How do writers get where they’re going? And, how does the destination change as an author’s journey continues through time? Today we continue to explore those travels with Heather Thurmeier, who turned her fascination with reality television into something better– captivating romance in unusual circumstances. Heather, glad you could stop by today. In addition to the interview today, please check Rio Round Up for additional information and an excerpt from Heather!
Heather, first, what biographical information is important to your writing journey?
-That’s a tough question! I think everything that happens in my life impacts my writing in some way or another. I guess one of the biggest things is coming from an awesome, supportive family. Even though I live far away from them, we still maintain very tight relationships. Also, I think moving away from my family in my early twenties really influenced my characters. I totally relate to the fish out of water characters or the people still trying to find their way. And I especially think my relationship with my husband effects my writing. He is my proof that love stories do happen and I want to share that with others through my writing.
What has been the most persistent and troubling obstacle on your journey so far?
-The biggest obstacle so far has been finding readers. It’s hard to be a little fish in a big pond and that’s definitely the case for me. There are so many romance novels released every week, many by big, already established authors. It’s difficult to find a way to stand out amongst the big names to capture my own readers. But luckily, once I find readers, they tend to stick with me! I’m so thankful for each and every person who decides to read my books.
Heather, you mention that finding readers has been a stumbling block towards going where you want on this journey, and that’s certainly a huge part of what writers try to do. What have been the perks, the rewards, the kicks in the proverbial pants that keep you moving on anyway?
-The sheer satisfaction I get from writing The End is one of the biggest perks. Sure, I may not have as many readers as I hoped to, but the most satisfying thing to me is still just the fact that I did it. I set out to write a book and I did. Then I got it published. Then I did it eight more times with no end in sight. It’s the actual act of writing that I find incredibly fulfilling. Of course, getting a great review is also amazing. I love hearing that someone really “got” my voice, my characters, my humor, and my story. And an additional perk I never expected was all the fantastic authors I’ve met along the way who have become friends. I’ve received so much guidance, support and friendship from the authors I’ve met. It’s awesome!
Lost Without You was just released, on July 1st, as a matter of fact, and is the third of three books about reality television. How was the series born, and what opportunities has it given you as a writer?
-The series started with Falling for You. It was actually the first book I wrote, so it has a special place in my heart. I always wanted to write a book, but never had any ideas I thought were worthy. Then one day I started wondering about the cast and crew of the reality TV shows I love to watch and I wondered if any of them ever fooled around when they weren’t supposed to. What would happen if a girl went on a dating show but fell in love with a cameraman instead of the guy she was supposed to be there to date? Once I had the idea I couldn’t resist writing the book. After that, I knew I wanted to write more reality TV stories because the first was so much fun and I had plans in mind for a couple of the secondary characters from the first book. I’m thrilled I’ve gotten a chance to tell each of their stories!
-As for opportunities, pitching Falling for You at the RWA conference in NYC directly related to me signing with my awesome agent, Jill Marsal. She is seriously full of awesomesauce! I know I’m getting where I want to go because I have Jill on my side. Let me tell you, she does not sugar coat anything and if she tells me she liked something in my book, then I know it’s genuine!
I’m curious. Will readers relate it to their favorite reality shows, or will they wish someone would produce a reality show like your romance series?
-Both I hope! I tried to make my reality TV shows familiar enough that people could imagine them happening when they read the books, but also unique so the shows were fresh and original. I didn’t want to copy the shows already on TV, just be inspired by them.
Writers all set out on their respective writers’ roads with hope, courage, and determination. Some get farther than others. Some are never sure where they’re going, but figure they’ll know when they get there. Where do you think you’re going, if you know, and how would you judge your progress?
-I’m not sure where I’m headed. When I set out to write a book, I wanted to write it, get an agent and sell it. I’ve done all of those things, so technically I’ve succeeded in my goals. But the more I write, the more my goals change. I guess the best I can say is that one day I want to be in a position to reap some financial benefits for my hard work. I’m not saying I want to be rich or famous. Mid-list is probably okay with me. So far, I feel like I’m working toward that goal. Every year I’m writing new books, releases new books, making connections with publishers and authors, and improving my craft. As long as I keep enjoying what I’m doing, then I think I’m on the right path.
Finally, Heather, please share something personal and important to you that I didn’t know to ask—about your writing, life—whatever would mean the most for you to tell us at this moment in your journey.
-One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn on this journey is that your writing path is not the same as someone else’s. Everyone has their own path to walk to get to their own goals. It’s very easy for authors to look at someone else’s successes or failures and judge themselves in comparison. Everyone one of us has asked ourselves, “What doesn’t that book have that mine doesn’t?” However, I think the sooner we learn that we each have to walk our own path, the happier we will be as writers. Our products (our books) are very subjective and what one reader loves another will hate. All we can do is write the best book WE can write and put out the best product possible. Doing things my way might make my path longer and steeper than your path, but eventually I’ll get where I want to go and I’ll be happier I took the journey I was meant to take. I guess what I always try to remember is to put one foot in front of the other and follow my own path regardless of what others are doing.
Thank you so much for having me today!
Heather, thank you for coming. And if I may editorialize a bit–I love–and often needed to be reminded–of your last comment. I’m including a bit more information about Heather below, but for an excerpt you don’t want to miss and some additional biographical information–please go to Rio Round Up and find out a little more!
“Heather Thurmeier’s hunky heroes and feisty heroines will have you laughing out loud, falling in love … and coming back for more!” ~ Carly Phillips, NY Times Bestselling Author
“Heather Thurmeier writes sweet, funny romances that capture your heart!” –NYT and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Probst