Episode 71: The Extras: Take Two, with Mary Alice Monroe

In this special episode of Authors Love Readers, host Patricia McLinn shares parts of her conversation with writer Mary Alice Monroe that were not included in the original episode. The conversation moves from McLinn’s “getting to know you” questions to deeper issues about plagiarism and being in the moment during writing and research.

Monroe, a New York Times bestselling author, found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful writer, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Living in the midst of a quickly changing habitat gave her a strong and important focus for her novels.

In the authors words: “When I’m doing my research, I’m observant and my antennas are up, but I don’t have a story. I’m just totally in the moment … whether it’s a turtle or a dolphin or whatever animal I’m with.” [23:24]

More about Mary Alice Monroe can be found at her:




mary alice monroe

Episode 69: Fears and Purpose in Fiction Writing, with Mary Alice Monroe

New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe found her true calling in environmental fiction when she moved to coastal South Carolina. Already a successful author, she was captivated by the beauty and fragility of her new home. Living in the midst of a quickly changing habitat gave her a strong and important focus for her novels.

Mary Alice talks with host Patricia McLinn about using her fears of natural disasters and her desire to educate people on the impact of climate change as the catalysts for her writing.

In her own words: ‘That’s why I write about [climate change]. I think evacuation is going to become a major concern of every American, all humans on this planet, in the next decade as we face natural disasters and also droughts and food shortages.’ [14:18]

You can learn more about Mary Alice at her:






mary alice monroe

Thank you so much for listening. We hope you enjoyed the podcast enough to want to support us for future episodes. You can do that with as little as $1 a month by pledging at Patreon. It’s vital to Authors Love Readers to have your support. Thank you!

Please also consider rating/reviewing the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.

Leaving Episode 45: Characters Behind, with Julianne MacLean

Julianne MacLean is a USA Today bestselling author of more than 30 novels, including historical romance and the contemporary women’s fiction Color of Heaven series. MacLean is a four-time Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and has won the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Book Buyers Best Award, and a Reviewers’ Choice Award from the Romantic Times for Best Regency Historical Romance of 2005 (Love According to Lily). She earned a degree in English literature from the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and a degree in business administration from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. She has also lived in New Zealand, Canada, and England, and currently resides on the east coast of Canada. Host Patricia McLinn talks with Julianne about making characters suffer and moving on from them. 

In Julianne’s words: “So the ones that I’ve written about before… I’ve given them their story… and set them on their way. … I will think about my books, and I will think about my characters fondly, but I don’t miss them. I don’t feel like I need to tell more of their story.” [21:30]

You can find Julianne on:

*Her Website



Thank you so much for listening. We hope you enjoyed the podcast enough to want to support us for future episodes. You can do that with as little as $1 a month — that’s only 25 cents per episode! What a deal! — by pledging at Patreon. It’s vital to Authors Love Readers to have your support. Thank you!

Please also consider rating/reviewing the podcast wherever you listen to podcasts.

Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.

Episode 35: Doing What Is Necessary, with Barbara O’Neal

Barbara O’Neal is a seven-time Romance Writers of America RITA award winner and a recent inductee into the RWA Hall of Fame. She has written 11 novels of women’s fiction, about dogs and food, families and second chances. Her most recent novel, The Art of Inheriting Secrets, was released in July. Host Patricia McLinn talks with Barbara about her transition from romance to women’s fiction, killing off a former teacher in one book and doing whatever is necessary to support her work.

In Barbara’s Words: “This is not an easy path … everything that I managed to pull off, including college. I put myself through college, [by] doing things like UPS, and I waited tables for 15 years. … I’ve always been willing to do whatever was necessary to support the work.” (21:31)

You can find Barbara on:

*Her website



Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.

authors love readers barbara o'neal

Episode 23: The Weight of the Past, with Shelley Adina

Shelley Adina is the author of 24 novels published by Harlequin, Warner and Hachette, and a dozen more published by Moonshell Books, her own independent press. She writes steampunk, contemporary romance, and young adult fiction, and as Adina Senft, writes women’s fiction set among the Amish and other plain communities. Host Patricia McLinn talks with Shelley about writing in multiple genres, using past experiences, and even overcoming bullying.

You can find Shelley on:

*Her website,

*Facebook and


Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.

authors love readers shelley adina

Episode 11: Being at Home With Ourselves, with Emilie Richards

Emilie Richards writes about romance, life and the bonds between women. She talks with host Patricia McLinn about her careful plot development, advance planning for novels, and love for books of all genres. She also shares touching advice on living life authentically and interacting with readers.

You can find Emilie on:

*her website,

*Facebook and


Thanks to DialogMusik for the instrumentals that accompany this podcast.

Authors Love Readers with Emilie Richards

Patricia McLinn [00:00] Welcome to this week’s Authors Love Readers podcast, where we delve into the stories behind the stories. We’re asking authors questions. Some of them fun, some of them serious, and from their answers, you’re going to learn things you never knew about the people who write the stories you love.

My name is Patricia McLinn. I’m your host and designated question asker.

Emilie Richards [00:23] I’m Emilie Richards, and I’m an author who loves readers.

Patricia McLinn [00:27] Now, let’s start the show. Hi, this is Patricia McLinn. I’m delighted to have Emilie Richards here today for this edition of Authors Love Readers podcast. I got to know Emilie when she moved to Arlington, Virginia. Mm, some number of years ago when I was living there, already living there. And Emilie was a very well established, very well known romance author, very hot, very much respected.

And it was my pleasure and delight to get to know her. And then she and Diane Chamberlain and I, um, all lived in the area. All of us had dogs and we all understood that. So we’d get together once a month, uh, and have dinner together and talk writing and the business and, and all the vagaries of, um, being an author. And now none of us live in the area. We’ve all gone different directions, but we stay in touch.

Patricia McLinn [01:25] Um, the other thing I wanted… I was thinking about this beforehand, Emilie, is the workshop that we did at a Romance Writers of America national conference called Writing from the Inside Out or the Outside In. And it was, it was such a clear delineation of how differently we approach things.

Emilie Richards [01:47] Boy, that’s the truth.

Patricia McLinn [01:49] And we’ll probably, we’ll probably get into this again later, but, uh, I remember very vividly that Emilie had this very neatly typed out talk and followed it, and you know, was all organized. And I had mine with arrows crossed out and little added notes to the side and, you know, move this here and change that.

And that’s very much how, the difference in how we create. But I know you. Let’s let the readers and the listeners know you a little bit more. So we’re just going to do some fun questions here. Do you have a favorite color and why?

Emilie Richards [02:32] Well, Pat, you and I’ve had this discussion. I love purple and hate orange, and you love orange and hate purple.

Patricia McLinn [02:38] Yup. We do.

Emilie Richards [02:41] And why do I love purple?

Patricia McLinn [02:43] We’re opposites in many ways.

Emilie Richards [02:44] I don’t know, there’s just something calming. And it goes to me, it, to me, it’s almost a basic, a neutral, it goes with everything.

Patricia McLinn [02:50] No. But I wish that it did, you know, that’s interesting. Because purple is calming, and I liked the vibrancy of orange that, you know, you may have hit on something there. Um, okay, favorite tastes.

Emilie Richards [03:03] Favorite tastes. Oh, salt and vinegar potato chips.

Patricia McLinn [03:06] Have you held any surprising jobs?

Emilie Richards [03:10] You know, the, when, when I saw that question, I thought, Man, I did have one that was really strange. I worked as a temper— A temp, um, during college in the summers. And I got assigned to the NRA, to their mailroom. Cause I was living in Washington, DC.

And I would have to open up the envelopes. All this money would fall out. People were just, just so involved and so supportive and they would send these dirty dollar bills. It was, it was a real eye-opener for me to work there for the, I was there for three days and I remember them very well.

Patricia McLinn [03:45] Wow. I had never heard that story, so that is a great, great new story. This is one of the great things about doing this podcast is learning more things about people I know.

Emilie Richards [03:57] That’s good.

Patricia McLinn [03:58] So that, that’s really fun. Yeah. Um, do you have any strong fears and do you use them in books?

Emilie Richards [04:05] You know, I am afraid of high bridges. And which is one of those odd things since I grew up in Florida and I’m living here now, again, uh, and there are, as you can imagine, a lot of bridges. And I know where the fear comes from because my parents used to fish on bridges when I was a child. And so they put the fear of God into me about, you know, being careful when I was on the bridges with them.

But have I ever used it in a book? I would have said no, except that I just re-edited one of my older romances. And there’s a scene in the book, which is off-scene, but it’s discussed where somebody drives off of the high bridge and dies. So I guess I have used it.

Patricia McLinn [04:43] Do you, do you access the, the feeling that you get on a bridge to, to, uh, convey other, to convey character’s fear?

Emilie Richards [04:53] Probably not consciously.

Patricia McLinn [04:56] No, but maybe underneath. I always remember. I, I was Out West and was across this bridge over, really a gorge. And I had seen a sign where it said 900 feet. You know that it was 900 feet below, and then you went a little farther onto the bridge and there was a sign that said, No Fishing. Which made me laugh. I couldn’t imagine having, you’d have to have 902 feet of line.

Emilie Richards [05:24] I love that. I bet you didn’t have a photo of that.

Patricia McLinn [05:28] I know, I know. It was the days before having a camera all the time with you.

Emilie Richards [05:34] You know what’s interesting, Pat, it, just an aside is that I’ve talked to two other well-known writers, both of whom are afraid of bridges, and both of them live, one lives in here in Florida and the other lives in South Carolina. So I don’t know if there’s, you know, if this is a common fear among writers or if I just happened to run across the only two who are, but I thought that was interesting.

Patricia McLinn [05:53] Now, I don’t like where you cannot tell where the road goes. And sometimes that happens in, on bridges. But I had somebody tell me that was not, that was not a fear that was a rational reaction.

Emilie Richards [06:06] I like that.

Patricia McLinn [06:07] Well, I suspect that it’s because that person also felt the same way about it.

Emilie Richards [06:13] I know exactly what you mean now.

Oz books and rewriting Gone with the Wind ending

Patricia McLinn [06:17] Can you share with us a childhood book that addicted you to stories?

Emilie Richards [06:21] Well, I was a huge fan of the Oz books. All of the Oz books. And our library was like a one room library for, the children’s room was one room where I can, I can picture, I can just picture it so clearly the way it smelled and the way the books felt that these Oz books were all first additions with the original illustrations.

And they were just, I just, I couldn’t, I couldn’t get enough of them. I read them. I reread them. I checked them out. I read them again. And I think that a lot of my love of stories started there.

Patricia McLinn [06:53] Those were, I read those. Actually, my sister read them out loud to me. She was home from college and I was in second grade, I think. And I had back to back, I had the measles and then the mumps or the mumps and then the measles. And so I remember all those stories where the scarecrow was running Oz, right?

Emilie Richards [07:12] For a while he did. Yeah. First started life as a boy and turned into a girl. He actually started as a girl, turned into a boy and then turned into a girl. I mean, there was just all these little twists and turns and fun things.

Patricia McLinn [07:25] Yeah.

Emilie Richards [07:26] I just loved it.

Patricia McLinn [07:27] Yeah. Do you have any stories that you can remember from your pre-author days that you mentally rewrote the ending for? Cause you thought it just wasn’t right.

Emilie Richards [07:37] Well, I think the classic one would be Gone with the Wind. I think every romance person in the world had came up with their own scenario of what happened after Rhett Butler stormed out of the house. And I just, I, that’s, that was the first thing that leapt to mind was how many times and how many different ways I rewrote that story.

Patricia McLinn [07:56] Do you have a favorite?

Emilie Richards [07:58] Favorite way in the way it ended?

Patricia McLinn [08:00] Yeah, in a way you ended it?

Emilie Richards [08:02] Well, probably not. I think the fun was in doing.

Patricia McLinn [08:06] That’s, that’s a really insightful thing about writing too, that you need to have the fun and the doing.

Emilie Richards [08:13] Exactly. If it’s not fun, there’s no point.

Patricia McLinn [08:15] There are a lot of, I often say there are a lot of easier ways to make a living, including, you know, some bad jobs, but…

Emilie Richards [08:22] Easier, but not as much fun.

Patricia McLinn [08:24] True. How about, Emilie, have you had things that like earlier in your life, you really, that really got to you, you know, maybe you fretted over them. You gave them a lot of thought and now you think, Eh, you know, who cares.

Emilie Richards [08:40] I think this is incredibly boring, cause I imagine almost everybody listening can identify with this, but that whole sense of needing to fit in and always feeling like I was always a step ahead or a step behind or a step to the side, maybe. Um, uh, and I think part of that is, is being the kind of person who turns into an author.

Um, I was always analyzing things and looking for details and trying to figure things out or rewriting scenarios in my mind. Um, and that’s probably not the easiest way to fit in. Um, now, of course, I don’t really care. Because I found my group of people I want to fit in with, but also it’s just not, it’s not a driving force in my life. I am happy with who I am. Um, and I wish I had been happier with myself and understood myself better as an adolescent, but that’s part of what being an adolescent is.

Patricia McLinn [09:32] Oh, very true. Very true. And you touched on that part of being what an author is, the kind of person an author is. How do you think authors are? I’m guessing you do think authors tend to be different from—

Emilie Richards [09:46] I do.

Patricia McLinn [09:47] I want to say normal people.

Emilie Richards [09:50] You can say normal people. I do think we’re different. And I, and I think it takes us many, many years to realize that not everybody thinks about the world or analyzes the world or tries to figure out what’s happening in everything that, in every incident in their life, what’s behind it and how they can twist it around to make it work a different way or, or fantasize about it.

That’s just not something everybody does. And I think once you realize it, it is a little different. Um, and that’s a really, that’s kind of an interesting moment in your life when you go like, Oh, I’m doing this because I’m a writer. And that’s a good feeling, really.

Patricia McLinn [10:27] I remember when my second book came out, it was set in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which is my dad’s hometown. And my sister-in-law, um, had read it and she, and we’d spent time walking the beach in Gloucester at various family reunions. And she said, Now, I know why you were noting all those details, you know, I never understood why you would say, Oh, look at that house and, and see how the, the ocean goes this way around here and that way around there.

Emilie Richards [10:59] It is important to you and not necessarily so to her. And I’m sure you stored it up and used it.

Patricia McLinn [11:03] Yep. So it finally made sense, sense to her. And I was like, Oh.

Emilie Richards [11:09] I really think that if everybody could take who they are and understand it and understand that it’s okay. And then it probably is going to figure into their future. It would help so much, but just the moment you realize that all those things that you’ve thought and done, we’re really helping you become the person who can, in this case, write books or for someone else play the piano or teach math in college or whatever. Those are the things that made you that person. I think we’d all be a lot more relaxed with ourselves.

