Hello Doris, and welcome to my blog. So, what made you decide to become a writer?
I was always a storyteller so becoming a writer wasn’t so much a decision as simply what was. I always earned my living as a writer, first doing advertising copywriting and then doing sales promotion for Mademoiselle magazine, a now defunct fashion book for young working women. I left Mademoiselle to write my first novel about – guess what – a fashion magazine.
I remember that magazine. How long did it take you to get published the first time and how did it happen?
It took several years, many disappointments and dozens of rejections. My husband and I had a friend who was the attorney for the literary arm of William Morris. I hadn’t wanted to take advantage of him or put him in an awkward position, so I never asked for his help. Thankfully, he told me how dumb that was and insisted I give him my manuscript. He knew every agent in town. He offered it to the one he thought would be right for me. Lo and behold, within a couple of months, I had an agent and offers from several publishers. After a lunch with the woman who would become my editor and mentor, I chose Bantam. They published my first novel as a paperback original. It hit the New York Times Bestseller list and stayed there for three months. Thank goodness for friends who love you enough to tell you when you’re being a jerk!
I bet you were doing the “happy dance” all that time. That’s awesome! Would you do anything differently the next time?
In my case, the end more than justified the means, so I guess not.
Yeah, I probably wouldn’t either. So, what advice would you give an aspiring author?
The best advice is to write! The blank page is waiting for you to fill it. So as the ad says: Just Do It. Don’t expect perfection; that’s why there are editors. Tell your story. Read it over. Rewrite. And then embark on the arduous task of finding someone to represent you. Look at writer’s magazines that list agencies and the editors of the various genres. Send query letters. Follow up.
Just Do It. I like that. So what or who inspires or influences your writing?
I started writing during the time when sagas were popular – both in books and on tv. I enjoyed writers like Sidney Sheldon, Irving Wallace, Arthur Hailey, and Judith Krantz because they told textured stories that came from character. While I love police procedurals and just recently published the first in an e-mystery series, my true passion is not plot-driven books, but people-driven stories.
Oh, yes! I love people-driven stories because you never know what will happen. So, what are your latest releases and when and where can we find them?
Country Club Crimes is my new e-mystery series offered on Amazon. Set in the Connecticut suburb of Bellaire, the titled character connection of this series is membership at Hawk’s Nest Country Club. The heroine is Jenna Welles, a former Miami prosecutor, current interior designer who seems to always be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The hero is Detective Samson McPhail – former Army CID, FBI, NYPD; smart, studly and really good at his job. The first novel, THE NEST, is available now. The second, PREFERRED LIES, will be out this month. I’m working on a follow-up novella, BACK OF THE HOUSE, which features members of the staff at Hawk’s Nest Country Club.
Wow, that sounds interesting. And what a switch, from prosecutor to Interior Designer. So, since you were published by Bantam, tell me how your publishing experience went.
The first nine of my novels were traditionally published. Many became bestsellers, so, hard to complain. My new series is published via Amazon which leaves much of the promotion up to me. That’s been a challenge, but there are always challenges getting books to an interested audience. Let’s just say I’m getting a quick education in selling via social media.
Ah, but you have an advantage over someone like me. I’m a newbie all the way, but you have a following. You can always do a giveaway on Amazon and they have algorithms that can help you find your followers. Or, a Goodreads Giveaway. So, how long have you been writing professionally?
I’ve been a professional writer, in one capacity or another, for (gulp) fifty years. I’d say I still work full-time, but without strict deadlines, my discipline has lapsed. I love what I do so no matter the schedule, I do what I love.
I know. I’ve love writing, but I have a problem with distractions. So, what do you do for fun when you aren’t writing?
I’m a golfer and a bridge player. I do the former more (and better) than the latter. I’m also a grandmother and since my two grand girls are fantastic, being with them is the most fun.
Doris, where do you reside?
My husband and I live in New Jersey.
Do you have any appearances or book signings coming up?
Other than being on your blog, nope. Hard to sign an ebook.
Thank you, Doris. You can find Doris at dorismortman.com and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.