Marketing with Mandy Author Spotlight: Debra Mullins
Q: Tell us a little about your experience with Avon, Tor and/or Samhain Publishing.
A: I wrote 14 historical romances for Avon Books. They were my very first publisher, and they really know what they are doing as far as publishing and marketing historical romance. I recently switched over to contemporary paranormal romances and have a trilogy I am working on for Tor involving the descendents of the survivors of Atlantis and their various cool powers. Most recently, I have been working with Samhain Publishing on the digital release of some of my backlist titles. Working with an electronic publisher is very different than a print publisher, but in good ways. Everything is done electronically, from the contracts to the communication with people at the house to payment of royalties. Print publishers still tend to do things in hard copy, which takes longer.
Q: What tips/tricks do you use for marketing or promoting your own titles?
A: I’m not great a promotion, but I am very good at talking! I am very active on Twitter, and I try to do some guest blogging around the time of every release. I go to a lot of conferences. Sometimes I am a speaker and sometimes I just attend and sign at the bookfair. I almost always manage to get to RWA’s big conference every year. I really like meeting and interacting with readers. In the end, I’m a reader, too, so we all have something in common.
Q: What is one thing you’d want to tell a newer author, just coming into the game?
A: Don’t get so caught up in the business of publishing that you forget the joy of writing. If you follow the joy, success will follow.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?
A: My most recent releases are the first time ever digital publishing of three of my back list titles: ONCE A MISTRESS, DONOVAN’S BED and THE LAWMAN’S SURRENDER. All of these were first published by Avon Books, and ONCE A MISTRESS was the very first book I ever wrote. It was an RWA Golden Heart nominee back in its day, and then Avon bought it. DONOVAN’S BED and THE LAWMAN’S SURRENDER are related books. They’re historical westerns, and DONOVAN’S BED was an RWA RITA nominee back in 2001. I’m very excited to have these titles coming out again, and Samhain has been really great to work with. ONCE A MISTRESS, a pirate swashbuckler, is already available (Dec. 2011 release). DONOVAN’S BED is coming out in February 2012, and THE LAWMAN’S SURRENDER comes out April 16, 2012. I’m especially excited about DONOVAN’S BED, since it’s one of my personal favorites. Here’s the premise: A mysterious man moves to a small Wyoming town and buys himself a ranch and a huge bed to go with it. The heroine is the editor of the town newspaper and is determined to find out all his secrets. But Donovan and Sarah are like oil and water, and when he insults her, she publishes a provocative article about his search for a wife in the paper. The article has unforeseen consequences, as every unmarried female in the area descends on the town, determined to be the woman in Donovan’s bed. Watch for the sequel, THE LAWMAN’S SURRENDER, due out April 14, 2012.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your current WIP’s?
A: I just finished the first book of my paranormal trilogy. It’s in the revision/editing phase with my editor now. The hero is Rafe Montana, a bounty hunter from Vegas who is descended from one of the survivors of Atlantis. He’s a Seer, and his powers include the ability to see if someone is telling the truth (which all Seers have) and the ability to find anyone, anywhere. The heroine, Cara McGaffigan, is a woman who has come to Vegas to find her missing stepbrother. There are other parties chasing the stepbrother as well, and Cara joins forces with Rafe to both escape the bad guys and find her stepbrother before anyone else can. I’m very excited about this series, as I’ve wanted to write paranormals for a very long time.
Q: How did you get into writing?
A: In junior high, a friend of mine started writing fan fiction about Battlestar Galactica (the original), starring me and her as the girlfriends of Starbuck and Apollo. This was before the internet and before everyone had a personal computer in the house, so the stories were written in spiral notebooks by hand. Periodically she would hand me the notebook and tell me to write some. I was afraid at first. What did I know about writing? But apparently I had a knack, because she started handing me the notebook more and more, and all our friends loved what I wrote. As we got older, I started writing my own stuff, one of which was the story that eventually became ONCE A MISTRESS, my first published work. I wrote that story in seventh grade English class, and years later when I was married and home all day with a baby, I decided to try and flesh out the story into a viable romance novel. The rest is history. J
Q: How do you balance family and writing?
A: For me it is a three way balance because I still have a very demanding day job. So the question is, how do I balance family, my day job and writing? The answer: by juggling as fast as I can. I met my current husband at my day job, so we still work in the same building and we ride back and forth to work together. He’s very supportive of my writing, as he has his own creative outlet in music. He sees my writing as a job, and therefore when I am on a deadline, he understands if I have to lock myself in my office for hours at a time at night and on the weekends. My children are now both college age, but I have always been writing and publishing ever since they can remember. When they were little I would write at night after they went to bed and whenever I could on the weekends when they were off with their friends. I was a single mom for a few years before meeting my current husband, but the kids’ father was great about spending time with them. Every other weekend I would be completely free to write since they would be off with their dad. As far as my day job, I would often get up an hour early to get in some pages before work and then write longhand on my lunch hour. I got many a book done this way.