Patricia McLinn [11:38] Wouldn’t, isn’t that the truth and, and appreciate those things. And as you said, as an adolescent, they make you different. And that’s really hard to appreciate as an adolescent because you want to be just like all the other people, but then those are the ones that you build on to create a life.

Emilie Richards [11:55] And I think if you’re lucky as an adult, and you feel good about yourself, you can look back on that and go, Oh, that wasn’t as bad as I thought that was all part of becoming who I am. And that’s great.

Patricia McLinn [12:05] Yeah. And this sort of segues from that, you know, being an adolescent and learning those lessons, do you have, do you remember sayings, your mother or your father using that you can hear yourself coming out with now?

Emilie Richards [12:19] Well, I hate to get political, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear comes to mind. So yeah, I find myself—

Patricia McLinn [12:29] Okay.

Emilie Richards [12:30] —I find myself saying that a lot these days.

Patricia McLinn [12:31] Do you have, I do, I know, bad habit words when you’re writing?

Emilie Richards [12:36] Yeah. The one that just comes to mind right away is thing. I just, and I use it so much in speech. I say thing. And when I go back and edit, there are so many things in my work I have to get rid of all the things.

Patricia McLinn [12:52] And I, I have previously admitted that mine, just and really are very bad for me and very comes in to. And then I go back and I think, There is no way I use this word this many times.

Emilie Richards [13:04] I know.

Patricia McLinn [13:05] How’d it get in there?

Emilie Richards [13:07] We can actually sort of do a count using our work, our word processing programs, and that’s a frightening thing.

Patricia McLinn [13:13] It’s horrifying. It’s absolutely horrifying, especially because at least I’m conscious of it. I know which ones are my bad ones. And then there’ll be an additional one or two that crop up kind of ad hoc in each book. Yeah.

Emilie Richards [13:29] The book that I just, I just edited, uh, I first had, uh, a professional editor look at it because I liked the story, but I knew there were things wrong with it. And she, she must’ve taken out 500 incidences of the word, you know, terror, terrified, terror-stricken. And yes, she had every reason to be afraid, but it did get pounded down in the book. I don’t think I normally do that, but in that book, I just, I apparently liked the word and used it many, many times.

Patricia McLinn [13:59] We all do it. We all do it. Those of us who are good, take them out.

Emilie Richards [14:08] And somebody’s got a better eye than we do to take them out, of course.

Patricia McLinn [14:12] Yes, that helps. Okay. What three movies are you going to take with you to my wonderful desert Island that, oddly, will let you play movies but only allows you to have three.

Emilie Richards [14:25] This is one strange Island. Okay. Well, I mean, having already told you about my Oz, um, uh, experiences, I would have to say the Wizard of Oz, which I never, ever get tired of watching. I love the Wizard of Oz. I really do.

Then I was looking for something more recent and I couldn’t come up with anything too recent, although I just saw Coco. Uh, the, the Disney cartoon and it, it was just fabulous. I wouldn’t mind having Coco with me.

But the one that came to mind was, uh, an, an odd romance called Monsoon Wedding, which is set in India. And I just loved that movie. And I think I would love having that movie and watching it over and over again. I just, there was so many, so many interesting things and so many, so much honest emotion, and I really loved it. So, I guess that’s three right there.

Patricia McLinn [15:16] That’s terrific. Okay, we have a question here from, um, a reader. And I’m curious about this, cause I know, I think I know what it used to be in Arlington, but I’d like to hear, and, uh, now that you’ve left Northern Virginia. Um, what is your favorite place to write and why? Does it have an inspirational view?

Emilie Richards [15:37] Oh, that’s a great question. The le— The less inspirational view, the better. When we, when we moved into this house, which is in Florida, there was a beautiful den in the back of the house with a gorgeous view of, uh, a pond and woods and no houses. It’s just gorgeous with all kinds of birds and alligators. And I loved it.

And I absolutely tr— I, everybody said, you have to use this as your study. And I kept thinking, I’m not sure. But I gave it a try, and about two years later, I said, I cannot write in this room. It was too distracting. It was also too close to the center of things going on in the house.

And so I secluded myself in the front bedroom, which actually has two doors between me and the world. It was a lot of work to move and it was the best thing I ever did. And my view is the side of my neighbor’s house which doesn’t even have any windows. And I just love it. It’s perfect.

Patricia McLinn [16:33] I had, I had a choice in this house of whether to be at the front of the house or the back, and I chose the back and I do have windows, but I look at the top of trees, you know, into trees. So I knew if I, if I had that room in the front, I would be watching all the activity—

Emilie Richards [16:52] Absolutely.

Patricia McLinn [16:53] —on the street and everything. The downside is I managed to choose the how, the room that is the coldest in the winter and the hottest in the summer.

Emilie Richards [17:03] Oh, that’s too bad. That’s too bad.

Patricia McLinn [17:04] But no distractions.

Emilie Richards [17:06] Yeah. And the distractions are big for me. And I know that they’re people who really want to be in a beautiful environment, but I find that what I really want to look at is my video monitor. And that’s all I want to see. I don’t want to be thinking about anything else I just want to do that.

Patricia McLinn [17:21] So do you watch the words as they appear on the screen? Do you need that visual?

Emilie Richards [17:26] I do. And I go, I don’t know if you do this, but I go back and edit. I know, I’ve, I’ve read all the books that say you shouldn’t do this and I don’t care, it works for me. I go back and edit sentence by sentence over and over again as I write. I don’t want to leave something that I’m uncomfortable with in any way, because then it inhibits me from moving forward.

So I just get, I work and work on sentences until I have them the way I want them. And of course, there’s many more edits that happen during, you know, until the book is published. At a certain point I know it’s good enough, and I’ll move on. But until then, I really can’t move on.

Patricia McLinn [17:57] Yeah. I, I’m changing things around. I’m not, I’m probably not as polished as you before I move on because I write out of sequence. And so I’ll, I’ll jump around. I will, if, if something’s really flowing, but I, I know I don’t have the right word or I need a little something, I will use brackets. And WD is my thing for, you know, look for a better word or check CHK or, you know, I do different things to, to alert myself, but always in the brackets to come back to.

But if I could not cut and paste, I could not write. I have to be able to move things around and you start, I don’t understand how people can dictate because you start thinking along one line and then you realize, but where I ended up in this paragraph is really where it should have started and I have to cut, you know, then cut and paste and move that I…

Emilie Richards [18:50] And then—

Patricia McLinn [18:51] I do not know how I could dictate.

Emilie Richards [18:52] —you have to do it right then while you’re thinking about it, instead of saying, Oh, I’m sure I’ll catch it later. No, I won’t catch it later because I won’t go and get any farther. Cause it will still be on my mind.

Patricia McLinn [19:01] That’s a really good point that you have to, you kind of have to, it has to clear the hurdle in your mind and then you can keep moving on. So another reader asks, question that is, uh, well, it’s going to be a two parts. First part is from the reader and the, where do your stories come from? And she says, I know one author who dreams her stories. Another has a character suddenly taking up residence in her head. So how are your beautiful stories born?

