Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Sandra Owens, author of the bestselling Men of K2 Special Services series, which include, CRAZY FOR HER, SOMEONE LIKE HER, FALLING FOR HER, and LOST IN HER (due out February 9th).
Hi Sandra, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thank you so much for inviting me here today. I currently reside in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where I spend my days writing in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I grew up in sunny Florida, and have also lived in San Diego and Indianapolis. I’m a daredevil and thrill seeker at heart. I’ve jumped out of a plane, rode a Harley for years, and have been a passenger in a stunt plane performing aerobatic stunts. It was awesome! Nothing thrills me more, though, than writing a book.
Below is my teaser interview to whet your appetite. Keep reading to learn even more about this amazing author.
- What Inspired You to Write Your Book? Love this question. For the Men of K2 Special Services series, the inspiration for the first book, CRAZY FOR HER, came from watching a documentary on a SEAL team in Afghanistan. I wondered what life would be like for these heroes after the military. Intrigued, I created the K2 world with a story of each man on my fictional SEAL team getting his HEA.
- Which writers inspire you? The one who wrote whatever book I last read.
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? I’ll answer this one on the overall personality of my K2 Special Services characters. My heroes – they’re strong because they are all former SEALs. They’ve seen things no one should ever have to see. They’re damaged in some way. They live on the edge, and they have a strong sense of right and wrong. They hide their gentle hearts, or they think they do until that one special woman sees past the wall they’ve erected. As for my heroines, they’re also strong, feisty women with the gift of being able to see into a man’s heart.
- What genre are your books? Contemporary Romantic Suspense and Regency Romance
- What draws you to this genre? I love writing strong alpha heroes and the feisty women who take them on, discovering the soft heart under all that muscle and attitude.
- Where do your ideas come from? Ha ha! I wish I knew. They’re just there in my head, thankfully!
- Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? I’m so fortunate to be published by Montlake Romance because they do tremendous marketing and promo on my K2 series books. One thing I do that I love is a release day blitz, just getting the cover, blurb, and an excerpt blast out there.
- What is your favourite motivational phrase or positive saying. What does this mean to you? Just write the damn book already. What does that mean to me? I’ve always loved to write stories, but never did anything with them. About five years ago, it hit me that I could say, “I want to be a published author,” all day long, but if I didn’t do something about it, it would never happen. So, I sat down and started writing a book, a romance, of course, with the intention of making my dream come true.
- What is your favourite book and why? This is an almost impossible question to answer as I have so many favorite books, but if I have to pick only one it would be THE PRINCE OF TIDES by Pat Conroy. There are some authors whose words sing to me, and Conroy is one of those. He draws you into South Carolina’s low country, so much so that you can almost smell the salt marshes, feel the balmy sea breezes, and hear the gentle rustle of the palm trees. The PRINCE OF TIDES made me laugh and it made me cry, which is one of the best things a book can do.
- What is your favourite quote and why? I love this one from Nora Roberts because I do believe in and write about the magic of love. “Magic exists. Who can doubt it, when there are rainbows and wildflowers, the music of the wind and the silence of the stars? Anyone who has loved has been touched by magic. It is such a simple and such an extraordinary part of the lives we live.”
My extended interview:
What were you like at school? Shy.
Were you good at English? I was above average, but not the best in my class.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? I’ve won awards with my books, received a bestselling banner on Amazon, and had the honor of a book club choosing one of my books as their monthly read, but what I love the most is getting an email from a reader telling me they fell in love with one of my books. So that is my ambition – writing books that readers fall in love with.
Which writers inspire you? This is such a hard question to answer because there are so many. A few off the top of my head are Nora Roberts, Jenny Holiday, Pat Conroy, Anne Calhoun, and Kaylee Cross.
So, what have you written?
(*Include books, novellas, short stories, poems, blogs, awards or anything of interest.) In my romantic suspense category: CRAZY FOR HER, SOMEONE LIKE HER, and FALLING FOR HER. The fourth book, LOST IN HER releases February 9th. In my Regencies: THE DUKE’S OBSESSION, THE TRAINING OF A MARQUESS, AND THE LETTER.
Where can we buy or see them? (* include American, European and any other relevant links. Free, free promotions or prices can be included) The easiest way to find them is on my author page: http://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Owens/e/B00CLVJOJY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1450812297&sr=1-1
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? I think this goes for all my heroes and heroines – they’re honorable, somewhat damaged, and are in desperate need of an HEA.
