About Linda O’Connor:
I live in Ontario, Canada. My house is on the water, and I usually sit and write where I can look at the lake. When the weather is warm, I’ll write outside.
I balance writing with my work as a physician at an Urgent Care Clinic and being a mom to three sons (luckily grown and capable of throwing together a decent meal, in a pinch). I wrote my first book 4 years ago and can’t believe how much I’ve learned. It’s also hard to believe I didn’t own a laptop 7 years ago – now for writing, online courses, editing, connecting with readers, I couldn’t live without one. And I’m at the point where I can type as fast as I think!
What inspires you to write?
Actually, I never thought I’d be a writer. When I was in university, a professor told me that I had no command of the English language (although I’ve taken A LOT of workshops so maybe he was right :D) But as a physician, I thought there was a need to disseminate basic medical information – like recognizing mental health symptoms, birth control myths, and basic preventative health care – in new and innovative ways. I had the idea to share the information in a romance novel, weaving it in the story and incorporating it into the activities I do on social media and through the book promotion. I hoped it would be a bit more appealing that the myriad of educational posters up in my office!
Tell us about your writing process.
I start with an idea for the beginning, middle, and end of the story and then develop the characters. I try to get to know them very well, and I have to nail down their names. Male names are the hardest because I don’t want to use my sons’ names or the names of any of their friends. It has to be a completely new person in my head and not remind me of anyone (kind of like naming a child!). I’ve tried to make a detailed plot outline, but the characters often do something unexpected and it goes off the rails. Usually by the fifth chapter I can start to outline in more detail.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I can’t say I talk to my characters, but I definitely picture them in my head and watch the scene unfold before I write it down. Sometimes an unexpected response in one of their conversations or something the character does throws a monkey wrench in the story.
What advice would you give other writers?
Before I started writing I heard this advice: write what you know. I thought it meant that I should write about doctors because that’s what I know. The first 2 books in the Perfectly Series are about doctors, but I didn’t appreciate how easy it was for me to write authentically about medical characters until I wrote about Rip, a police officer in Perfectly Planned (Book 3 in the Perfectly Series). It was the small details – how do the team members interact after hours, do they use nicknames, what are the colloquial terms for their equipment – that I really had to research. Luckily, I have a friend who patiently answered all of my questions as they cropped up. But going through that I truly appreciated how effortlessly I could bring an accurate medical feel to my writing. Obviously, it is possible for others too – it would just take more research!
But that was just part of the advice. I think ‘write what you know’ also means to write in the genres that you read or at least, start reading the genre you are interested in writing. And read widely to improve your writing.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
After I wrote my first book, She’s Not a Fan, I gave it to a friend to read. She really liked it! That was a huge rush – and that’s when I decided that one day I would like to have a book published. Perfectly Honest (Book 1 in the Perfectly Series) was actually the fourth novel I’d written, but the first I thought had a spark. At the time, self-publishing wasn’t quite as accepted as it is now, so I decided to try the traditional publishing route first and see what happened. I sent off query letters to 5 publishers, and Soul Mate Publishing was the first to offer me a contract. That was very exciting, and it’s been wonderful to work with Debby Gilbert and her team!! But by the time I was ready to release Perfectly Planned, Book 3, self-publishing was widely accepted. I attended the National RWA conference in New York and was inspired by the romance authors who had gone from the traditional publishing to self-publishing, and I decided to try it. Wow – another whole learning curve! There is a lot involved, but I had taken a self-publishing workshop with Magda Alexander (I highly recommend it if she offers it again), and I read all of the material that the platforms provide. I really love having control over the cover, being able to update/make changes up until the release date, seeing the impact of marketing efforts on sales, and being able to order print copies of the book right away.
Both traditional and indie publishing have their pros and cons. I think it comes down to deciding how much control you want and how much time you want to spend writing vs. wearing a publisher’s hat.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I think the future looks bright for romance novel publishing. I never tire of a happily-ever-after ending, and I think a lot of romance readers feel the same way. And romance readers are voracious readers so they’re always looking for a new story and a fresh voice. I have a huge following who love print copies of my books – so although electronic versions are economical and practical (especially for travel and commuting), I don’t think print will go out of style for a while.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: I write contemporary romantic comedies. Usually with a medical bent :D. I also write short stories with a twist in the tale.
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit, to allow you, the reader, to hear the author in their own voice.