We love brand new authors here at The Book Pushers! Fresh new voices in our favorite genres gives us another person to cyber-stalk and glom onto! We figured since there are always new authors getting published through both the big New York publishers, as well as the smaller digital first publishers, we should take the time and hunt them down and introduce them to you!
Today we’ve got Andrea K. Stein to talk about what it’s like being a brand new author!
Explain to us your journey to publication:
I’ve earned a living writing and editing news stories and features my entire adult working life and in retirement decided to try my hand at fiction. I owe a debt of thanks to the Writer’s Digest online course on how to finish a novel. I took that course some years ago from instructor Terri Valentine, also a published romance writer. She was the first person to tell me I was writing a romance (duh!) and mentored me through the process.
What’s your first published book about:
“Fortune’s Horizon,” just released on February 10, is the first of four historical romances set on the high seas, and being released this year.
Lillie Coulbourne marks time in Paris while the Civil War rages back home. While translating dispatches for the French Finance Ministry, she accepts a spy mission through the Union blockade. When the captain of the only blockade-runner headed back to a Southern port won’t deal with women, or spies, she sneaks aboard as his cabin boy.
He refuses to risk his ship, or his heart.
Blockade runner Captain Jack Roberts has never been caught and he’s not about to let a spoiled American heiress ruin his perfect record. After he discovers her deception, he fails miserably at keeping her at arm’s length and vows to send her packing on the first mail ship back to England.
When she surprises him with her skill as a seaman and navigator, he grudgingly allows her to finish the run. But ultimately, he has to choose what is closer to his heart – Lillie or his ship.
The two novels and sequel novellas are set in two different time periods – the American Civil War and the Caribbean sugar islands in the 1700s. However, the covers of the series do have something in common. My models are all real, working heroes. For “Fortune’s Horizon,” I used Chris, former ski patroller, current fire battalion chief, and dog search and rescue expert in the Colorado High Country. The cover of “Secret Harbor” will feature Drew, a snow safety technician ski patroller who works in both Colorado and New Zealand. A portion of sales of each edition will go toward a charity of the model’s choice.
Side Tidbit –
I am a USCG certified captain and spent a number of years delivering yachts out of Charleston Harbor, moored many nights near where the blockade runners took on cotton for the run back out to sea. I think this is where my characters latched on to me.
Do you have anything in the works?
The next in the series is “Secret Harbor,” due out on May 10. Sequels to the first two releases will be out on August 10 and November 10, respectively. For more information, readers can subscribe to my newsletter on my website or at Facebook/authorandreakstein.
What are your overall dreams, goals and expectations for your future as an author?
My long-term goal is to publish a variety of titles tied to an overall theme each year. I have a Victorian Steampunk fantasy serial of five episodes set at sea and on islands off Scotland coming out in 2016. I’ve also co-written a contemporary seagoing romantic comedy, “In Too Deep,” which is in full manuscript request with two traditional publishers. We are working on two sequels to that one.
What’s your writing process like? Has it changed from when you first started writing?
My first novel took four years, but that included time to learn fiction-writing craft. Since I’m a retired journalist, the fast writing part is easier. The second novel took just under a year, and now a full-length novel takes about four months, novellas a little less.
However, my process is pretty much the same:
- Characters climb into my head.
- There is an explosion sorta like the inside of an overheated firecracker factory.
- Everyone else comes running out in mortal fear.
- I begin extensive research. Otherwise, the crowd now inside my head will keep me awake nights.
- Piles of paper grow on every flat surface in my writing room.
- I organize everything into submission – in massive three-ring binders
- I write the ending.
- I block out scenes.
- I TRY to write 1,000 words a day until the darned thing’s done.
- My Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers critique group hides, but I hunt them down like dogs.
When did you start writing? What was your very first story about?
I’ve been writing most of my life, and spent 30 years as a journalist, working for newspapers in the Midwest. When I was about nine, my very first story was a Western about a young girl who worked on a horse ranch with her dad. I was fearless and wrote for myself, never doubting the rest of the world would want to read what I wrote.
Who were some of your inspirations for becoming an author?
Jo Beverly and Joanna Bourne, at the very top of the list. In addition, I owe a huge debt to countless other published and pre-published authors who have shared so much of their time, friendship, and expertise along the way. The Romance Writers of America membership includes the most giving scribes you will find anywhere.
Give us the story about when you got “The Call”
I gave myself “the call.” I am self-published because I got tired of years of agents and editors requesting both partials and full, and then after several months, telling me they just can’t sell historical romance. Both Walmart and Target stock their bookshelves with rows and rows of historical romance, and I gotta believe they wouldn’t mess around with stuff they can’t sell.
Who is the author you would most like to meet living or deceased and why?
I love Thomas Hardy’s luminous descriptions of the settings and heroines of his novels, such as “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” my favorite. He puts you in the middle of the scene, in the heart and soul of his hero.
“To a young man with the least fire in him that little upward lift in the middle of her red top lip was distracting, infatuating, maddening.”
“Clare had studied the curves of those lips so many times that he could reproduce them mentally with ease: and now, as they again confronted him, clothed with colour and life, they sent an aura over his flesh, a breeze through his nerves, which wellnigh produced a qualm; and actually produced, by some mysterious physiological process, a prosaic sneeze.”