Thank you for having me today, Anna. I’ve written nine books, with a tenth ready to publish (seven are published now) and fifteen short stories plus an anthology of six short stories. Like a mother with many kids, I love all my books, but in different ways. A dozen of my short stories were published in national magazines. I’m an eclectic writer. I write contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, erotic romance and short stories.
What is your next project and when will it be released?
I hope to have my Christmas novella, A Groom for Christmas, available in October. I have a short story with paranormal elements, Love Potion, from Boroughs Publishing Group coming out in October. I’ve recently had another short story, The Ring, released from Boroughs, and I’ve written a short erotic romance story, Capri Nights, which I hope to release by the end of the year. Then I’ll start on book three in the Redemption series, Anita’s Temptation.
When I got the rights back to my romantic suspense, Logan’s Redemption, an online friend who is a top-selling indie author urged me to publish Logan myself. I did and I’m so very happy that I did. Logan’s Redemption has been a top seller at Amazon and Apple. It was in print with The Wild Rose Press. Although my new cover is different, the book is mostly the same so I haven’t put the indie version into print. Two of my other books are in print: Loving Or Nothing and Murder, Mi Amore. I enjoy self-publishing because I have more control over the contents, cover, promotion, and I get to keep more of the royalties myself. I also like the idea of keeping all my options open, so I consider myself a hybrid author, a combination of traditionally published and indie published, with more emphasis on the indie.
What went into the process? Writing, editing, cover design, formatting, etc. Share your ups and downs and how you went about it. If you used a service, can you share?
What did you do to promote your work?
I maintain a constant online presence. I guest blog; I belong to a group blog, Romance Books 4 Us. I take out ads. I try to be careful of what promo money I spend, but I’m rarely sure which ads work. You know what they say about advertising: Only half works but no one knows which half.
All self-pubbed books are rumored to be shoddily edited. What do you say to that?
Some may be, but most of the indie books I’ve read are very well-written and edited. I always hire an editor for my indie books. I wouldn’t put up a book that wasn’t edited. I believe most of the indie authors who have also been traditionally published recognize the importance of good editing.
Do you have critique partners? How did your critique group form?
I have a face-to-face critique group that meets weekly. One member has over 20 books with Harlequin; another has 10 books with large publishers. The other two members aren’t published yet. I also have an online critique group that reads the finished product after I’ve revised according to feedback from my face-to-face group. I can get a little obsessive about polishing my story.
How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book? The mean girls from high school and ex-boyfriends and my ex-husband end up in my books. They’re always the villains. We writers have ways to exact our revenge.
Was your road to publication difficult or a walk in the park?
Very difficult. It took 10 long, hard years of writing, learning, rejections before I sold my first book, A Catered Affair, to Avalon Books. I have the rights back to that book and digitally published a sensual version under the title A Catered Romance.
Give us an elevator pitch for your book.
Here’s the pitch for my recent release, Franco’s Fortune, (Redemption Book 2), the romantic suspense sequel to Logan’s Redemption:
“When a female bodyguard is hired to protect a rich playboy, she finds saving his life is easier than protecting her heart.”
Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
My hero Franco Callahan in my latest book release, Franco’s Fortune, is the reformed playboy brother of the heroine Doriana from Logan’s Redemption. In Book 1, Franco is a selfish womanizer. I had to figure out a way to reform him. The Franco you meet in Book 2 is still fabulously wealthy, handsome and sexy. But he’s grown. He’s been forced to take over the family’s multi-national construction business. We learn things about Franco’s past, things he’s hidden from his family, that show he has a kind and caring heart, that he suffered from some of the same self-doubts that plague many of us. He used his playboy persona, not that he didn’t enjoy it, to hide his true character. Jo Fortune, his bodyguard, brings out all Franco’s protective instincts, even though she’s the one who’s supposed to protect him. These two help each other heal from deep hurts in their pasts.
Do you write under a pen name? Why or why not? How did you choose it?
My first book, with Avalon Books, was published under my real name, Carolyn Matkowsky. I always wanted to publish under my real name because I worked hard for lots of years and I wanted everyone to know I’d finally made it. However, readers had problems spelling and pronouncing my last name. In 2003 I was nominated as an up and coming author in a romance magazine’s readers’ poll. They fractured my name so badly I felt I couldn’t use the honor for promo. I decided then to take an easier name. I chose Cara because it’s a shortened form of Carolyn. I chose Marsi because it’s the name of a tribe from the region of Italy where my grandparents are from. We actually belong to another tribe, but that name is very long and difficult.
Blurbs, excerpts and buy links for all my books are on my website, www.caramarsi.com
Buy links for Franco’s Fortune:
Available on Amazon, BN, Kobo, Smashwords and Apple.