Emilie Richards [19:30] Well, you know, everyone is different and I think that’s insightful in itself that, that we, we have to realize that we’re not going to do everything the same way every time. Um, and so if you’re, if you’re hope, if you’re waiting to dream it, you may not dream it. If you’re waiting for a character to take over a conversation in your head that may not happen.

You have to really, I think, yeah, you have to be on the lookout for story everywhere. But you know, the old, what if thing is, I don’t know how many times somebody has said something to me and I think, well, that’s interesting, but what if, and then I’m off and running.

Patricia McLinn [20:07] Ummhmm.

Emilie Richards [20:08] And that can be a snack, a little snippet of conversation. It can be an article in the paper, which is a great source. One ads are wonderful.

Patricia McLinn [20:19] Oh, fascinating.

Emilie Richards [20:20] There’s just all these things and you just, you can, um. But that’s how my stories were born and sometimes it’s a character or sometimes it’s an event. Sometimes it’s a setting. And interestingly enough, the last book I wrote called The Swallow’s Nest, which came out this summer, it was really the story of the nesting behavior of swallows. And that sort of just suggested the entire story to me. So you just never know.

Patricia McLinn [20:42] Do you find that a book is easier or harder to write depending on where the story came from initially?

Emilie Richards [20:49] No. I don’t. I think, I think that whatever, the, the initial idea is, and whatever the catalyst for that story was, you, you know, you, your mind takes over and you do so much twisting and turning. And how about this? And no, or maybe they would have done that, no.

So it it’s almost like the idea. In fact, an awful lot of times, the idea itself is, is just, doesn’t even show up in the story. I mean, the catalyst that, the thing that got you thinking to start with doesn’t even end up in the book. I think that that’s important for people to know that you don’t really have to use it, you have to use it to help you, help you move forward in into a story.

Patricia McLinn [21:29] Have you ever used the same catalyst in more than one book?

Emilie Richards [21:33] Ooh, that’s a good question. Have I ever used the same catalyst? Well, in the sense that I’ve done a series, I did a series about quilters. And quilts, uh, set in the Shen, the Shenandoah Valley and the quilt that features in each story really has a lot to do with the story that the way that it’s peace or whatever. And so that I use the same, uh, sort of the same basic catalyst, although each one was a little different.

Quilting, music educator, music therapist

Patricia McLinn [21:58] Is there anything that you’re really good at that some people might not know you’re really good at?

Emilie Richards [22:03] Probably not. I mean, I’m a mediocre—

Patricia McLinn [22:06] I know, I know, quilting.

Emilie Richards [22:08] I’m a mediocre quilter.

Patricia McLinn [22:10] You are fabulous quilter.

Emilie Richards [22:13] Well, I like quilting. I like quilting and I really enjoy the process a lot. I also, I also really like music. I started out, my plan was to become a musician and uh, at one time a music educator, another time a music therapist. I pursued both of those and realized that I didn’t love it enough and you really have to love it a lot.

But I’ve had a lot of fun recently because I had an opportunity to get to know some, some young people who are on their way to the top in the music field. And, um, and so I’ve been able to draw on some of my old experiences and that’s really been fun. So I would say music more than quilting because I wrote about quilting, but I’ve never really written about music.

Patricia McLinn [22:53] Do you think you will, write about music?

Emilie Richards [22:56] Probably not. For the same reasons I didn’t, um, I didn’t pursue it as a career. I probably, I did write actually I did write a book about a, um, a singer songwriter, a popular singer songwriter, and that was fun, but that was a whole different, that’s a whole different genre than I was involved with.

Patricia McLinn [23:12] I was thinking that, um, people have said to me, Oh, why don’t I write about newspaper journalists or, you know, people particularly at the Washington Post. And, uh, especially people would say that, uh, you know, Write a romance set in there. I said, It’s not romantic, it’s work. You know, What are you talking about?

Emilie Richards [23:31] You know, sometimes you know too much, don’t you?

Patricia McLinn [23:33] Yeah.

Emilie Richards [23:34] You know too much to be able to fudge.

Patricia McLinn [23:36] Yeah. That’s really true. So I want to go back to the, to the idea of, uh, the catalyst. How many books, how many titles have you had published?

Emilie Richards [23:48] Oh, uh, I think it’s 75 at this point.

Patricia McLinn [23:51] Oh, wow.

Emilie Richards [23:52] Yeah. Lots and lots. Romances, mysteries, and most recently women’s fiction. And that’s single title women’s fiction.

Patricia McLinn [24:00] Have you found with the different genres or at different stages in your career, have the catalysts been different or harder to come by, or I I’m just wondering if there’s an ebb and flow in, in your career or in the genres you’re working on with how the ideas come?

Emilie Richards [24:19] I don’t think so. I think the ideas are there and you have to decide how you want to slot those ideas and you know, whether, whether this would make a better mystery, whether it would make better women’s fiction, whether it would make a good romance or whatever you’re writing at that moment that you particularly like.

So you you’ll sometimes toss out good ideas, good catalysts cause you know it won’t fit where you are at that moment. But I think honestly, you can take a catalyst and you can turn it and twist it. But yeah, no, I think it just all depends on what’s going on, in terms of what you’re writing and how you, how you want to frame that catalyst and change it.

Patricia McLinn [24:57] Okay, so when you have the idea, you have that catalyst, then how do you go from that initial spark, ahhaha catalyst spark, to a book?

Emilie Richards [25:10] Well, I think you start thinking about the idea and all the possibilities. And for me, that includes writing them down. I have what I call a scenes and revelations file and I imagine scenes using whatever the idea is. And I just put them in there. I imagine things that characters will learn from the process of, uh, the story throughout the story, and I put those in there.

Um, and I, that takes long time to do, we’re not talking about something you do overnight it’s weeks and weeks of that. You know, you’re just, you’ll be washing the dishes and suddenly you’ll say, Oh wait, you know, I can just see her saying this and this happening and you write it, try to write it down.

And then I, so that’s, I get, uh, I get pages of those scenes and those revelations. And then I start kind of putting them in an order like, this would happen first and there would be something that would need to happen between this and this, and oh, maybe it would be this and I’ll add things. So that’s kind of the way I work.

Patricia McLinn [26:07] But you’re doing, you’re doing that during the writing process or during—

Emilie Richards [26:11] No,that’s before, that’s before—

Patricia McLinn [26:12] Right. Okay.

Emilie Richards [26:14] That’s before I start. Yeah. And yeah, because by the time I know this is very different from the way you work, but by the time I sit down to work on the actual story, chapter one, scene one, I have already got pages and pages of ideas that I have taken and put into, and put into order. And then I write them into a synopsis. Uh, which isn’t even it, which is a requirement if you’re working for a traditional publishing company, but I would do it anyway because I like, I’m one of those very few authors that love to write a synopsis.

And I like telling the story and then finding the holes at this point, uh, and putting it all together and then I’m more or less divided into chapters either in my head or on paper. And then I start writing. I don’t start writing until I have everything organized. That doesn’t mean I don’t make changes. It doesn’t mean that my characters don’t make changes.

But when I sit down to write, I feel very secure that I have something to do that day. Uh, and that I’m going, I’m going towards an ending that I like that I’m moving and that there’ll be things happening in the middle of that are important. So for me, that’s really important, but I do all that work upfront.

Patricia McLinn [27:24] Have you had this process from the beginning or is this something that’s developed over writing 75 titles?

Emilie Richards [27:31] I think the scenes and revelations, I was doing an informal version of that for years, I think, but I institutionalized that probably 15 or 20 years ago. And started doing it that way. So I think I’ve always written this way.

