Today, I interview author Nan Reinhardt, who embodies the self publishing spirit like none other. Nan writes romances featuring heroines who aren’t newbies when it comes to life, love, and loss, but being middle-aged doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to their own happily ever after, not to mention great sex. Her heroines believe that, and Nan believes that, but she had a hard time getting traditional publishers to believe it enough to take a chance on her books, so Nan chose to publish the books herself. Welcome, Nan.
AB: Tell me a little about your road to self publishing.
NR: I’ve got to tell you the truth, I never expected to be going indie with my books. I have a great agent and when she first signed me, I believed we’d sell books together and my career would take off. Well, it didn’t work out that way, although she tried hard to sell my books. Problem was editors kept saying, “Not going to work for me, heroine’s too old.” When I sent her the second book, Sex and the Widow Miles, she read it, sent it back, and told me she couldn’t sell a 52-year-old woman. So, I sent that one to Lani Diane Rich at StoryWonk. She had a lot to say about it, but she loved that Julie was 52 years old. We worked together on both books and the whole time, Lani is telling me how great it would be for me to self-pub the books. I thought about it a lot and decided to give it a shot and here I am.
AB: Have you always been a writer?
NR: Yes, pretty much. I wrote my first romance novel when I was 10—it was about my sister and a member of the rock band, Herman’s Hermits (if you know that group, you’re the audience I’m targeting with my books!). Then in 2009, I started writing the book of my heart—the one that’s been in my mind since the late 1970s—Once More From the Top. Liam Reilly, the symphony conductor hero in that book had been a fantasy in my head forever and it was time to tell his and Carrie’s story. After that, I just sorta let the people in my head tell me what’s next. If you have as many people clamoring in your head as I do, you’re either on your way to the loony bin or you’re a writer.
AB: You released two books on the same day, your 60th birthday as a matter of fact. Why the dual release, and what has been the response?
NR: Well, I have my editor, the amazing Lani Diane Rich to thank for the dual release. She recommended I give it a try—to have both books ready for download, so if readers like one, they can have the next one immediately. Since the books are the first two in a series and they both were ready to go, I figured why not give it a try. So far, the response has been great. They seem to be selling at the same rate, so I’m hoping our little plan is working.
AB: I want to be you when I’m 60. You seem so confident. In this youth obsessed culture, how did you get and maintain that confidence, and where can I get some?
NR: Wow, I really have you fooled, don’t I? <grin> I spent so much of my life feeling bad about myself because I’m overweight. Honestly, this country’s fat hate is so demoralizing and I just never believed I had much value because I was fat. Like the size of my ass has anything to do with how intelligent or kind or fun I am. But one day, when I was about 53 and really menopausal, I came across a fabulous quote from the actress Camryn Manheim. She said, “”This is my body. I live in it, I play in it. I can’t deny it anymore. This is my fat body. I’m standing at the corner of Life and You Better Get Going. I stepped off the curb and I never looked back.” That just smacked me right between the eyes. It was life-changing…I realized I’d wasted too many years hating myself and that if I didn’t love me, why should anyone else? So, I just decided I had to stop. I started looking for the sensual in everything, and I decided to stop being so afraid. I stepped out in faith and did so many new things—traveling, learning about wine, practicing my French, dressing to show off my curves instead of hiding how round I am, and most of all, writing. It’s been grand and you know, even if I don’t even sell a thousand books, I’m doing something I love. I mean truly love, and if that’s not a confidence builder, what is?
AB: You’re all over the internet lately. I believe they’ll be calling it the InterNan soon. What have you most enjoyed about promotion and marketing? What surprised you? Are you a social person by nature?
NR: Oh, that’s cute! It does seem like I’m everywhere right now, doesn’t it? My author pals have all been so gracious by giving me blog space or helping me promote these books. Thank you, by the way! Most, I’ve enjoyed the interviews—it’s fun to think about the answers to the questions, and I’ve so enjoyed the comments on the blogs I’ve been on.
Yeah, I’m pretty social—I have so many dear close friends and I love adding to that group. I’m crazy about my lake ladies—they’re all so precious and funny and sweet. I love making new friends on my Facebook Author page and in other social media places.
What surprised me? Besides the fact that people are buying my books? I’m not really surprised by how kind everyone has been, but in a way, it’s been very revealing. This really is a small community—this writing community—and the authors that I’ve admired and read like Liz Flaherty and Lani Diane Rich and Anne Stuart and Kieran Kramer and so many others have just supported me and brought me into the fold and made me feel like a real author. It’s wonderful.
AB: What’s next for you?
NR: More Women of Willow Bay—Sarah from the Chicago women’s shelter that Julie volunteered at in Sex and the Widow Miles has a story that needs to be told, so I’m working on that one. There are a couple of other women in Willow Bay who have great stories as well, so I’m writing. Oh, and the day job is still there. I’m still editing both fiction and nonfiction. Husband retires next year, so that’s going to be…um…interesting.
Thanks, Nan for being available to answer questions, both here and in my many, many emails. And a special thanks for the great stories!
Beginning today, Once More from the Top is free for three days. Scoop it up now! Being solidly in the Gen-X camp, I’m not Nan’s target audience, but I couldn’t put the books down