Interview with Sylvia McDaniel

Thank you Sylvia for being on my blog today.  Readers, Sylvia is going to give away a copy of her book to one lucky commenter.  Be sure and leave a comment or a question for Sylvia to be entered into the drawing.

How did you get started writing?

All my life I have been a voracious reader.  One day I read a particularly bad historical romance and thought, I could do a better job.  So I bought a typewriter (yes, this was before home computers) and started a book.  I quickly learned that it’s not as easy as it appears, but I finished that novel that terrible first draft and realized I loved writing.  At that point, I began the journey to learn how to craft stories. Along the way, I met some fantastic writers who not only taught me the craft, but some were my critique partners who helped guide me on this journey.  It took me three books and eight years before I published.  I published nine historicals with a major New York Publisher before I decided to go straight Indie.

Tell us about your current series.

My series, The Burnett Brides, is about a mother who has three older sons who are unmarried.  She wants grandchildren and decides to set them up with women she thinks will tame their wild souls. All three sons are equally headstrong, but each has his own set of personality quirks. Travis is headstrong and way too rigid.  He needs Rose to show him how to have fun. Tanner has a wounded soul and while he nurses Beth, she heals his soul. And Tucker is well, he’s running from marriage as fast as he can, right into the arms of Sarah. The one woman he loved years ago.

What is your favorite part of writing?

I love to storyboard an idea, so that I have the necessary map to take me on the journey. Then I sit down and I let the fingers fly on the keyboard, while the movie plays in my head.  I’m sort of the stenographer at his point, just getting the story down on paper. I hit roadblocks and things change along the way, but to me this is the best part of writing, just letting the story flow onto the page.

What is your least favorite part of writing?

My least favorite part of writing is the last draft.  At this point, I’ve edited the story 3-4 times. Usually around draft 5, I have everything the way I want and I’m going back through to make certain that the scenes work, end on a hook, setting, grammar, etc.  By the last draft, I’m ready for the story to end and to start thinking of a new project.

What is your next project and when will it be released?

Right now, I’m working very hard to get my backlist on Amazon.  I’m also working on draft five of a Christmas Story that I plan to release the end of October. For me some stories just seem to grab me by the heart and refuse to let go. This story is like that. It’s the story of a man who doesn’t want Children and hates Christmas. So what did I do to him?  He finds out he has a daughter right at Christmas.  It’s called The Reluctant Santa and Colin, the hero, healing story is near and dear to me.

What is your typical day like?

I get up at six am, ride the elliptical for twenty minutes and then I’m off to the computer.  I work on the computer for an hour and then get ready for the day job.  The day job is working for a small insurance agency, where I take care of commercial insurance for clients.  I’m home at five thirty and back on the computer until supper time.  Eat a quick bite and then back on the computer until about nine o’clock, when the body wears out and the eyes start to see double.  I sit downstairs and watch several taped TV shows, until I crash into bed about eleven o’clock.

How has your experience with self-publishing been?

I absolutely love self-publishing. I’m learning as I go, but I know that I don’t have the time to do everything, so I am hiring out editing, cover design and formatting.  That being said it’s really important that you find someone who is good at the formatting.  A Scarlet Bride had some formatting issues and I didn’t know until I had some readers complain.  I had the formatter correct the problem and now I’m back in business.  I loved selling to New York, but the books were not being distributed correctly, which meant readers couldn’t find them in stores and how can you sell books if they’re not available?  This way I am in charge of my own destiny and if I fail, it’s no one’s fault but my own.

What advice do you have for other authors wanting to self-publish?

I was scared to try. I also didn’t want to be seen as someone who was “vanity” publishing. It took me hearing from at least three people that this was the future and how successful they were before I decided to put out my backlist.  Now, I doubt I ever sell to another New York Publisher. I’m not a New York Times Bestseller yet, but I’m doing okay and I’m publishing again. I’m hearing from readers again. I’m back doing what I love and I’m not waiting for an editor or agent to send me a rejection letter any longer.  Now I’m working at my pace, not a publishers pace.  I’m happier than I’ve been in years and it just feels right for me. You have to decide what is right for you. Don’t listen to naysayers, check out what it takes and then do what’s best for you.

Short Excerpt

“I’ve waited years for a husband.”

Beth stopped in front of Tanner, her hazel eyes flashing indignantly. “To have someone who would wake up in my arms each morning, a bby to rock to sleep. Isn’t that what all women dream of? So why am I so bad for wanting the same things?”

“You’re not as long as you know I’m not good husband material.” Tanner took a deep breath and tried not to reflect on what he could see beneath her sheer nightgown. “But you think you can soothe my hurts and make me care about you enough that I’ll change my ways.”

“I don’t give a fig about your hurts.”

Tanner didn’t want to stop. “you think that beneath this rough exterior there’s a man worth saving, worth turning into a husband. You’re wrong.”

God, how he wanted her even when she was pushing him, making him feel things he’d long forgotten. He still wanted to feel her arms around him, even while he was trying his best to push her away.

“I have a man waiting for me. Why would I want a coldhearted bastard like you?”

“Because the man waiting for you, doesn’t make you feel like this,” he said as he pulled her into his arms.

13 thoughts on “Interview with Sylvia McDaniel

  1. Thank you for taking the time and effort to share with us today. I think it is awesome that you had the opportunity to see both worlds of publishing your work and that you are able to do it your way. I wish you every continued success and I look forward to reading The Outlaw Takes A Bride, it looks like fun 🙂

  2. Cynthia and Denise, thanks for having me today. Yes, I’m glad I’ve seen both sides of publishing. I’m old enough to remember music stores, where you went in and listened to records before you purchased. I fear that bookstores are going to experience the same fate as record stores.

  3. Good morning, Cindy and my PP pal, Sylvia! I’m so proud of you and your success. But, girl, 3-4 passes? OMG. I do so many more. Keep on keepin’ on. ox

  4. Sylvia, your career journey sounds like a very interesting one, esp. with both New York and self publishing involved. One question: How successful do you think your self-pubbed books would be if you hadn’t had that turn through NY?

  5. Vicki, those 3-4 passes are me sitting down in one sitting and reading it straight through. Each chapter gets a lot more individual attention. I’m not a fast writer. Thanks for being proud of me, but my God, girlfriend you are knocking it out of hte park with your short stories. You’ve sold what? 20?

  6. Keena,
    I don’t know how well the self-pubbed would have done with their NY publishing. I hope very well. I’m not naive enough to think I’m the next Nora Roberts. I just want my stories to be available to readers because I love to write them. Hopefully people will enjoy reading them, but there are no guarantees in life. I love to tell storys and that’s the most important thing.

  7. Regina,
    I’m a slow writer! I try to produce two books a year, but last year I only did one. But I’ve also been very involved getting my books converted to ebooks. It takes a lot of time that I didn’t think it would. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Ms. McDaniel, I think your series touches on a very timely topic. Most young men and even some women today do seem more reluctant to commit to marriage. Is there an economic basis for that reluctance in your novels as there seems to be in the world today?

    I was also wondering if you have your own blog?

    • Hi Walk2write,
      I know I’m a little late responding, but I always try to go back and check to see if I missed anyone. There is no econonmic basis for the reluctance in my novels. I just love men who don’t think they need marriage and then find out they do. I don’t have my own blog. I need all the time I can to write. Thanks for stopping by.

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