Romance author Carole Mortimer has been writing for more than 30 years, starting her career as one of Harlequin Mills Boon’s youngest authors. She’s been recognized by Queen Elizabeth II for her “outstanding service to literature” and was awarded an RT Pioneer Award for her contribution to the genre. So what does an author do after all those accolades? Publish her 200th book, of course. This month Carole celebrates the big 200 with, Shadow Alpha, which continues her self-published Alpha series. We chatted with Carole about her career, self-publishing and where she thinks romance is headed next.
Shadow Alpha is your 200th book, congratulations! From your debut book, published in 1978, what have you learned over the course of your career?
Primarily to always, always keep up with the changes in the market. I write romance novels, always, whether they are Harlequin Presents, Regency or my Alpha series, but still there are trends that come and go in the world of romance writing, and it’s important for any author to keep up with what those changes are, whatever they might be.
Why did you decide to self-publish your Alpha series?
I knew from the onset that the stories in the Alpha series didn’t fit into the two series I already write for Harlequin Mills Boon. They are scorching hot, contemporary love stories, and they also have murder and mayhem in them. Once the idea for the series came to me, the option to self-publish seemed like a good one. And so it’s proved. I’m having so much fun self-publishing Alpha. It’s amazing to take a book from the concept to having the cover designed, writing it, having it edited, formatted — and choosing my own pre-order and publishing date, too.
You’ve seen tons of publishing trends come and go. What other current industry trends, aside from self-publishing, are you excited about?
There is so much scope available for authors to get their books out there nowadays. I’m still learning my way around a lot of them, but I do love being able to talk to readers on Twitter and Facebook, to have conversations and discuss books, old and new. And the advent of the ereader has revolutionised publishing. The books are just there, instantly, and a whole library can be carried around in one slim volume. I love it!
Why do you think alpha heroes are timeless?
I think maybe we grow up believing in our own special alpha hero, the one man who is our soul mate. It took me a while, but I eventually found mine, and I just love writing stories, as I’m sure do other authors, about this special man and the love that is meant just for us. I don’t think that will ever change. I hope not, anyway!
What advice do you have for writers considering self-publishing their work?
Do it! As long as you are prepared to work hard — I mean really hard, because self-publishing is not easy. It is a whole lot of fun, but be prepared to find your editor, cover designer, formatter and to make sure the readers know your book is on pre-order, or about to be published. Accept that you are the one in charge of organising all these people, and for ensuring that it all runs smoothly and the book is written, formatted and published on the date it should be. In self-publishing that’s exactly what you are, the publisher as well as the writer.
If you’re prepared to do all that, then my advice is to ‘go for it,’ and have some fun while you’re doing it.
What’s next for you?
I have a Regency trilogy coming out with Harlequin Mills Boone in July, August and September this year. I’m writing a trilogy for Mills Boone Presents series, to be published in 2016. I also have an Alpha book being published every two months, plus a contemporary novella I’m writing for another publisher coming out in August, and I also intend to start a Regency novella series of my own, the first one to be published in November 2015. But again, be warned, this Regency novella series will be scorching hot, just like Alpha.
Thanks for catching up with us, Carole! You can pick up Shadow Alpha now, in ebook format from your favorite e-tailer. For more romance author news, visit our Everything Romance page.