I think I’ve written this way that maybe it hasn’t been as sort of scheduled and figured out, but I’ve always written, I’ve always been organized. I’ve always wanted to know where I was going. I, I really think if I just sat down and started to write I’d still be working on my first book and it would be nine million pages long.

Patricia McLinn [28:03] But what a great read it would be.

Emilie Richards [28:08] I don’t think so.

Patricia McLinn [28:11] Well, working with this sort of process, do you have an unfinished projects or things that you, you put aside that just didn’t quite gel for you?

Emilie Richards [28:21] I’ve had unfinished, let’s say I’ve had ideas. I’ve had the, a new book, I’ve had the last book of series two different series that I have, I had, I knew there had to be one more book. And my publisher didn’t agree. So I have those—

Patricia McLinn [28:35] Ohhh.

Emilie Richards [28:36] Yeah. I know. Those two books are, uh, you know, up in the air. There was another book it’s actually part of one that I just edit, part of the series I just edited in one of my really old romance series, because, uh, the, the person who was the hero in that book, had it had had a drug bust in his past. And they said, I couldn’t write about somebody with a drug bust in my past, in his past.

So there’ve been, you know, and that was very well thought out and had a synopsis for that, and they just couldn’t, they couldn’t see their way around that. So every once in a while, I’ve, I’ve been stymied by publishers, uh, which is fine. I appreciate that they have their own, um, their own rules and their own, um, thoughts about how these things should go.

Um, I’m delighted that we now have independent publishing so that if we don’t agree, we can do things on our own. And I’m delighted so that some of the ideas I’ve had in the past we’ll we’ll show up now.

Patricia McLinn [29:30] Oh, great.

Emilie Richards [29:32] Yeah. And I’m working one of those now, so that’s really fun.

Patricia McLinn [29:35] That sort of leads to another question from a reader who asked if we miss characters when we finish a book, and think about them?

Emilie Richards [29:45] And do we miss characters?

Patricia McLinn [29:47] Yeah.

Emilie Richards [29:48] Every once in a while. And it’s funny, the last book I wrote, I did not miss those characters, even though I liked the book. But the one before that, I really, really miss those characters, one in particular. And I just really wanted her in my life again, and I was so sorry that she wasn’t going to be there. Um, it took me a while to get over that, that is a strange event, but it does happen.

Patricia McLinn [30:10] Do you think you might ever come back and write another book that would allow her to come, come back into your life?

Emilie Richards [30:16] No.

Patricia McLinn [30:17] No?

Emilie Richards [30:18] I really felt like I told that story and I, and there really isn’t another story to tell. So I had to say goodbye to her, but you know, that’s okay.

Patricia McLinn [30:25] You’re tougher than I am. I’d find a way to sneak her in. Okay, this is a sort of out of the blue question, but I’m curious about the answer. What’s the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Emilie Richards [30:39] The best money I ever spent as a writer was the first time I went to the Romantic Times conference. It was in New York City. I had just sold my first book, and I was going to meet my editor and my agent in New York. And I was so, I was so scared, oh my gosh, you know, I had, this was a dream I had of selling book. Now not only had I sold it, I was going to go and be with other authors and meet these professionals who were in charge of my life, my professional life.

But it was, it was a great, it, it really made a difference. I found that meeting people face to face and having conversations with them really increased my flow, both with my agent and my editor, and was just probably the best money I’ve ever spent. And I found it in years to come, going to conferences remained the most important thing I could spend money on.

Patricia McLinn [31:35] And is that for meeting the industry professionals?

Emilie Richards [31:39] Not anymore. It was for many, many years, now it’s more for getting information about the changing publishing, uh, market and the whole publishing world. And you can get that best in person from your fellow writers and from other professionals who speak at conferences. Um, I don’t really need to meet with my editor and my agent so much as I need to learn, you know, what I should be doing to enhance my career.

Counseling, mother of four, New Orleans, writing

Patricia McLinn [32:05] I want to go back because I’m not sure I know the answer to this. And now, you, you said you wanted to be in music or possibly music therapy. How did you get from there to starting to write?

Emilie Richards [32:15] I did get a master’s degree. I finished my, my undergraduate in American studies, and then I got a master’s degree in marriage and family development, which included mostly counseling classes. So before I even graduated, I got a job working as a therapist or a mental health worker in a, in a mental health center. And I did that for a couple of years. And then I, I did a couple of other social service positions.

We tended to move around. At the last move, uh, and we usually, I usually had a baby when we moved so that I wouldn’t be in a situation where I really couldn’t go out and look for work until the baby was older and this was the fourth move like that. And I decided that I really needed something I could do at home just for me, because I was, I had four children.

Emilie Richards [32:58] My husband was a minister and he was away a lot. We weren’t living near the church, so we didn’t have much of a community. And I know I needed something to do. So I started writing, actually my, oddly enough, Michael came home from doing a funeral and said, he’d met this woman who was making her living writing fantasy games scenario. Now how I jumped from fantasy game scenarios to writing romances is a long story. But, uh, I, it was like, it was the proverbial light bulb going on over my head and I said, This is what I want to do. I want to write.

Uh, and since I had no idea how to do it, I went to the library and got every book they had on writing. This was in New Orleans and there was a nice shelf full, and I read them all. And I just started writing. I wrote a children’s story, which was published. I wrote a confession, which wasn’t published. I just tried a lot of different things. And then the romance market was just beginning to really blossom about then. And I discovered that and decided that was a great place to try my hand. And I never looked back.

Patricia McLinn [33:59] A lot of your romances had, have a lot of depth to them, but did you find that going from the romance to the single title, how, how was that as an adjustment? How did that affect your writing?

Emilie Richards [34:15] That’s a great question.

Patricia McLinn [34:17] Or call on different writing from you?

Emilie Richards [34:19] It really didn’t. Because back in the day, when I started writing romances, we had whole lot of latitude in terms of subject and the way that we explore things. So I was really writing women’s fiction within the romance genre, I think. And of course it had more love scenes and more romance. Um, the relationship between the man and the woman was paramount, but I always had a lot of other things going on too.

And eventually I got to the point where the other things were taking over and I needed to move out of that. But it just felt like it was a training ground for a single title too. I mean, I, I didn’t feel like it was a hugely different thing. Although the first single title I wrote was a, really more of a his, sort of a historical family saga about civil rights and, um, in Louisiana. And so that was—

Patricia McLinn [35:07] Tell us the titles. Share the title with us.

Emilie Richards [35:10] I, that was Iron Lace and Rising Tides. It was, we broke it into two books because it was about a thousand page manuscript. So when I went into single title, I did it with a vengeance—

Patricia McLinn [35:21] Yes.

Emilie Richards [35:22] —thinking it was going to be incredibly different from what I’d been writing. But what I learned was it really wasn’t, all the same rules applied, it was just longer. And I could explore other facets of women’s lives other than the romance. And I love that, but I felt like I had great training in that romance genre.

Patricia McLinn [35:38] It’s, as not the writer, as a step back from that, looking at your books, I think there’s a lot about the relationships among women. Are you conscious of that? Would you agree? Not agree?

Emilie Richards [35:48] Absolutely agree. I mean the Shenandoah Album novels, which are about quilters in the Shenandoah Valley, it’s their relationships. Also their relationships with men and their individual lives.

But then I wrote a series of four books, which should have been five. And for the guy, about a group of women in Asheville, North Carolina, who specifically banned together to help other women. It’s called the Goddesses Anonymous series. And so that really is about their relationships and the way that women relate to other women.

Patricia McLinn [36:15] Yeah. The, the, the network of the women is the, the web that brings the books together. And then the women have these individual lives, of course.

Emilie Richards [36:24] Right.

Patricia McLinn [36:25] That often include men.

Emilie Richards [36:27] They often almost always do. And, but there’s always some sort of social issue too. Although I don’t, I don’t ever set out to say, I’m going to write about homelessness, so let me come up with a story. I never do that. That just sort of evolves in a, in my books. I come up with the relationship and the things I want to explore with that before I get into all the other facets.

Patricia McLinn [36:48] Do you do a lot of research?

Emilie Richards [36:50] Oh I do tons of research.

Patricia McLinn [36:52] Do you like it or dread it?

Emilie Richards [36:54] I love research. I really, really love it. I don’t love it when I can’t find the answers. And that’s rare, but sometimes it just the most frustrating thing in the world. And that happened to me recently. Can I tell you that one real quick?

Patricia McLinn [37:09] Oh, I’d love to hear that. Yeah.

Emilie Richards [37:10] The Swallow’s Nest takes place, this is the book that came out last June, uh, takes place in San Jose. And I went out to San Jose twice and researched. And I, it has, uh, a whole legal issue in the background of the story. It’s a child custody novel, and I had all this stuff online about child custody.

And I’d realized after, oh, weeks of working on this, that I really didn’t know what I was doing. Even though I had all the statutes, I had all the, had so many, uh, resources. It just wasn’t making sense to me. And I was literally pounding my head on the computer screen. I finally decided I had to talk to a lawyer, a lawyer, a family law attorney in that area. And I started contacting people and they just ignored me. Nobody even answered my emails.

Emilie Richards [37:56] And I started I’m thinking, I’m going to have to hire somebody, you know, have to pay their, their three hundred dollars an hour or whatever, to talk to them about this. And I, and I sent one more email out and this lawyer got back to me and said, I would love to talk to you. This really sounds like fun. And it turns out she wants to be a writer too. She wants to do some writing. So she, I called her and we were on the phone, we were on the phone for two hours, it was just, it was magnificent. She was the nicest person ever to take that much time with me and to straighten me out, it made all the difference.

But until I was able to have that conversation with her and get my, my questions answered. I was so frustrated and that does happen sometimes. Mostly you can get answers, but sometimes you have to really go to the mat to find them.

Patricia McLinn [38:45] But finding a source like that always makes me feel like that scene in Rocky at the top of the steps. Like, Yes—

Emilie Richards [38:53] You do a lot of—

Patricia McLinn [38:54] —you feel like punching the air.

Emilie Richards [38:55] —research for your books too, so you must’ve had a similar kinds of experiences.

Patricia McLinn [38:59] Yes, I love it. And I love, I do a lot of the initial research online, but then I find talking to people is, gives it a depth and aspects that you’d never think of. So I love doing that.

Emilie Richards [39:13] And the little anecdotes come out of that. You may not use that exact anecdote, but it certainly inspires things that you can use.

Patricia McLinn [39:21] Yeah, that’s wonderful. Was the rest of the writing process with the book, where would it put that book in your joy, a joy to write continuum?

Emilie Richards [39:32] It was way down at the bottom. Because of that, you know, and here’s the thing I have discovered and I think you probably have to, is how much pain you go through with an individual book has nothing to do with how good it is.

Patricia McLinn [39:47] Yes.

Emilie Richards [39:48] Uh, so you’ve suffered and you really sort of hate the book by the time you’re done. It’s not going to show the, the, again, readers are not going to see that they’re going to see the book that you carefully crafted. And even when you were tearing out your hair, you were still doing what you needed to as a professional to write a good story.

And then the books that sort of write themselves and you think, Oh, this one’s going to be a hit, people like it, but no better than the one that you tore your hair out over. So, you know, you don’t know, you just keep working.

Patricia McLinn [40:16] So which of your books would you say was the highest on the joy to write continuum?

Emilie Richards [40:22] Oh, I would say, uh, recently would have been When We Were Sisters. And first, and I think part of the reason is that I wrote it in first person and, um, from three different points of view, And which is why I loved writing my, I wrote a five book mystery series. The Ministry is Murder mysteries, and they were all in first person. And I absolutely loved writing in first person.

Patricia McLinn [40:43] A lot of fun.

Emilie Richards [40:44] They were, and I wanted badly to write The Swallow’s Nest in first person, but I couldn’t, I tried, it didn’t work. I knew it wasn’t working. And so I had to go back to third person, the new book I’m about to write called The Perfect Daughter, which, uh, is another Mira, that’s my, my publisher is, is going to be in first person. Uh, and that I’m really looking forward to writing this book. And I think that’s been part of the reason why.

Patricia McLinn [41:07] Why do you find in first person that—?

Emilie Richards [41:09] Well, I think it’s that you can really, you’re really so deeply into the character’s head that they really begin talking through you. You know, they don’t really, we know that, but that’s how it feels. And, um, and it, it just, it puts you in a different zone. For me, it just puts me in a new zone and all kinds of things come out that I never knew that I had thought or experienced and they just show up. And it’s just, it’s just, it’s sort of regulatory. I, I just really enjoy it.

Patricia McLinn [41:38] When you were writing the book with the three first person sections in it, did you have any tricks or, or things that you did to help you shift from one to the other? It would, it would feel sort of like playing multiple roles in a play.

Emilie Richards [41:54] You know, that’s a, that’s good to ask. And I’m not, I’m not sure that I did. I might have needed to more, but I just sort of, it was just clear to me that it was time for this new person to speak and I would just sort of jump into their head, and there I would be. I do think that when you do that, you have to be careful that you’re making it clear to the, to the reader that someone else is speaking now, they’re in someone else’s head. There’s ways to do that.

Patricia McLinn [42:22] So this is a little change. I’m curious about this. What is your relationship with reviews?

Emilie Richards [42:28] You know, I have been really lucky with reviews and I do think it’s a lot of it’s luck. Reviewers tend to like me. I think reviewers sometimes like me better than readers do. And I just, reviewers and editors like my work. And so I have had mostly good reviews and that’s been, that’s been great. When I get really bad reviews, there’s, there’s sort of two categories of bad reviews.

There’s the really wretched, crotchety person who wouldn’t like it, no matter who had written it. And then there’s people who are very insightful and they see things that I didn’t in the book, you know, problems. And they can be really helpful if you can divorce yourself from that, you know, from feeling aghast that somebody didn’t love everything you did. You can learn some things about your writing. There are helpful. So I would say that my re my relationship with reviews is really pretty good.

Patricia McLinn [43:22] Now, you said you thought maybe reviewers liked your books more than readers, but I’ve been at events with you and you have incredibly loyal and delighted readers and delightful readers. Do you have any stories about interacting with your readers?

Emilie Richards [43:38] You know what I really liked the most when, when I, is when I get emails or where people will tell me at events that something I wrote has changed their life in some way. And I think we’ve all had this. I don’t, I, I don’t think it’s in any way me, I think it’s something that happens when readers put themselves into a story and something that is happening with the characters rings a bell for them. And they suddenly realize that, Wow, this is, this is relevant to my life, and I have been thinking about my life in the wrong way, just like this character has.

