Happy Christmas Eve! I’ve had so much fun this year connecting with all the smart authors and bloggers I’ve met through Twitter, and look forward to meeting many more in 2016. This is the seventh interview in my series of conversations with other authors, who join us to share about their creative process, their habits, their inspiration, and more. Our guest today is Kimberly Lang, a USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary romance novels, and self-described “Southern Belle with a troublemaking streak.”
You wrote on your blog that you started working with a group of other women who all wanted to become published authors and now you all are published. How do you think making those connections with other aspiring authors helped your writing career?
Kimberly Lang: Friends keep you sane in this business because they are going through the same things you are. They understand in a way even the most supportive spouse can’t. Plus, there’s strength in numbers. We had five of us navigating the business and sharing the information we learned. I had four other people to turn to when a plot didn’t work or my mojo felt like it had up and gone. I know my path would have been longer, harder, and much more stressful without that support in place. The first thing I tell all aspiring romance writers is to join RWA and a local chapter (or an online one, if you’re not close to a physical one). That’s your tribe — your people — and you need them.
You are also a yoga instructor. How has practicing yoga helped with your creative process?
Kimberly Lang: I always say I think better after my butt’s been over my head and that many a plot point has been worked out in the down dog position, but I don’t think that yoga itself is the answer. Any kind of fitness program will give the benefit. Movement, stretching, getting the blood flowing — anything to break up the monotony of sitting will help clear the cobwebs out. Exercise also releases endorphins to improve your overall mood. I think one benefit that comes from yoga is the concentration on the breath, which helps me clear out the clutter in my brain and focus. Exercise is important. (For more on this subject, here’s an article I wrote.)
Tell us about the inspiration for your most recent book project.
Kimberly Lang: I’m having the most fun with the Magnolia Beach series! The Southern setting lets me wallow in my own southern roots and experiences, and it feels like home. Small towns are perfect for complicated romances because of the connections between the people. While Magnolia Beach isn’t a real place, the people who inhabit it are inspired by and in opposition to the usual southern stereotypes — which is a lot of fun for me.
Can you tell us about the process of finding a writing agent and finding a publisher?
Kimberly Lang: My first fifteen books were published by Harlequin, which is famous for working with unagented authors. You submit straight to the editors, which is wonderful, and I just wrote and submitted books until I hit that sweet spot of right idea and right line. I will say that having a track record helped when I decided to look for an agent to bring the Magnolia Beach books to market — I’d already “proven” myself — but I still had to find an agent who was the right fit for me. Everyone’s career is different, so doing lots of homework is vital. Learn which publishers and agents handle books like yours, read and follow their submission guidelines, and don’t give up. This is another situation where having your network in place really helps. (Once again, let me stress the importance of joining RWA and finding your people.)
What advice would you give to anyone who is interested in writing their own romance novel?
Kimberly Lang: Read. Everything you can — and not just in the subgenre you think you want to write. You need to know your craft, but you also need to know the market and what’s out there. Plus, you’ll find a lot of inspiration — other books excite your brain and refill that well of creativity. The first book is the hardest, so get that one done and dusted — you’ll be on your way to learning the quirks of your personal process and finding your unique voice.
See also: Five Questions Series
Special thanks to Kimberly Lang for participating in this series! She loves connecting with readers, so be sure to visit her website at www.booksbykimberly.com, or connect on Twitter (@BooksByKimberly) or Facebook. Her latest books in the Magnolia Beach series, One Little Thing and Everything at Last (coming out in January 2016), are available for purchase online.
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This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen