• SusanAylworthBooks2

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your publishing journey?

At a writers’ conference, Debbie Macomber told the story of trying to get from one hospital into another attached hospital and being turned back at every attempt. Finally she asked a doctor she saw in the hallway. He said, “You see that door that says ‘Absolutely No Admittance’? Push on it and go through.” Debbie advised us to look at publishing the same way: when we run into roadblocks, we should push on them and go through.

When did you know you were a writer?

The following question assumes I “knew” I was a writer before I signed my first publishing contract. Not so! For at least the first three novels, I suffered from Imposter Syndrome, certain I wanted to be a writer, but equally certain that I wasn’t a “real” writer, not like all those other writers at the conferences I attended. It may have been the fourth book before I felt ready to call myself a novelist and the seventh book before I felt I’d found my voice.

How long did it take to sign your first publishing contract, and what are the most important things you did to help you reach this milestone?

My first contract was almost a fluke, which may be part of the reason I felt like an imposter for so long. I was teaching at a university, interviewing various writers (technical, business, and others) for a video series on writing processes. One of those I interviewed was Debbie Gordon, then writing as Brooke Hastings in the Silhouette Romance line. When pressed, I confessed to having a finished novel in a drawer. Debbie promised me that if I mailed by Halloween (this was mid-September), she would contact her editor to let her know the manuscript was coming. I couldn’t pass up an offer like that!

I didn’t make Halloween, but I did mail Nov. 1 and let Debbie know. She contact a Silhouette editor and it turned out the line was looking for twelve new authors to introduce, one a month, during that coming year. My book came out in February, 1990.

Would you ever consider self-publishing – why?

I’m a hybrid author. Three of my books are self-published. I see advantages in both book contracts (distribution, name recognition, greater ease at getting reviews) and self-publishing (total creative control, a larger share of each sale). Which is better depends on the project and circumstance.

What are you currently working on?

I’m finished the Rainbow Rock series with the ninth and final book, Roman’s Holiday. After that I’m starting a new series set in the fictional Hope Creek Medical Center. (Think of it asGrey’s Anatomy on paper except my couples commit and marry.)  The Hope Creek series is fun to develop partly because of all I get to learn about medicine. Several family members are in allied medical fields, so I have good resources. I’m excited!

What’s something your fans may not know about you?

In high school I was an Arizona All-State drummer and played the drum set for my school’s dance band. I also earned a few bucks playing dance gigs in the area. I don’t own a drum kit now and I find it takes me time to loosen up when I sit down to play, but I still get a great kick out of getting a good rhythm going. Come to think of it, I’m aware of rhythm in the sentences I write as well. Drumming may be good training for writing.