1. Where can I find your books?
My books are available at all online retailers (currently Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks, Google Play, Smashwords–see my Books page). While you will not find my titles on the physical shelves in your brick and mortar stores, each of my titles has an ISBN. You can take this ISBN to your bookstore and they should be able to order my print books through Ingram. You can also order my paperbacks, which are print on demand and printed by Createspace, on Amazon. All of my titles will be available in e-book, and paperback when the word count permits (my short story A Wayward Man is too small to properly bind, and hence e-book only. But it’s free, so you can download it and read it on your computer/phone/tablet/whatever when you subscribe to my newsletter). You can purchase signed copies of my books here.
2. What genres do you write? What can I expect when reading a book from you?
At the present, I write historical romantic suspense. My books are dark, emotional, and gritty. There is usually sex, or at least sexual tension. The balance in my full length books so far is usually 60% romance and 40% suspense. As I write romance, there will always be a happily ever after (HEA) in my novels. The only exception to this is the prequel A Wayward Man, which was intended as a companion piece for my newsletter subscribers and therefore doesn’t have a HEA as that comes in A Dangerous Invitation.
Currently, my three series are: The Rookery Rogues (pre-Victorian era working class romance), Darkest Regency (Gothic novellas), and Covert Heiresses (Regency spies). While each series deals with different parts of 19th century England, each book falls within that umbrella of a dark, suspenseful book. If you pick up an Erica Monroe book, you know that it’s going to have a lot of angst, probably some gruesome details (I do write suspense after all, LOL), and a lot of grit. There may be some dry humor, but no romping. You’ll get strong women and heroic men, and a conflict that often has life or death stakes, but ends in that happily ever after. 😉
3. Why do you write romance?
Because I believe in the power of love. I’ve dated my now-husband since high school. I can say absolutely that he’s the best part of my life. He’s supported me through the best of times and worst of times. How can I not incorporate that life-changing love into my books? I also hate surprises and sad endings, so the implied promise of a HEA in romance suits me just fine.
I’m often asked why I write such dark romance. The subject matter of my books is often intense, and I touch on a lot of social issues. It has always been my belief that history shows us how to interpret today’s problems, and that for all the apparent changes in our society and laws, human nature still remains largely the same. It’s the parallels and controversies that intrigue me. Yes, there’s a lot of “dark stuff” in my books, and I know that isn’t for everyone (no judgment here!).
But for me, I both like to write and read books about people who are struggling to become something better than what they’ve been before. Through either their own mistakes or circumstances they couldn’t control, they’ve faced some sort of trauma in their past. They’re thrown into dangerous situations, and they have to survive by their wits. I write these books about survivors, because I want people to know that there IS a bright spot at the end. I want people in tough situations to be able to look at my hero and heroine, and feel encouraged by their spirit and their journey. For me, I think love is about a lot more than just the butterflies and happy moments. It’s fighting for what you want, and working hard to build that life with someone you love. Life isn’t easy, but in the end, I believe that the love between two people is worth risking it all.
4. Hey, what happened to the rest of the Covert Heiresses series? Are you still planning on writing these books?
Yes! (For reals, I promise.) Unfortunately, my health took a nose dive in 2016, and it catapulted my best-laid plans to release those books a lot closer to the release of I Spy a Duke. Then, I ran into some plotting problems, and I returned to the Rookery Rogues and wrote the Darkest Regency series as efforts to find my “mojo,” so to speak. I’m happy to announce that I’m back to having plenty of ideas for my family of Regency spies, so you can expect the second book of Covert Heiresses in 2018. The next two books will be in 2019. Despite my best intentions to release more, it seems like I’m firmly a two book a year kind of girl, so that’s what I’ve got planned.
5. Why did you decide to independently publish?
For a lot, and I really do mean a lot, of reasons. Primarily, I am a control freak. I also am ridiculously impatient, and a bit of a misanthrope (my husband is now coughing frantically in the background). I wanted the ability to choose my own production team (ie, my editors, my cover artists, my formatter, on and on). I also knew that my first series, the Rookery Rogues, was the very definition of niche: crossing two genres (historical romance and romantic suspense) and featuring an entirely nontitled cast, it’s different than anything else out in stores today. I wanted to be able to market it my way. I also wanted to be able to write the difficult, controversial themes I had in mind, with reference to historical accuracy and also without compromising my vision.
I also needed to be able to set my own deadlines as I have autoimmune diseases that require rest during flare-ups. This was my primary motivation with the Covert Heiresses and Darkest Regency series as well, knowing that my flare-ups are getting worse as time goes on.
Please know that my decision is mine alone and by no means indicates a stance on publishing. While indie publishing is good for me, it’s not the end all be all. The beauty of publishing nowadays is that there are so, so many options.
6. I am a book reviewer and I really want to review one of your books. What should I do?
This answer also applies to people who post reviews on Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Goodreads etc, not just blogs. You can e-mail me at ericamonroewrites AT gmail DOT com and I will add you to my list of reviewers who receive advanced copies of my books in exchange for their honest review. You can also find my new releases on Netgalley.
7. I want to know about your new releases! What should I do?
You can sign up for my newsletter below. I solemnly swear to never sell your information, spam mail you, or come to your house and dance on your lawn with a pineapple on my head (unless you’re into that sort of thing, in which case, let me go find a pineapple). I only send out newsletters when I have a sale going, a new release, or a cover reveal. On very rare occasions you may receive a newsletter twice a monthly; the far more likely possibility is that they are bimonthly.
