That’s easy to answer. I was an original book snob. I only read books written by men. I loved Robert Ludlum, Dean Koontz, Tom Clancy, John Grisham…. Espionage books were my favorite. One day I began to see a trend in them.
They say we write romance books to a formula, but I detected a pattern in men’s books. Did you ever notice that in the majority of the plots, the hero has a love interest? Duh, of course he has. The sex is predictable, usually about two to three pages long. There’s no tenderness or real love. But the man loves her so the author is sure to kill her off to set the man’s anger ablaze. That’s when the Alpha hero explodes into action.
In spooky or paranormal stories, there are always children. Adorable children. Don’t get all tender about them because the terrible creature, sadist, paranormal or abnormal “thing” will kill them. I began to look at the ending before I bought a book. I didn’t want to read and end up crying because some author thought that he was thrilling people ending the story with a downer.
Reading wasn’t relaxing or pleasant. Then I began thinking of the books I read in high school. Alexander Dumas, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Tolstoy and others. There was true romance in The Man in the Ion Mask, The Count of Monte Christo, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, etc.
That turned me to the romance section in the bookstore and I discovered I loved tender romances where the author didn’t throw sex in as a lure but as a natural part of real love between two people. Now, I want my happy conclusions. I won’t write a book without leaving the reader feeling satisfied and wanting more.
2) Is there a romance author, living or dead, who inspires you particularly?
Teresa Medeiros! You know the saying that beauty is only skin deep? Well Teresa is lovely all the way through. She’s kind, friendly and helpful, always remembers you as a person and writes tales that leave you smiling and satisfied.
3) How was your writing journey? Was it difficult to find an agent and get published?
Yes, it was difficult and tedious. I finished what I called The Blackthorn Trilogy in 2003. It started with Always Mine, Midnight’s Bride and endedwith Risk Everything. In 2002, I entered Midnight’s Bride (the working title was Mereck’s Bride) in the Golden Heart and was a Finalist. I sent query letters to editors first and developed a thick skin with rejections. Finally, they started to be friendly and personal instead of form letters. In 2004, I sent it to Hilary Sares at Kensington, Zebra. She responded immediately and offered to buy the trilogy, but stated they wanted to publish Risk Everything first. I worried that the ending started before the beginning of the trilogy, but I wasn’t about to argue. I searched for an agent and was fortunate enough to get Jenny Bent of Trident. I loved both Hilary and Jenny. They were wonderful to work with and great for my morale.
4) Please, tell us about your last book and, if you can, about your future projects.
As Zebra published the Trilogy, I worked on four books called the Raptor Castle Series. I wrote the synopsis and partials for each and offered them to Kensington. When they printed the last book in the trilogy, they decided the Raptor Series didn’t quite fit any slots they had available.
5) What’s your opinion about this Ebook revolution? Would you consider the indie route?
Not only have I considered the indie route, I joined it. The Raptor Castle Series took me three years to write and it languished on my hard drive. My agent turned me over to Holly Root with the Waxman Agency, and she, too, had trouble selling it to a NY publisher. It just didn’t quite fit in historical romance, medieval romance or historical fiction.
Each story’s plot is unique in some way, and they couldn’t decide how to market them. Four years after the last of the trilogy was out, I decided to go the Amazon route. The Raptor Series finally had a home. It’s a lot more work for me because I don’t have a big company to advertise, design covers, format, edit or publish in mass-market paperbacks.
6) Nowadays, many publishers expect their authors to use Social media a lot to promote their books. Many authors, on the other hand, would prefer towrite only, without being distracted by digital trivialities: what are your thoughts?
Publishers are doing less and less for authors every year. Before long, they’ll scare them away. Have you been on Amazon and seen the best selling authors that are flocking to ePublication? They’re getting back control of their backlists and publishing them with new covers. They draw readers with their name recognition and are probably selling as much as they had in mass market. But they earn 70% of their royalties instead of 12% or whatever percent best sellers get.
I absolutely hate having to do it all. No, wait! I do enjoy my web site. I’m not good at FaceBook, Linkedin or WordPress. I feel like a fool spending hours trying to figure out what it is I’m not doing and should be doing. Sometimes I want to crawl under my desk and hide.
But I couldn’t sell a book that way. Could I? If you know of an easy way to turn an introvert into a saleswoman, please let me know.
I know what would help us! Every author should have a secretary.
Info about the author:
When Sophia moved from Miami to retire in Rainbow Springs, her plans were to play golf and contract bridge with her husband and read every free minute. However, her family convinced her to write her own novels. Her pen name of Sophia Johnson is a mixture of her middle and maiden names. She decided June Ulrich was a dull name for a romance novelist, but Sophia Johnson was daring and fun.
The author doesn’t compose romantic fairytales. Instead, she writes long historical novels with an edge. All her females have courage and unusual skills and are feisty enough to go eye-to-eye with the Alpha heroes. There may be passionate and steamy scenes, but there is also historical realism, strong characters, conflict and dramatic plots.
She’ll always leave you wanting a next book to the tale. To know more, visit her website: sophiajohnson.net/
To buy her latest book, simply click on the cover below: