Mandy Harbin is an award-winning, bestselling author of several books across multiple romance genres ranging from contemporary to paranormal erotic romance. She is also the number one bestselling author in teen romance under the pen name M.W. Muse with her popular Goddess Series. She is a Superstar Award recipient, Reader’s Crown and RWA Passionate Plume finalist, and has received Night Owl Reviews Top Pick distinction many times. She studied writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, earned several degrees, and even pursued an MBA until she realized becoming an author did not have to remain an unfulfilled dream. Mandy is a PAN member of the RWA and lives in a small Arkansas town with her non-traditional family, and although she is a direct descendant of British royalty, they refuse to call her princess. When she’s not penning her latest book, you can find her hanging out online where she loves to connect with fellow readers or stalking Mickey Mouse at Disney World.
What inspires you to write?
Just about everything inspires me. Sometimes just hearing a song will make the plot bunnies jump. Inspiration can come from anywhere, and the source might be totally unrelated to what sparks it.
Tell us about your writing process.
I’m an outliner. I have to know how I think my story is going to start and end before I even finish it. I also need to know most of the major events prior to drafting. But I don’t live and die by my outlines. I still let the story take me where it wants to go. I treat outlining more as a road map, and when I start the journey, I might find a better route.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I definitely listen to my characters. I’ve tried forcing them to do what I want, but it never works out as well when I do what they want to do. Sometimes they get unruly and I have to bring them back to where they need to be, but if I don’t give them their voice, the story falls flat.
What advice would you give other writers?
Read and write as much as you can. As simple as it sounds you learn so much by doing both.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I first published with small digital-first publishers. After problems with one that I had to fight to get my rights back (and is now defunct), I took that book and self-published it with the rest of the series. It was my first try at going at it alone. It was extremely difficult to do it the right way, but the rewards have been amazing. I still publish with smaller publishers, but I also now have an agent who shops new manuscripts to larger houses and negotiates the foreign rights to my self-published work. For me the decision evolved over time. I don’t believe there is one right way or wrong way to do it.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I’m very excited about what the future holds for publishing. I’m what industry professionals call a “hybrid” author. As I get rights to my backlist books, I self-publish them. I also self-publish new projects in addition to continuing my relationships with the publishers I’ve worked with in the past and forming new partnerships with others. I don’t believe in putting all my energy into one methodology.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?
Romance, Erotic Romance, New Adult Romance, Teen Romance, Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Romance
What formats are your books in?
eBook, Print, Both eBook and Print