By KJ Howe
Please welcome talented author Debra Webb to the lair. We're very lucky today to get the inside scoop on Deb's career decisions and what shaped her incredible publishing career thus far. One of the most talented and prolific authors I've met, Deb has been on a fascinating road with many twists and turns, just like her RS heroines!
The Hard Decisions EVERYWHERE SHE TURNS
I can’t believe it has been so long since I was here with the fabulous Bandits! But, as the title of this blog reflects there are so very many decisions about time, career, every-darned-thing and most of them are hard! Not to mention seriously time consuming. When we first begin our journey as writers the decisions are a little easier—just write and keep on writing no matter how many rejections show up in the mail. For me, there really weren't any other decisions at the time. I just wanted to keep writing and one day be published by ANYONE. And, of course, I wanted an agent eventually. Again, the decision wasn’t a difficult one. The hardest thing I had to do was remain persistent through the rejections. Eventually I obtained both. My goal had been reached. I was a published author and had an agent. As far as I was concerned it didn't get any better. I spent the first few years of my publishing career writing all over the place. Kensington Precious Gems, Harlequin Intrigues, Harlequin Americans, Silhouette Bombshells, Harlequin Next and Signatures, and also NASCAR romances.
Then came the first really hard decision: where should I focus? Romantic Suspense/Thrillers appeared to be my strongest niche. So, I jumped in with both feet. I rarely allowed my focus to deviate from that genre. Time passed and all appeared well until I realized it was probably time to move to the next level—single title romantic suspense. Second BIG decision: what publishing house would be home for my single title romantic suspense novels? After much biting of nails and pulling of hair, I landed at St. Martin's Press. It was glorious! I got to write those big books with scarcely any boundaries. Then came a bevy of additional decisions I hadn’t anticipated: cover art; branding; and the most terrifying of all decisions—marketing. These new, very difficult decisions forced me to see that moving to a new agent was necessary to accomplish certain goals. That part was very difficult. I’m not very good at ending relationships in real life. By this time I fully understood what I needed to do was to give the readers what they really wanted from Debra Webb (stand-alone novels but connected sort of like my Colby Agency series at Harlequin Intrigue). This, my fellow writers and readers, was the mother of all decisions. Did I keep writing big stand-alone novels with absolutely no connection/direction or did I do what I knew I did best—a long running series of loosely connected novels like the Colby Agency? After all, this year installment number 36 of the Colby Agency series will hit the shelves. No other author series in the history of Harlequin books has lasted this many installments (at least that's what I'm told by the powers-that-be).
The latter was a truth I could not deny. So, for my next two St. Martin's Press releases (EVERYWHERE SHE TURNS and ANYWHERE SHE RUNS) I loosely connected the stories with characters. And now I'm once again shopping for a publisher who has the same vision as me. At this stage in my career, it simply has to be about what's best for the books and the forward/upward path of my future publications. It can no longer be just about being published…it has to be about a purpose. The purpose of my career. The path. When readers spend their hard-earned money on my books, I want them to not only thoroughly enjoy the story but to look forward to the next book. A book where old characters are revisited along with the new...where a family of sorts is established. I want the excitement to build…and the anticipation for my next release to show increasing momentum.
So, while I struggle with yet another hard decision, I hope you’ll enjoy my upcoming summer releases. First, coming on June 30th, is EVERYWHERE SHE TURNS. This story is very close to my heart because it is set in my hometown in the very village where my family and I live in a house more than a century old (which we are restoring and alternately love and hate). It is loosely based on events I have watched unfold all around me. For those of you who read the book, never fear the village is slowly but surely being restored to a place where families thrive and neighbors look out for each other. There has only been one shooting in the past month and no one was killed—only a minor injury. Then later in July, look for the first in my Colby Agency trilogy from Harlequin Intrigue (Small Town Secrets in July; The Bride's Secret in August; and then His Secret Life in September). Read and enjoy and please know how very, very much it means to me each time you spend that hard-earned cash on one of my stories.
Thanks, Deb, for visiting us again. You're not only one of my favourite authors, you're one of my favourite people...I love the way you approach the writing world with such integrity, like a real world heroine. Wishing you all the best with your new ventures! Be sure to check out all of Deb's books coming out...
Debra Webb wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn't until she spent three years working for the military behind the Iron Curtain and within the confining political Walls of Berlin, Germany, that she realized her true calling. A five-year stint with NASA on the Space Shuttle Program reinforced her love of the endless possibilities within her grasp as a storyteller. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Debra has been writing romantic suspense and action packed romantic thrillers since.