Fiona Ingram - Arabella Sheraton
Todays guest post is from childrens author Fiona Ingram. She also writes romance under the pen name Arabella Sheraton. Read her story below and get her top 3 rules for authors.
ROMANCING THE STONE: ONE AUTHOR, TWO HATS
I never set out to become a children’s author, nor did I set out to become a Regency romance author. The two events just happened and luckily not at the same time. I became a children’s author quite by accident, even though I was working as an editor in the magazine publishing industry. I went to Egypt at the behest of my (now late) mother, who insisted on Egypt because she was paying for the holiday, and we took along my two young nephews, then aged 10 and 12. What a trip; we had such an adventure. In fact, it was so much of an adventure that I was inspired to write a short story for my nephews upon our return, with them as the two heroes of course. The short story became a wonderful adventure tale (The Secret of the Sacred Scarab) which became a book series (The Chronicles of the Stone) and suddenly I was Fiona Ingram, a multi award winning children’s author. So, never discount the short story; you have no idea where it can take you as a writer!
Arabella Sheraton, my Regency romance alter ego, had a different beginning. One day my mother complained that Big Name Publisher’s Regency romances were all sounding the same and why didn’t I write her one. Having cut my teeth on my mother’s collection of Georgette Heyer Regency novels, plus being a big Austen fan, I rose to the challenge. The Dangerous Duke was my first title. I found a publisher quite by accident via a publishing newsletter (so do subscribe to newsletters!) and they said, “We love it. Do you have any more books?” “Funny you should ask,” I replied. I had just started on another title for Mom, called Married at Midnight. From then on, my mother and the publisher became quite insatiable and Arabella could hardly keep up. I came up with the pen name Arabella Sheraton to keep my children’s author and my romance author personas separate. Arabella is the title of one of my favourite Heyer novels, plus it just sounds so Regency-ish. Then I read about a beautiful hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, called The Arabella Sheraton, and that was it. Arabella Sheraton was the perfect Regency name! Arabella’s profile picture is actually a portrait my gifted grandmother painted of a dear friend of hers.
It has been quite a refreshing experience being two people. When I am tired of being me, I slip into Regency mode and I write as Arabella, who is actually more prolific than I am. Arabella has seven authentic Regency novels, one relationship self-help book, and is busy on a time travel/murder mystery authentic Regency romance. Arabella has her own Twitter and Facebook profile, a Regency romance website, a Wattpad profile with 2,092 followers, and a newsletter (where subscribers get The Dangerous Duke free!). In fact I am so busy doing all Arabella’s marketing that I don’t have much time for my own stuff. I even do talks on her behalf about being a romance writer.
Joking aside, writing for children and writing historical romances demands the same amount of time, energy, dedication, commitment to manuscript perfection, and research. Although I could recite loads of Regency facts in my sleep, I still do a lot of research, depending on how the story pans out. As a children’s adventure author, where my young heroes go to different countries and experience different cultures and locations, there is even more research involved. Luckily, I seem to have a very fertile imagination and never suffer from writer’s block or run out of ideas. Plus, if one can write in a number of genres, it does bring in a different stream of income.
For aspiring authors in any genre, I have 3 Golden Rules:
1. Never give up – even though every day I give up by nightfall, convinced everyone else will become richer and more famous than I will. Then I start afresh in the morning, ever hopeful.
2. Make sure your manuscript reaches the highest standards in the publishing industry. Spend money on a top editor and a fantastic cover design. It will be money well spent. You can’t expect readers to wade through loads of errors and, actually, they do judge a book by its cover.
3. Publicise your book every day by telling people about it – find a way every day! Penny Sansivieri, marketing guru, says: “Marketing doesn’t sell books. Marketing creates publicity and publicity sells books.” Word of mouth is the best publicity and, best of all, it’s free.
Amazon profile: https://tinyurl.com/jeacocs
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