Joining me today in The Loft is author Stella Ann George. Stella writes romantic suspense. She also teaches piano and loves to travel, having visited many places in the U.S., as well as Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Stella lives in southeastern Pennsylvania, where she resides with her husband of 22 years, two children, and her long-haired Chihuahua, Holly. She is celebrating the release of her first book, "Note by Note."
S: Welcome to The Loft, Stella! I am so pleased you could join me today.
Do you think romance books have become “too spicy?”
SA: Not at all. There is such a wide range of romance books from clean to erotica, something for everyone. Authors can choose to write whichever heat level they are comfortable with and readers can choose which they prefer to read.
S: What is the best/worst thing that has ever happened to you as a writer?
SA: The best was at my first book signing at the Commonplace Reader in Pennsylvania. A gentleman came up to me to buy "Note by Note." His wife couldn’t make it and she sent him to get an autographed copy. His wife told him he had to get the book featuring Jessica Turner. And she wanted to know if it was part of a series and when the next book would be out. It was the first time I had heard of a total stranger loving the book. And he was so sweet to do that for his wife. The worst--so far--a month without any sales at all. Ugh. It makes me doubt myself about the marketability of "Note by Note" and my writing. But I know it’s a good book. It has a great romance, an intriguing plot. It was professionally edited. I just need to figure out how to convince readers to give it a chance. And write more books. Later books sell the first book.
S: Most authors struggle with the marketing aspect of publishing a book. The more you publish, the more exposure you get.
If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose to write books?
SA: I don’t think I have a choice. It’s in my blood. I’ve been a writer since fourth grade when my teacher would hang a picture in his classroom every Monday and we had to write a story about it by Friday. I wish I still had some of those stories. Sharing them with the world, though, I think I would still choose to publish also. It’s been a thrill to hold "Note by Note" in my hands as a paperback and hardcover. It’s been a daunting process--writing, self-editing, hiring an editor, working with a cover designer, formatting, choosing where to publish, and most of all, marketing. I’ve learned so much in the last couple of years.
S: Have you ever shelved or thrown out a manuscript?
SA: Not a complete manuscript, but I have the first chapter of a vampire novel on my computer. There were just too many vampire stories out there and I didn’t have a vision of the story all the way through. And I wanted it to be something different. I started it after I saw Rick Springfield in Nick Knight. I'm a huge Rick Springfield fan, both as a singer and actor. He’s still going strong, writing new music and touring. He actually inspired the character of Josh in "Note by Note." Maybe I should dig that first chapter out and formulate a plot. Supernatural tales are very popular.
S: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
SA: Professionally, seeing "Note by Note" all the way from the spark of an idea to a finished print novel. It may have taken years, but I did it!
S: What inspired "Note by Note?"
SA: I’ve been reading romance for most of my life and always wanted to write one. I’ve been an admirer of Sandra Brown since she wrote as Rachel Ryan and Erin St. Claire. I love her writing style and her stories have always been intriguing. Now she’s one of the leading romantic suspense writers. Telling a story with equal parts romance and suspense is quite a challenge. But I love puzzles and I love research and learning new things. "Note by Note" started as a boy-meets-girl tale. Because I’m a piano teacher, I made Jessica a music teacher-- write what you know. And then I was searching for music to use and decided on Stravinsky’s The Nightingale. That led to the story of "The Nightingale," and the jewels and lotus blossoms and the Buddha, weaving art and music, and the more I researched, the more complicated the plot became. Then I had to write myself out of the mystery without leaving plot holes. But I’m happy with the way it turned out. As far as the setting, my college roommate and I traveled after graduation. Our favorite place was Australia, so that’s how Jessica and Finn ended up there.
S: Is there anything special you would like people to know about "Note by Note?"
SA: "Note by Note" was 25 years in the making and is the first of, I hope, many more novels to come. I began writing it in 1997, but life side-tracked me. My mom and I took care of my father, who passed away in 1998. Then I married in 2000, had kids, and took care of my mom when she developed dementia. So writing was set aside. I always felt there were more important things to do than chasing a dream of writing. And that was wrong. Don’t ever put your dreams on hold. Pursuing them is a way of taking care of yourself as well.
Here's the blurb--
For Finn Cooper, being a billionaire has the usual perks--fine dining, jet setting around the world, and beautiful women. However, no woman is going to break through his wall; he won’t allow himself to be that vulnerable again. But when the plane he is piloting crashes, an independent and capable woman leaves him questioning all he thought he knew about love.
For Jessica Turner, a fateful flight from Sydney to Tasmania turns her world upside down. Surviving in an isolated cabin with a well-known playboy is just the beginning of a journey that tosses the music teacher out of her safe, secure life. Falling for his charm is easy; guarding her heart is another matter.
In a search for answers about their mysterious circumstances, Finn and Jessica find themselves in an increasingly dangerous world neither of them could have imagined. Staying one step ahead of deadly outside forces makes falling in love a little … complicated.
S: That sounds like a gripping tale! Where can readers buy "Note by Note?"
SA: The eBook, paperback, and hardcover are available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Note-Stella-Ann-George-ebook/dp/B0B5FKGK1R. It's also available on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61382053-note-by-note.
S: Stella, thanks so much for joining me today. If you'd like to learn more about Stella and her books, please visit--
Stella’s Groovy Readers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/604428980941450