What made you start writing romance novels?
ROXANNE: Oh honey, you may be sorry you asked!I’ve been writing for a long time. I took my first “How to Get Published” day class when our first daughter was four months old. Perfect time to write a book, right? Home with new baby, not working, all this free time on my hands, need something to fight the boredom.
Yeah, yeah, she was my first, what can I say. That was twenty-mumble-mumble years ago and we had two more daughters. We ended up homeschooling them all, too, which is a whole ‘nother story. Oh, we’re business owners, as well, and I’ve done the human resource management from the beginning there, too.
Anyway, all through the early marriage/child-rearing/new business years, I kept writing. I started with articles for local magazines, moving on to bigger papers and magazines. I wrote quite a few essays for Reader’s Digest, funny, tear-jerking slice-of-life pieces on, well, our crazy life. But my bread-and-butter assignments were mostly for corporate newsletters aimed at consumers. Yep, I wrote advertorials for pet magazines. Hairballs. Fleas. High-fiber diets.
Okay, I wasn’t exactly living the dream. But a girl’s gotta eat. Or, I should say, three growing girls gotta eat.
Of course, I wanted to write novels, beautiful books that would change lives, not just give advice on dog food. I wanted to write stirring tales of redemption, family sagas of secrets revealed, injustice rooted out, darkness brought to light…
So in between hairballs, I wrote my first novel. It was not, ahem, what you’d call successful, for several reasons. First of all, my editor informed me he was marketing it as a mystery novel, which tickled me, as I love mysteries. Then it occurred to me that since I did not write it as a mystery, it may be missing some of the more… mysterious… elements required for the genre. Like, a logical plot. Secondly, I set my story in Saskatchewan, which is where I’m from. (But tough for promo, as people from New York can’t pronounce it.) Thirdly, it involved a child-in-jeopardy. (Oooh, careful.) And – brace yourself – the fourth nail in the coffin: a dog dies in the story. (What was I, nuts?)
In my defense, it was set in the world of veterinary medicine, my original field, and I’m sorry to say dogs do die sometimes. (Not my dog, though. He will live FOREVER.) And before you start firing up your keyboards to send me nasty messages, I saved and comforted a lot of animal characters in that book, too!
Nevertheless, the second book in the series wasn’t picked up, although I waited several years before I gave up. I still love them, but one must buck up and face reality.
In this case, reality came in the form of The Economic Downturn. Unknown authors like myself faced an even tougher uphill road publication, as publishing houses simply could not afford the risk of a book doing poorly. Many publishers went out of business. The only thing that kept me going was a series of short non-fiction books I’d written for a small house, which were actually selling okay.
Then that publisher declared bankruptcy and disappeared…along with a small but significant-to-me chunk of royalties.
It was a bleak time. But I wasn’t quite ready to throw in the towel. I did, however, need to switch gears. Make some changes. Learn how to plot.
So, in 2009, I joined Romance Writers of America. Although I’ve read romance all my life, it never occurred to me to try writing it. But I’d heard that RWA is one of the strongest, most supportive fiction writing associations in the world. Boy, is that the truth! I’ve learned so much about the craft of fiction writing and the publishing industry since then.
And, while all other genres of fiction were suffering in the economic woes, romance was not only holding its own, it was actually growing. Editors, while cautious, were still acquiring books by new authors. It seems that in times of stress and worry, people turn to stories that make them feel good, hopeful. Happy.
Well! I like happy. Happy is good! I wanted to be happy!
So I tried writing my first romance novel. It was fun! I wrote another one. More fun! And another. Still fun! Then I tried to sell the first one. Hm, not quite as fun.
Then, a couple of years after I first wrote it, I got the email from my agent saying Stacy Cantor Abrams of Entangled LOVED Three River Ranch. And wanted a second in the series. And if all goes well, more after that. It took me a few days to process the news. Um. What?
Eventually it sank in that this was good. Really good. Possibly career-changing good. How did I feel about that? I felt good! Happy! Ecstatic!! CRAZED WITH NEWFOUND HOPE!
And all it took was a couple of decades, a few failures and a lot of dogged determination…
See? You’re sorry you asked, aren’t you! I tried to warn you.
OH! PS: my husband has promised to get a tattoo if the book does well… like, it hits a bestseller list. The number 300,000 has been bandied about, too, but I’m pretty sure he’d cave if it sold anywhere in the six figures. FYI, prior to this, my surprisingly conservative husband has sworn there are two things he’ll never do: get a piercing and get a tattoo. So this is a big deal.
Title: Three River Ranch
Author: Roxanne Snopek
Genre: Category – Contemporary
Length: 293 pages
Release Date: August 2012
Purchase from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Three-River-Ranch-ebook/dp/B0091ZR6UM
Purchase from Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/three-river-ranch-roxanne-snopek/1112662060
Needing a fresh start from her two-timing fiancé, Aurora McAllister answers a realtor’s ad for a guesthouse on the beautiful, serene Three River Ranch. She shows up at Three River tired, heartbroken, and with no one but her trusty Labradoodle as a companion.
Cowboy Carson Granger has enough trouble in his life without adding a woman and her dog to the mix. There’s the untamed mustang he’s prepping to release into the wild, not to mention his father’s crazy will, which stipulates that if Carson wants to fully inherit Three River, he’ll need to find a bride. Carson wants nothing to do with love and especially not a marriage of convenience. But he soon realizes Rory, and everything she represents, might just be exactly what he needs.
Sometimes love arrives on your doorstep when you least expect it…
Roxanne Willems Snopek is an award-winning freelance writer of everything from corporate newsletters to personal essays. Author of the Amazing Stories series of true life animal adventures, she now focuses on fiction. Snopek grew up in Saskatchewan and now lives in British Columbia.
Author Website: http://www.roxannesnopek.ca/