About Winter Austin:
Winter Austin perpetually answers the question: “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope.” Having returned to her home state, Winter has stepped into the chaotic world of a full-time wife, mom, author, and employee.
A lifelong Mid-West gal, Winter grew up listening to the captivating stories told by relatives around the table or a campfire. Since becoming a published author, she learned a mindset of a glass half-empty personality makes for a perfect suspense/thriller author. Taking her ability to verbally spin a vivid and detailed story, Winter translated that into writing deadly romantic suspense, mysteries, and thrillers.
What inspires you to write?
A lot of the time it's something I heard about, or read, or even watched. My imagination is wild and it never stops. I listen to certain types of music when the mood hits while I'm driving to and from my day job and that really inspires me, and gives me great scenes to put in my books. What if? is my favorite question.
What authors do you read when you aren’t writing?
Oh, there are lots. Inspirationally, I love reading Nalini Singh and Craig Johnson. I try to read outside of the genres I write in when I'm writing because I try to compare myself too much to the author I'm reading. I go on Regency romance & mystery binges with Julia Quinn and C. S. Harris. And my go to thriller authors are Brad Thor, Jack Carr, and Vince Flynn. Suspense authors are Tess Gerritsen and C. J. Box. I have a continuous list of authors I love to read.
Tell us about your writing process.
Mostly it is coming up with the basic idea, knowing how it's going to end, and then just writing. I'm a very organic writer ie a seat of the pants writer, I let the characters tell me where their story is going. Any time I try to step in and tell them what to do I end up writing garbage. Deadlines tend to be great motivators.
I used to come up with great character details, goal, motivation, and conflict. But have gone away from that as the story tends to change on what I originally thought. My Pinterest boards for my books are my motivators. In the end, it's the characters who tell me what's going to happen. I call this my vomit on page stage, get it out all, and edit it later.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Yes, I listen to them closely. And it gets hard, because there are a lot of them as I'm writing on multiple series at the same time. Whomever has center stage tends to linger around longer and not the let the next set come in. It takes me months sometimes to get my mood flipped from one series to the next.
What advice would you give other writers?
Never let anyone tell you that you can't write what you don't know or what you aren't. We as authors are beyond capable of learning and researching. Reach out to people who are or do the things you want to write about. Grow, learn, and never stop. But always remember to sprinkle in a bit of yourself and your life experiences into your writing. It makes the book more reader relatable.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I started out in this business, self-publishing/indie was not a thing, it wasn't even in the infancy stages. A few years later it began to make movements, but I wanted to be published with a house, big one too. So I went with an agent, and moved through two more before I went freelance.
For a long time I let that first agent dictate what I should or shouldn't be writing and it made me miserable, because that agent had me chasing trends. My second agent let me be who I am, and with it came the decision to leave the market I was trying to get published in and into the small trade house I ended up with. Best decision ever.
Eight books later, and another agent, that small publisher got picked up by a big house, and then they closed the line. I got the rights back on my books and self-pubbed them. Fired that last agent and went at it on my own. I learned a lot about how to negotiate my own contracts and ended up following my former editor to her new publishing house. I also signed with a second, smaller, publishing house and loving it. In the end, I'm a mix of indie and small publishing houses, and it fits me.
As a new writer, you do you. But always remember, there is someone out there with more power and pull who will get picked over you. Never diss the small houses and always uses certified editors.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
It has been over twenty years since I started this journey and I remember the days when fear ran rampant with the big houses when ebooks came into the mix. Everyone thought the physical book would die a horrible death and we've never see it again. HA! That doesn't seem to be the case.
As long as there are readers, there will be authors. Ebooks forced a whole sect of consumers and buyers to realize, you can sell more if you keep costs down. A new generation is driving the advancement of how and why books are published, and they need to be considered in all things.
Also, I love the advancement of tech with books. My self-published books are on a cool reading app that works for those people who don't have time, or patience, to sit and read a book. They can consume the books in chunks and earn prizes while they're at it. This is how the future of publishing is going to go. And unfortunately, some are still sticks in the mud and refusing to change with the times.
What genres do you write?: Romantic Suspense/Thrillers, Mystery, Suspense, Romantic Military Thrillers
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print, Audiobook
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.