My Author of the Month for October is new to me. She loves writing romantic tales and has several 4 Star Reads to choose from. My curiosity was piqued as I read her bio and some snippets from her latest release. Here’s an introduction to Author Willa Edwards.
What was it like when you hit submit for the first time?
The first time I hit submit (which was actually so long ago you had to mail in your work, not email it) I don’t remember being that nervous. I was in high school and convinced I would eventually be published, so I didn’t worry too much about the response. Ah, the ignorance of youth. And I did get rejected then.
The next time I submitted a work it was during the erotic romance boom, and it was more nerve wracking. I must have revised that work a hundred times before I sent it in, convinced I’d somehow find some magic formula the ninety ninth time. Again, that was rejected, but I did eventually find a home for that story. It wasn’t until my next work that I received my first acceptance, which was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
What most amazes me about being publishing, is that certain parts never get easier. You never lose that nervous feeling when you submit a novel, even if you know for sure the publisher will take it. And you never lose that self-doubt that your work isn’t as good as it should be. Or at least than you want it to be. That’s just part of the process. Unfortunately.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
When I’m not writing I spend a lot of time reading, binge watching tv and hanging out with friends, family and my cat. She is the center of my world (I know, I’m a crazy cat mom, but I’m sorry, she’s the best cat ever. No one will convince me otherwise). You can often see her shenanigans featured on my Instagram page.
Are you currently working on a project? When can we expect your next release?
Currently I am working on the last two books of my bound by fairytale series. This series of historical erotic romances are based on fairytales and all include some element of bondage in them. The first book, Wandering Off the Path, centered around the story of Red Riding Hood, and it was the first erotic romance I ever wrote. As a result this series is very important to me. I’m hoping to have my Three Little Bears and Princess and the Pea interpretations out next year.
Wine and cheese or Beer and wings?
Since I’m a vegetarian, I guess I’ll go with wine and cheese. But beer and cheese fries are pretty good too.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your characters?
With my characters I often start with an architype, the ditzy blond, the controlling bitch, the rich ice queen. Then I put them in situations and see how they react differently than I expect. I’m an intuitive writer, so I discover who my characters are as I’m writing the book. Once I figure out why they are controlling, cold, ditzy, etc… my next goal is to put them in the exact situation where they have to break through their normal behavior and take different actions. Sometimes it can take writing the whole book before I really find out who the character is, but that’s okay. That’s what revisions are for.
Who are some of your favorite Authors?
I have a million authors I love. Tessa Dare and Courtney Milan for historical romance, Mari Carr, Kelly Jamieson, Kit Rocha, Joey W. Hill, Lexi Blake, Maya Banks, Jodi Redford and Joely Sue Burkhart for erotic romance. But I’m also a huge Stephen King fan. I love Anne Rice, Phillipa Gregory, Anne Easter Smith, Dan Brown and Neil Gaiman. In other words, I’m all over the place.
What is your dream vacation and why?
I’m not a tropical vacation person. I like to go to cooler locations and especially places where I can learn something and be immersed in a different culture. I absolutely adored Ireland when I went there a few years ago. I’d love to go back, as well as explore more of Europe, especially Scotland, France and Italy, and maybe Prague.
Are there other genres that you want to write?
Absolutely. I’ve been playing around with some fantasy and paranormal ideas for a while, and I’m hoping I’ll get the time to finish them up soon. I’m also delving more into my first love, historical romance, though of course still with a sexy twist.
How do you handle negative reviews?
I don’t think that anyone likes negative reviews, but I’ve never been really affected by them. No author is for everyone. I’m just happy the someone was willing to read my book at all. I especially appreciate negative reviews that explain why they didn’t like the book. What makes a book a one star for some people, might be a five star for others. Also that allows me to grow, and get better at my craft, by knowing what areas to work on.
Which is more important, character development or plot?
For me the most important part in the story is the conflict, which is kind of both. Once I know what the issues the characters will deal with, it feels like both the character and the plot grow organically from there.
As a reader, I find a character I like and can relate to very important to keep my interest, but I’m also a sucker for great world building.
How long does it take you to complete a novel from start to finish?
It really depends on the story. Some come to me very fast and hard, and I finish them quickly. But others take a long time. I just finished the first draft of a story idea I’ve had for five years and had been in some state of completion for most of that time. Sometimes you need to grow as a writer before you’re ready to accurately tell the story in your head.
But if all the timing works out perfectly, I can usually finish a story in 3 to 4 months.
Finally, what message do you have for your readers?
I just want to thank all the readers who have stuck with me for the last eight years. The publishing world has been a crazy ride, and probably will continue to be. I’m so thankful for all the readers that have sat along with me through all the ups and downs. I hope to be here for a lot more.