Interview with Romance Author Connie Crow
This month’s featured Nebraska author is Connie Crow. Connie is author of six romance novels: Moonlight Fire, Daughter of the Dragon, No Place for a Lady, Little Secrets, Dark Side of Paradise and the soon to be released; All She Ever Wanted. Connie paved a path for many of us by publishing in e-book format since 1996. All of Connie’s books are still available in e-book and print for purchase through her publisher Awe-Struck Publishing, Amazon and other retailers.
Connie served four years as secretary of the Nebraska Writer’s Guild and is currently a member. She is the current treasurer of Romance Authors of the Heartland. She also belongs to Romance Writers of America, and of EPIC (the Electronically Publisher Internet Coalition.)
Glenda: Connie, it’s so nice of you to agree to this interview. You are a trailblazer for electronic publishing. You published Little Secrets as an e-book in 1996 before I ever even heard of electronic publishing. I think many of us are thankful to you and other brave writers like you.
Why did you decide to go with electronic publishing in its infancy when so many were saying it would never catch on?
Connie: I've always been fascinated by technology and an early adaptor. When I was told my first novel was a non-traditional romance and would not sell in New York, I decided to look for a non-traditional publisher. I found an ad in a free-lance writer newsletter from a new publisher, looking for authors who would be willing to be published electronically. I contacted him, sent him the manuscript, and went up in the first six novels he electronically published in April of 1996. It's been an interesting journey, ever since. I had no doubt we were starting a revolution in communication. I said it would get ugly as the publishing industry adjusted to all the changes. I'm sure we're not done.
Glenda: Many writers believe to be successful they must write daily and publish frequently. I noticed that you publish a new book every few years and they continue to sell. What is your philosophy about writing practices?
Connie: I measure success differently than most. I write because my characters and stories insist on getting out of my head and onto the paper. I'm delighted that other people enjoy reading them but I write on my schedule. I've struggled with health issues over the years so I write when I'm able. Having five surgeries in four years slows down everything else one does. I keep lots of notes and binders full of ideas so when I feel up to writing, a story is always waiting for me.
Glenda: In 2004 your book Daughter of the Dragon was a finalist in EPIC’s international competition. I must say, I could see why from the beginning of the book. It has history (set in the late 19th century), an international element through a global shipping merchant, a daughter running from an overzealous father, and many facets that you manage to weave together into this story that crosses the US and Canadian borders. How do you keep from getting bogging down in your characters histories, the time period and so many nuances to deal with to write a book like Daughter of the Dragon?
Connie: My critique partners try to keep me reined in. I do have a most complex mind, I guess. I keep spread sheets of plot lines and character arcs through chapters, to keep everything straight. I usually don't have any trouble keeping track. Although with my current work in progress, 600 Feet to Hell, I found myself getting a little confused. I stopped and created a character chart. I had 37 characters in the first chapter; shame on me. That was too many, even for me. It's a bigger book than my other work, but still, I stopped and hacked characters out of the story. Even for a disaster-thriller, that’s too many for a reader to absorb.
Glenda: What would you tell other aspiring romance writers?
Connie: Believe in yourself. Don't be afraid of the new technology. Your world is going to change even more than mine. Go with it and have fun. Read. Read books that draw you in and won't let you put them down. Then study them to see why they are that powerful. That's the kind of writing you want to do.
Connie’s interview seems to be as much an exposure of how to overcome life’s difficulties as it is about her writing. Connie is an inspiration for that reason. Connie related to me that her health has never been good and she’s had many surgeries. Many would give up, or set in a corner and pout instead of moving forward and even taking up the sword that paves the way.
Connie related the following to me after this interview. “I have a great life and an agent from a conference wants to see more of my new work in progress so I'm a happy camper.”
So this writer is going to follow the lead of people like Connie who ‘write on’, and take her advice. Connie if my family loses me, I’ll likely be in a corner reading what thrills me. I look forward to your new book 600 Feet to Hell.
Find links to Connie's books at her site http://www.conniecrow.com