from your personal profile). Try to use the same name for all of these, but keep it simple. (For example, a middle initial is sometimes hard to see and a longer name takes up more of the 140-character count on twitter.) For me, Linda O’Connor was taken for Gmail, twitter, and wattpad so I used LindaOConnor98. But for my website I used LindaOConnor.net over LindaOConnor98.com because I thought it would be easier to search. The other option, which is popular, is to tag ‘author’ at the end of your name (LindaOConnorAuthor.com).
Eventually you’ll need a website, but because it’s expensive to set up, I would hold off until you’re close to being published. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what your brand looks like and can design your website with that in mind. In the meantime, you could blog on a free site or just invest the time into writing. Hold onto the domain name though, so when you’re ready, you have the name.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
The best advice I was given about writing was to remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time – not only to write a book, edit and polish it, but also to get it out there for the world to see and develop a loyal group of readers. If I had to pass on advice to an aspiring writer, young or old, I’d say, if you’re passionate about writing, stick with it. But be patient little grasshopper.
What are you reading now?
Well, I’m all caught up on Nora Roberts. When I’m in the middle of writing a romance, I usually read cozy mysteries because they’re quick to read and something different from what I’m writing. I’m currently reading A Fortune to Die For by Liza O’Connor (no relation!). It’s a sneak peek – scheduled for released on Feb 6!
What’s next for you as a writer?
Eavesdrop some more. Daydream. Write. Edit. Share it with the world. 😀
What is your favorite book of all time?
Oooh – that’s a tough question! It’s like picking your favourite child 🙂 There are soooo many good books out there and depending on my mood or what’s happening in my life, what I love changes. I think I’d have to say The Witness by Nora Roberts. Suspense, contemporary romance, a twist in the tale, and beautiful writing – it’s the perfect combo for me!