Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer Harlequin Happiness with AMY WOODS

A New Leash On Love 
When June Leavy finds two puppies abandoned outside during a storm, she immediately feels a bond with the adorable animals. Swindled out of her life savings by her no-good ex, she, too, was left with nothing but heartache and struggles of her own. But when she arrives at the local veterinary clinic, June is met by dangerously handsome Dr. Ethan Singh, whose sexy smile threatens to disarm her hard-won emotional strength. 
Back in Peach Leaf, Texas, to recover from an ugly breakup, Ethan gently tends to the puppies and their charming caretaker. But as the storm rages, so does the electric attraction between Ethan and June. Is this real, or a cruel phantom of lost love? Stranded alone at the clinic, only one thing is certain: they've got all night to figure it out…

Q&A with Amy Woods

  1. What’s your favorite part about writing in Texas?
I grew up, and still live, in Austin, a place with a healthy writing community and many events for writers at all levels. From the Texas Book Festival to Writer’s League of Texas classes, to the local chapter of RWA, I feel like I’ve always had plenty of publishing resources available at my fingertips. Not to mention that Texas, and the south as a whole, is full of interesting characters. I’m never short of inspiration!
  1. List two books you’ve read more than three times.
-Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
-Starting Out in the Evening, by Brian Morton
  1. Is anything in your new release based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
While I never actively try to base my books on real life, I think little parts of my experience do sometimes work their way into my stories. For example, though the hero, Ethan Singh, is not based on anyone from my life, he does share a heritage with someone I knew growing up. My best friend in high school was from India, and I absolutely fell in love with her family and their culture. I’ve always wanted to write about an Indian-American character, and Ethan became that person.
  1. How much research goes into your books?
The amount of research required varies with each book. Actually, one of my favorite parts of the writing process is researching interesting jobs for my characters. I’ve had a blast populating my little fictional town of Peach Leaf, Texas with: an elementary school principal, an astronomer, a pioneer museum worker, an art therapist, and a baker, among others. Because I am an absolute lover of animals, studying the basics of clinical veterinary medicine and polar bears for Ethan Singh’s job as a veterinarian in my latest book was immensely rewarding.
  1. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do hear from readers fairly often, and it’s always wonderful to get an email from someone who’s taken time out of his or her busy life to dip into one of my books. I’m happy to say I’ve received only kind words from readers so far (*knock on wood*). The very best compliment I’ve gotten is that my book was hard to put down, and the reader stayed up late to finish it; there are no sweeter words for a writer. I encourage anyone who enjoys a book not to hesitate to contact that writer or to leave a review—it’s such a privilege to discover that someone has taken joy in your story.
  1. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Reading is my absolute favorite thing to do when I’m not writing (and, let’s be honest, sometimes when I’m supposed to be writing!). I especially love Regency historical romance. My husband and I have a rescue dog, Maggie, and playing with her and taking her for long walks is a favorite activity. We just moved to a busy new neighborhood, so we have lots of new places to explore together. And when I’m not reading or spending time with Maggie, my husband and I absolutely love going to the movies. There is a dine-in cinema within walking distance of our condo; they have great food and all the movies we could possibly want. I will be spending a lot of time there this summer!
  1. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I try my best to keep somewhat normal work hours when I’m drafting a book, though occasionally life does get in the way. The beauty and challenge of being a work-from-home writer is that I get to choose my schedule, and it’s great most of the time to be able to set my own hours; however, it also means that I have no boss to make sure I stay on task. Keeping a disciplined writing practice is not always easy, but I wouldn’t trade my job for anything. Except maybe professional puppy petter—anyone know of any openings? J
  1. Do you have a favorite book cover from your series?
Harlequin has done a fabulous job with the books in my Peach Leaf, Texas series, and I’ve been super pleased with all of them. It’s always so much fun to get that email saying my cover is ready. Having said that, the cover for Puppy Love for the Veterinarian has won my heart. The designers captured June and Ethan so beautifully—I couldn’t have asked for more perfect models for my hero and heroine—and the puppies are border collies, like in the book. You can see the delight on the models’ faces as they hold the furry babies, and it’s just delightful to look at! I challenge you to take a peek and not smile.
  1. How do you decide on the setting of your book?
All of my books for Harlequin are set in fictional Peach Leaf, Texas. Because readers love series, because Texas is a favorite among readers of small-town contemporary romance, and because I grew up in this state and know it well, I’ve opted to stay in that setting for the time being. In the future, I’d also love to write books set in some of the places I’ve traveled and enjoyed—particularly Estes Park, Colorado, and San Diego, California.
  1. What is your favorite summer read?
Texas is so hot in the summer that it’s the perfect time of year to stay inside (with the air conditioning on, of course!) and curl up with a good book and a tall glass of iced sweet tea. For me, summer books are all about escape from everyday life. I mentioned before that I love Regency romance—give me anything by Mary Balogh, Sarah MacLean, or my new favorite, Vivienne Lorret, and I’m in heaven for the afternoon. I’d only stop to take a dip in the pool!


Every writer’s journey to publication is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all advice that will work across the board. However, if your dream is to publish, here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful on my own path:
-Decide whether you’d like to go indie, traditional, or both. There are more options for writers now than ever before in the history of publishing, and knowing the advantages of each is key. Examine your career goals and seek knowledge about each option. There are countless books, podcasts, websites, and forums that can help you with your decision-making. A quick internet search will bring up millions of hits on the topic of publishing; just get ready to set aside time to dig into the research, and be sure to check the reliability and experience level of your sources before you commit to following any advice.
-Treat your writing seriously, but not so seriously that you forget to have fun! If you dream of seeing your book on store shelves (virtual or brick-and-mortar), make sure that you give your writing the time and nurture that it deserves. It’s hard to make time to write, especially if you have a day job and/or a family, but a big step in that direction is letting those around you know that writing is important to you, and that you deserve to pursue it. Setting clear boundaries for your writing time and space lets your family know that you will continue to spend time with them, but that writing is your passion, and it needs time too. And if you have kiddos, how great is it for them to see you following your dream, and know that they can follow theirs as well? When you’ve committed to setting aside time for writing, you can then step away from the desk feeling like you’ve done something just for you, and you can spend time with those you love taking a break from the writing, and refilling the well.
-Read in your chosen genre. Whether you are indie-publishing or going for the traditional route, the best way to know what readers love is to saturate yourself in books from the genre in which you want to write. Every genre has conventions and tropes that readers crave and keep coming back for. Know what those are by reading a great deal in your genre, and then add your own unique voice and creative spin. In addition to reading in your genre, reading widely across other genres can give you a break and keep your writing fresh. Plus, for me at least, the best way to get new ideas is to keep filling your head with stories!
I hope these tips help you on your journey to publication. Happy writing! 

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