Greetings HTH Members!
This is Christy Carlyle, your HTH President, and I’m happy to introduce you to one of our board members, Ms. Minerva Spencer.
Christy: Before we start talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself and what you write?
Minerva: I write Regency Era romance and my first book, DANGEROUS, came out June 2018. BARBAROUS, book 2, is coming out October 30, 2018.
I live with my husband, a bunch of rescue poultry, and 4 big dogs in the mountains of Northern New Mexico.
CC: Do you write full-time or part-time?
MS: I am fortunate enough to be able to write full-time.
CC: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
MS: I didn’t start writing until I was 45, which was five years ago. I’ve always had jobs that were writing intensive, but I never considered a career as a writer. I wrote my first book in my head on a 6 hour driving trip in November 2013. I suppose I’ve written about 22 books since then. So, the writing bug kind of bit me with a vengeance.
CC: What drew you to write in the historical romance genre?
Historical romance was the only kind of romance I’d ever read (mainly Heyer and Holt). I didn’t read a contemporary until a couple years ago–but I already love them!
CC: What’s your favorite historical movie?
MS: Huh. That’s a toughie. Either The Scarlet Pimpernel with Anthony Andrews or the version of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth.
CC: Give us a brief rundown of your process. Are you a plotter, a pantser, or somewhere in the middle?
MS: I am a complete pantser. I sit down in the morning and don’t know what I’m going to write until I’ve written it. I wish I was a plotter, I find being a pantser stressful on those days when I am not feeling “it” and the words aren’t coming.
CC: Can you tell us a bit about your journey to publication?
MS: As I mentioned earlier, I wrote my first book pretty quickly, over the course of November and December 2013.
I focused on writing and cranked out several books over the next few years. I had a real mental block about query letters and only sent out two between 2014-2017 and those were….bad. Very bad.
I joined RWA in 2015 and entered a lot of contests because I didn’t belong to any writing groups or know any other writers and nobody had read my stuff! I live out in the boonies so I didn’t go to an actual RWA meeting until 2017. I wish I’d gone earlier, but…..Also, I didn’t have beta readers until the summer of 2016 (and then I hit the JACKPOT with 2 awesome betas!!)
My beta readers held my feet to the fire in November 2016. They made me promise to send out query letters by the end of January 2017.
I sent out 5 letters in early February 2017–4 to agents and 1 to an editor–and received a 3-book offer from Kensington about 3 weeks later. DANGEROUS, the first book in The Outcasts Series, came out in June 2018.
I was, obviously, very, very lucky on my journey to publication.
CC: Tell us about your latest release and what’s coming next for you.
MS: My next release is BARBAROUS, which is the second book in The Outcasts series. The series is set during the Regency Era and features older protagonists and also those characters who don’t always make it into traditional Regency.
Hugh Redvers is supposed to be dead. So the appearance of the sun-bronzed giant with the piratical black eye patch is deeply disturbing to Lady Daphne Davenport. And her instant attraction to the notorious privateer is not only wildly inappropriate for a proper widow but potentially disastrous.Because he is also the man Daphne has secretly cheated of title, lands, and fortune.
She could be his salvation
Daphne Redvers’ distant, untouchable beauty and eminently touchable body are hard enough to resist. But the prim, almost severe, way she looks at him suggests this might be the one woman who can make him forget all the others. His only challenge? Unearthing the enemy who threatens her life . . . and uncovering the secrets in her cool blue eyes.
CC: What’s the hardest part of writing?
MS: Having faith in my work. I worried about whether my writing was good enough before I was published and I still have plenty of moments of indecision. People criticize everything about an author–from her work to the author herself–and I’m learning quickly to develop a hard shell and only listen to people I know and trust.
CC: What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
MS: I don’t know who said this, but you can’t edit what you don’t write. That really keeps me going when I’m bogged down.
CC: Do you have any writing advice for our readers?
MS: I never give advice about what people should write or how they should write it. Writing is a highly personal endeavor for me and I assume it is for other people, too.
However, I would offer a piece of advice about the BUSINESS of writing. Never let other people rob you of your joy in writing. Don’t let them tell you what to write or what you can’t write.
This business is utterly subjective and arbitrary. Just because you haven’t yet met your editor, agent, or fan-base yet doesn’t mean you aren’t a good writer. The publishing industry is a crapshoot and sometimes it takes a long time to find the people who love your work–but they are out there, you just need a chance to get your writing in front of them.
CC: Thanks for joining us today, Minerva! You can find out more about Minerva at the following links.
Minerva Spencer was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She’s lived in Canada, the US, Europe, Africa, and Mexico. After receiving her M.A. in Latin American History from The University of Houston she taught American History for five years before going to law school. She was a prosecutor and labor lawyer before purchasing a bed and breakfast in Taos, NM, where she lives with her husband and dozens of rescue animals.