Um, and so I just, those moments are so wonderful because I, I sometimes feel like, you know, I write because I love it so much and I should be doing more for other people, but I’m doing all this for myself. So when I get in a situation where somebody says your book changed my life, And they give me specific, um, examples, it just, it’s just wonderful.

I think, Oh, maybe I haven’t been wasting their time. I just, I’m just, you know, for all the frolicking around at the computer that this really has meaning for people and that, that’s really special.

Patricia McLinn [44:50] That is terrific. And, and the idea that it can go on, you know, that you’ve written the book it’s been out now, but it could be read 20 years from now—

Emilie Richards [45:01] Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [45:02] —and have an effect on people. So that’s—

Emilie Richards [45:03] That’s an odd thought, but yes.

Patricia McLinn [45:06] Yeah. With a women’s fiction, in particular, what would you say is the biggest thing that people think they know about the genre that they’re wrong about?

Emilie Richards [45:16] Boy, that’s a good question. I am not sure I have an answer to that. I think people, well, you know, Pat, I don’t know, it just sort of, there’s all kinds of women’s fiction. There’s chick lit and people who like chick lit believe that, you know, people who are looking at it from the outside, think it’s all froth and silly and it has nothing to say to people and, and they may feel that way about the more serious kinds of women’s fiction too. Um, I think it’s, I think women’s fiction is more a commercial women’s fiction.

Is probably more transformative than people like to think it is. It’s not just an, it’s just not a breezy read. It can be, but it can also be nitty-gritty and really help people deal with things that are going on in their lives. And I think that’s probably something people don’t think about when they hear the word, the words women’s fiction.

Patricia McLinn [46:09] That’s a really good point. Yeah. But I don’t think of it as necessarily frothy at all.

Emilie Richards [46:14] But you’re in, you’re in the business.

Patricia McLinn [46:16] Well, that’s true.

Emilie Richards [46:17] Yeah. Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [46:18] Good point.

Emilie Richards [46:19] Yeah.

Patricia McLinn [46:20] Okay. Let’s hear from another reader who says, um, When the cover image doesn’t match the character description and the reader acknowledges that that’s a pet peeve of hers, how does it feel for the author?

Emilie Richards [46:34] Oh, it’s just ghastly. It really is. Um, although I have to say that these days I rarely get people on my covers. Now the last two covers for my, um, women’s fiction have had, um, women on them, but I’ve been given the joy of helping pick out the models cause they’ve done cover sheets. So they do look like my characters. I’ve made sure that.

Um, but boy, in the old days, when I, when you would just, they would just plop a cover in front of you and say, this is your cover. And you’d look at it and you go like, This person is nothing like my person.

Patricia McLinn [47:11] Yeah.

Emilie Richards [47:12] That was depressing. Especially with men, it was worse with men. When, when you’d have a really sexy, gorgeous guy that you’ve been writing about and the slob shows up on your cover. And I haven’t, I swear I had a guy that looked like Johnny Cash, but not young, you know? And I was like, Okay. Really? And there was nothing we could do about it.

Patricia McLinn [47:35] Nope. I had a, um, a rodeo cowboy and, uh, he was a bull rider, who tend to be wirey, and this guy on the cover is like a Sumo wrestler.

Emilie Richards [47:47] Oh, wow.

Patricia McLinn [47:48] I was like, What? What? The bull would just give up when he sat on it.

Emilie Richards [47:55] But you know, it’s almost like you’re breaking the trust of the reader when you’ve been telling the reader that this guy was gorgeous and he looked like this and he did these things. And then you’d see the guy on the cover and you think, She must be a total doofus to fall for that guy. That’s not really what you want your readers to think.

Patricia McLinn [48:15] No, that, that is not the optimal impression. And that I, now that I’m bringing my books out myself, almost all of mine have objects or flowers or something, landscapes on the cover.

Emilie Richards [48:31] I applaud that.

Patricia McLinn [48:32] That’s mostly because I just don’t want to be so frustrated trying to find people who are not quite right. So I have low tolerance for frustration, and this might actually be somewhat of a segue to the next question from a reader. So if you could write a book with any author alive or dead, who would you want to work with and why?

Emilie Richards [48:53] Oh, well, I’d like to work with JK Rowling.

Patricia McLinn [48:56] Ohh.

Emilie Richards [48:58] Wouldn’t that be fun? What an incredible vivid imagination, um, ability to see the world in a different dimension. And also just apparently a very astute caring, alert kind of person. I just, I just think that would be fabulous. I’d love that. I’m a big Harry Potter fan anyway, so that would be super. I’d love that.

Patricia McLinn [49:20] You may have already answered it, but let’s see if we can get more. What do you read for fun?

Emilie Richards [49:24] Oh, boy, I read everything. Um, and this year for fun, and this has, maybe not everybody’s idea of fun, but I’ve been reading books for the Better World Bookstore reading challenge for 2017. They put out, they put out a list, I think there’s, I’m looking at it right now, maybe, maybe 15 or 20 books on this list.

Things like read a food memoir, read a book you picked based on the cover. Read a book based on a fairytale. I’m reading one on, based on Hansel and Gretel right now to finish this list. I want to finish it by the end of the year. And that’s great because it’s got me reading a really wide variety of genres. I’ve read, um, everything from the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to Riders of the Purple Sage.

Patricia McLinn [50:10] Wow.

Emilie Richards [50:11] So I do really read all over the map.

Patricia McLinn [50:14] So you find that fun even when it is a book like Rise and Fall of the Third Reich?

Emilie Richards [50:19] I picked that because I felt I really needed to read it, and it fit perfectly in the category. Uh, it was a national book award winner. We needed to read one. Um, you know, nobody’s looking at them, nobody’s ever going to see my, my answers here. This is just for me and gave me a chance to read across a wide variety of genres and to pick out some books that I wanted to read, but didn’t have a good excuse to read before, like The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

It’s been really fun. I’ve really enjoyed it. In fact, I’ve enjoyed it so much. I’m going to, I’m going to start my own reading challenge in 2018 with my readers, and I think that’s going to be neat.

Patricia McLinn [50:54] Oh, that should be very interesting.

Emilie Richards [50:56] We’ve been putting together a list of, of, of, uh, because it’s 2018, we put together a list of 18 different categories that people can, you know, they can choose books for. And, um, not that they have to read them all or they ever have to do this at all, but we just thought, and we meaning a group, a group of my readers thought that it would really be fun to do so we’re going to try it.

Patricia McLinn [51:18] So they’re contributing some of the categories?

Emilie Richards [51:20] Yeah, absolutely.

Patricia McLinn [51:22] Oh, cool.

Emilie Richards [51:23] I gave him my ideas and they, and they suggested, made suggestions on those. And then it came up with some new ones. So it’s been, it’s been kind of a back and forth. It’s been fun.

Patricia McLinn [51:30] That sounds terrific. Um, uh, I love that idea. Somebody who has never read any of your books, where is the best place or a couple best places for them to start to be introduced to you as a writer?

Emilie Richards [51:43] I think you should probably start with my most recent books and move backwards. Um, but if they have a specific and that would be The Swallow’s Nest and When We Were Sisters. Um, but books before that, there were four books that were all part of the Goddesses Anonymous series. Um, and if people like connected books, that’s a good series.