8. Do you intend to pursue traditional publishing?
I have always wanted to be a hybrid author (traditional and indie publishing) eventually. At the moment I am not pursuing this goal, but who can predict the future? Despite my desire to plan for every single event (I have a plan in the event of my death, in the event of a zombie invasion, in the event sharks become land-based species…), I sadly do not have a crystal ball. If you find one, please e-mail me at ericamonroewrites AT gmail DOT com.
9. I have a blog/event/Facebook party/Twitterpalooza/book signing/my kid’s soccer game/alien species gala that I’d like you to visit. What should I do?
You can e-mail me at ericamonroewrites AT gmail DOT com. You can also tweet me at ericajmonroe or Facebook message me. While I have Goodreads (regencyerica), I never read the messages so this is not a good way to contact me.
Once you’ve contacted me, I will check my schedule. My acceptance depends on the time involved, prior time commitments and the cost to me. If you have a blog you want me to visit, please feel assured I don’t judge blogs by a certain number of visits/whatever metric that looks vaguely important. I like to talk to readers everywhere because I am a weirdly ambivert author. So go ahead, drop me a line! I promise my bark is worse than my bite. (But seriously if you have an aliens species gala, I will come, because I have watched seven seasons of the X-Files and all of Futurama, so I AM PREPARED FOR THIS.)
If you want to know about my currently scheduled appearances, you can go here.
10. Outside of writing, how would you describe yourself?
From my Twitter bio which I think sums me up nicely: foul-mouthed fiery feminist, lazy foodie, possibly Batgirl. A few more descriptors: lover of pit bulls and the color pink, liberal, Christian, comic book aficionado, sci-fi junkie, animal rescuer, and thrift shop guru.
11. How do you write books?
My process is not very sensible so I don’t recommend following it. I am a slow drafter who is way too meticulous. I am also a plotter. I will write up a comprehensive outline which I change throughout the book. I do a lot of preparatory work before I start writing–usually about 2 weeks of research and character development, depending on the project. I heavily use Pinterest when planning stories (check out my story boards here). Because of my suspense plots and my equally spastic memory, I edit as I go, which isn’t exactly the best way to draft but there you have it. My drafts are usually somewhat clean, and then I get to edit for a month or two happily. I love editing. I seriously loathe drafting, and will procrastinate until I am at the point where I am so pressed for time I have no choice but to go for it. (Like I said, it’s a horrible process, don’t do it.) I draft in Scrivener and edit in Word. Using two different programs helps me to approach each step differently.
12. How long does it take you to write a book?
There’s no easy answer to this. Every book is different. Full length novels obviously take longer, especially with my Rookery Rogues series, as there’s an extensive amount of research for each one. It also depends on the time of the year. During the winter, I am much slower due to flare-ups and the holidays. The ideal goal is two full length novels a year, but it depends on how many hours I’m working outside of book writing at my other job.
13. Speaking of that other job…I hear you work for other authors as an administrative assistant. Can you help me?
At the moment, I am not accepting new clients, except under special circumstances (ie, I know the job is one I am well-suited to, or I already have a prior working relationship with the person). Sometimes, I pick up piece-meal work if I have time, such as planning Facebook parties or administering giveaways. I am far more likely to accept that kind of work when it slots into my schedule (ie, when I do not have a pressing book or existing client deadline). If you’re interested in my services, check out Quillfire Author Services or contact me at quillfireva AT gmail DOT com.
14. Do you write to music?
Absolutely. Silence is very unnerving to me. While drafting books 1 and 2 of the Rookery Rogues, I listened to Gaslight Anthem, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding, Anberlin, Augustana, Band of Horses, Metric, Johnnyswim, Lana del Ray, Florence and the Machine and Adele, to name a few. I cannot write to instrumental music. I need lyrics. You can check out my book playlists here.
15. I have a book idea. Will you write it?
Unless you are willing to pay me an exorbitant sum and name me the Queen of England, nope. Every book I write is a very emotional process. I assume it’d be the same for your idea too–you’d have a certain way you want it, and I’d just be mucking up the process.
16. Fine, I’ll write it then. But how do I get started?
My writing background is a little weird. While I did go to college for writing, and earn a Bachelor of Arts in writing with an English minor, my focus was more on sci-fi writing, lit fiction, and business writing (an odd mix). I hadn’t found romance novels yet. But I had a passion for British lit, particularly of the 19th century, and took a lot of classes on that.
It was writing with a good friend who loved historical romance that got me into writing it, and I found I loved to research the period and that my voice was well-suited for it. I joined the Romance Writers of America, and that really got me going on my first romance novel. I highly recommend this organization. If your interest isn’t romance, then look for organizations in the genre you’re looking to write, or look for local writers groups. I did a lot of blogging before I committed to writing novels. I read a metric crapton of craft books. I wrote a lot of awful drafts and projects I never finished. I read a lot, still, in all genres. And I talked to other writers–for me, Twitter was huge, as it connected me to a bunch of writers in North Carolina, and then I ended up moving there! While nowadays I spend a lot more time on Facebook than Twitter, social media overall has been very helpful for me in finding like-genred writers and readers.
I recommend all of those things. But mostly, I just recommend that you write, and then write some more.
For basic craft books I recommend: Elements of Fiction Writing: Beginnings, Middles, and Ends; Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Writing Romances: A Handbook by the Romance Writers of America; Heart of the Matter: from Heart of Carolina Romance Writers (Disclosure: my RWA chapter), Save the Cat (plotting help), Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, The Emotion Thesaurus
For craft books on suspense I recommend: Elements of Fiction Writing: Conflict and Suspense, Conflict, Action, and Suspense, Body Trauma: A Writer’s Guide to Injuries; Scene of the Crime: A Writer’s Guide to Crime Scene Investigation.
17. I want to meet you! Are you doing any events this year?
You can check out all my appearances for the year here.