What are you working on at the minute? A brand new series that I signed a contract for a few weeks ago with my publisher, Montlake Romance. My heroes are three brothers who are FBI agents. There will probably be a fourth book about a sister they never knew about.
What genre are your books? Romantic suspense and historical Regencies.
How much research do you do? On the Regencies, a ton! On the contemporary romantic suspense, not as much. What I typically research on those are weapons, military information, etc. I figure I’m on a government watch list. LOL
When did you decide to become a writer? It was just something I always knew.
Why do you write? Because I have to.
Do you write full-time or part-time? Full-time
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I’m not a morning person, so I do my social media first because my brain refuses to get creative until after lunch. Then I write from the afternoon until about 2:30 in the morning.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when? Every day.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? Not unless I’m on deadline. I’m not a fast writer, and some days it’s an effort to get 500 words down and then there are those awesome days when the words just flow.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand? On my laptop.
Where do your ideas come from? Everywhere – overheard conversations, something I see on TV, something I’ve read.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you? I’m a panster down to my bones. I’ve tried plotting, but it doesn’t work for me.
What is the hardest thing about writing? Those days when my characters don’t feel like talking to me.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The one just turned in to my publisher, which will release sometime this summer. It was the last book in the K2 series, and it made me sad that I was leaving my K2 boys to move on to another group of heroes.
What is the easiest thing about writing? For me, it’s writing the first three or four chapters in a new story. I’m not sure why the beginning of a book is so easy for me to write, but I’m not complaining. I only wish that all the chapters flowed like those beginning ones do.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? Three to four months.
Do you ever get writer’s Block? Never have. Where’s some wood I can knock on?
What are your thoughts on writing a book series. I love writing a series because I love creating worlds for my characters.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors. I read a lot! I’m so across the board on my reading that I wouldn’t even know where to start answering this question.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books? Ebooks. I take my Kindle everywhere I go.
What book/s are you reading at present? I only read one book at a time, and I just finished BROKEN CORDS by Carrie Elks and loved it. Next, I’m thinking I’ll read Anne Calhoun’s LIBERATING LACY again. I love her hero, Hunter, so freaking much.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit? No because I’m usually on a deadline and don’t have time to let it stew.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process? Absolutely, although I don’t think it’s the number one reason a reader buys a book.
How are you publishing this book and why?
(*e.g. Indie, traditional or both) Except for my Regency novella which I self-published, I’m traditionally published.
What do you do to get book reviews? I don’t do anything to get reviews, preferring to get them organically.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews? Of course, the good reviews are wonderful to get. Every author does get bad reviews, but those have never bothered me. Some people will like your books, some won’t. The majority of my one stars (which I’ve never gotten many of, yay!) are either because of the sex or my heroes’ potty mouths.
What’s your views on social media for marketing? Absolutely necessary.
Which social network worked best for you? Facebook, for sure, although I’m also on Twitter and Goodreads. I’m on LinkedIn, but I don’t understand that site at all. Oh, I’m on Google+, another site I can’t get my head wrapped around. Oh, and then there’s Pinterest, which I like but don’t have much time for.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do? Comment on a bad review. Never, ever do it.
Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? Probably the biggest immediate impact I get on sales is when my publisher runs a Bookbub ad on one of my books.
What do you think of “trailers” for books? I think they’re fun to watch, but I don’t think they do much for sales.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why? To a small degree. I think it’s good PR and can get you readers who might never pick up one of your books otherwise.
Did you format your own book? No.
In what formats is your book available? Print, digital, and the K2 series books are available in audio.
How do you relax? Reading
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time? Hopefully, still writing books that people want to read.
What advice would you give to your younger self? To get serious about this writing business sooner than I did.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? The Lord of the Rings trilogy. An amazingly creative story.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Put your butt in a chair and write. If you write romance, join Romance Writers of America. They have so much to offer a new writer. If you write other than romance, find a group that fits what you write. Support and encouragement are invaluable.
Where do you see publishing going in the future? If anyone knows the answer to that question, please ask them to call me. I’d love to know.
How can readers discover more about you and you work? Mostly on my website, or on my Facebook page.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Owens/e/B00CLVJOJY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1450812297&sr=1-1
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
It was my pleasure. Thanks so much for the invitation.