Uh, then there were the Shenandoah Album series, and then there were some books, two books that were connected that were set in Cleveland. So, or if they liked mysteries, there’s the whole mysteries, um, too. So—

Patricia McLinn [52:13] Those are fun.

Emilie Richards [52:15] Yeah, those are fun, they’re a little different. And they were very, I did those just for the joy of it and they, they really were joyful to write.

Patricia McLinn [52:23] Yeah. How about with your, your loyal readers, are there books that you think they might have overlooked that they, know just haven’t gotten to as much?

Emilie Richards [52:33] I bet we’ve all had this experience. I wrote two books a long time ago for Avon. Once More with Feeling and Twice Upon a Time. And the idea was that two women are in, both in a car crash. And when the one woman wakes up, she’s in the other woman’s body. And to me, this was such a great starting place for a story and all the things that could happen if you wake. And I used to, as a kid, imagine what it would be like if I close my eyes and when I opened them again, I was, I was someone else. What would that feel like?

Um, and so I really loved those books. I still do. There, um, I put them there, I put them up as eBooks and I don’t think they ever got the play they should’ve gotten. And I wish, I wish more people read and appreciated them. But, you know, we don’t know because it’s our books. We don’t know if they’re. You know, if that’s something that’s really going to appeal to readers, even if it appeals to us.

Patricia McLinn [53:28] I’m going to nominate one here. Whiskey Island. I always loved that book.

Emilie Richards [53:35] I don’t think that was ever a book that, when I go back to Cleveland, that’s the book everybody talks about because it’s set in Cleveland and it’s a historical saga. I loved that and the next book in the series called The Parting Glass. And Hey, I think, I think I got the idea for that title when I was at your house, didn’t I?

Patricia McLinn [53:54] From the, yes, playing that song.

Emilie Richards [53:57] Yeah. Yeah, The Partying Glass. I went, Oh my gosh, there it is, there’s the sequel.

Patricia McLinn [54:01] Yep. It’s such a, it’s such a wonderful song too, but those are great books. And I don’t hear as much about them, I think, as your more, more recent single titles, so maybe that’s why. I haven’t been to Cleveland, so likewise.

Emilie Richards [54:14] You know, they’re old now they’re older so that you don’t really hear much. And they’re not, they’re not out anymore. They’re, they’re only, they’re not only eBooks, but they are just eBooks at this point. So they’re not, they’re not in print.

Patricia McLinn [54:26] But if people read eBooks, they should grab them.

Emilie Richards [54:30] I thank you. I hope they do.

Patricia McLinn [54:32] So I hope they do tell readers where they can find out more about you and your books.

Emilie Richards [54:35] Okay. Well I have a website and it’s easy. It’s my name, emilierichards.com. And then I’m on Facebook with a, it’s called the Emilie Richards Reader Page. And I also have a reader’s group called Read Along with Emilie Richards on Facebook, which is fun cause we just talk books and there’s nothing else going on except talking books. And I’m on the usual places, Twitter, Instagram, all those things.

So I’m easy. And then, uh, I blog twice a week and, uh, I offer giveaways on my blog and I have what we call the Sunday Inspiration blog, which I do with my husband. And it’s usually just something inspirational for people to think about for the week. And that’s really, that’s really been a well followed by people. They enjoy that.

Patricia McLinn [55:20] Well, and I will say, we will have all the URLs on the show notes, but in case you’re listening and not going to look at the URLs, be aware that Emilie is spelled with an IE at the end of Emilie.

Emilie Richards [55:33] Yes. Thank you, Pat.

Patricia McLinn [55:35] Um, define that. Journalist, the journalist coming out, and thinks and thinks there’s 48 ways to spell Daryl.

Emilie Richards [55:44] And who knew, right?

Patricia McLinn [55:46] Yes. So you’ve talked a little bit about, um, your most recent book and when is the, when is the next Mira coming out? What was it, the other daughter, no.

Emilie Richards [55:56] The Perfect Daughter.

Patricia McLinn [55:58] The Perfect Daughter.

Emilie Richards [56:00] And, I’m on longer space between deadlines. I asked for that, and so I can do some independent things too. And, um, so I don’t think we have, I don’t think we have a date. I don’t think it will be, I know it won’t be out in 2018 cause it’s not due till the end of the year. So it will be out sometime in 2019, probably in the summer.

Patricia McLinn [56:18] Okay. To, to make that clear, though, there may be some other releases that you’re doing independently, um—

Emilie Richards [56:25] Yes.

Patricia McLinn [56:26] —during 2018. Oh, good.

Emilie Richards [56:28] I’m putting up some of my backlist. And I’m also doing a Shenandoah Album anthology of novellas about the characters in the Shenandoah Album series.

Patricia McLinn [56:37] Oh, that’s terrific, yes.

Emilie Richards [56:39] I’m hoping to have that out around Mother’s Day. That’s my plan.

Patricia McLinn [56:42] And I will give you my very, very favorite journalist’s question. Is there something I should have asked you that I haven’t or something that I didn’t ask that you’d like to answer?

Emilie Richards [56:52] Wow. I think you plumbed all the depths there. You did a great job. It was really fun.

Patricia McLinn [56:56] Well, we still have more fun here because this is my very favorite part. These are rapid-fire either or questions. You have to pick one or the other. And, um, let’s see, cake or ice cream?

Emilie Richards [57:09] Oh, cake.

Patricia McLinn [57:10] Day or night?

Emilie Richards [57:12] Day.

Patricia McLinn [57:13] Cowboy boots or hiking boots?

Emilie Richards [57:15] Hiking boots.

Patricia McLinn [57:16] Toenail polish or bare toenails?

Emilie Richards [57:18] Toenail Polish.

Patricia McLinn [57:20]Dog or cat?

Emilie Richards [57:21] Dog.

Patricia McLinn [57:22] Tea or coffee?

Emilie Richards [57:24] Coffee.

Patricia McLinn [57:25] Cruise or backpacking?

Emilie Richards [57:27] Cruise.

Patricia McLinn [57:28] Mountains or beach?

Emilie Richards [57:29] Beach.

Patricia McLinn [57:30] Sailboat or motorboat?

Emilie Richards [57:32] A kayak.

Patricia McLinn [57:36] Yeah. I thought you were going to make it all the way through. Gardening or house decorating?

Emilie Richards [57:42] Gardening.

Patricia McLinn [57:44] Paint or wallpaper?

Emilie Richards [57:45] Paint.

Patricia McLinn [57:46] Best china or paper plates?

Emilie Richards [57:49] Paper plates.

Patricia McLinn [57:50] Mustard or ketchup?

Emilie Richards [57:52] Mustard.

Patricia McLinn [57:54] Uh, and this is the last one. Save the best for last or grab the best first?

Emilie Richards [58:00] Save the best for last.

Patricia McLinn [58:02] But there was a hesitation there.

Emilie Richards [58:04] Yeah. It’s situational.

Patricia McLinn [58:09] Well, that was great. Thank you so much for taking this time and joining us on Authors Love Readers, Emilie. Uh, it was a delight, and I hope all the listeners will come and join us next week when we talk to another author, have a great week of reading.

That’s the show for this week. Hope you enjoyed it. And thank you for joining Authors Love Readers podcast. Remember, you can always find out more about our guest authors in the show notes, and you can find out more about me at www.patriciamclinn.com. You can also send in questions to be asked of future authors at podcastatauthorslovereaders.com.

Until next week. Wishing you lots of happy reading. Bye.

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