I’ve met quite a few IR Romance authors on Facebook, and they’re all like celebrities to me so I get super excited when I can snag a sit down with one of them. I love when an author gives me a little bit of their time because I know for some, they don’t wanna talk to you unless you’re USA Today or something lol, but I digress…Here’s my convo with Roxy:
The IR Junkie: The first question I ask of all IR romance writers is, Why IR? And do you write IR romance exclusively?
Roxy Wilson: I have a friend who, in the summer of 2012, posted an article, “An Interracial Fix for Black Marriages,” on Facebook. I read it, and it resonated so much for me, that I started thinking about writing romance featuring interracial couples. But first, I wanted to read IR romance to get a feel for the genre. That led me on a journey which I’m still travelling today, a journey in which I read and now write IR romance.
In my other life, I was primarily a teacher of literature and have written poetry study guides for Macmillan Education, UK. At present, though, I write IR exclusively.
TIRJ: Are you a full-time writer?
RW: After teaching at the elementary, secondary and tertiary levels for more than two decades and relocating to my country of birth, I’ve taken a sabbatical and have been writing full-time for the past three months.
TIRJ: Describe your writing process. Do you create a concept, create an outline, then research, create a draft, etc…or are you more of a stream of consciousness writer, just letting the thoughts and ideas flow then going back to edit after it’s done?
RW: I’ll have an idea for a story. So, for instance, I wanted the Baby Proposal to be a story dealing with the issue of surrogacy. Now, except for Zena Wynn’s The Question and Erosa Knowles’s Promises Kept, I didn’t know of any other IR romance that dealt with this issue. So, I decided to read articles about surrogacy, and happen upon one which described the unusual experience of a surrogate mother. I immediately knew that Selene Alexis’ story would be just as peculiar. My biggest challenge was what the setting of the story was going to be. I’m not American, neither do I live in America, and it was while researching surrogacy laws that I realized that even though it’s the United States of America, every state has its own laws regarding surrogacy. I eventually settled with San Diego because of the direction I wanted the Baby Proposal to go. I also had to research legal procedures and how matters are conducted in the courts of law. This story took a long time for me to write, when I compare it with the other four, but I wanted it to be released after the first book, Baby Wanted.
TIRJ: Are you an indie publisher or are you affiliated with a publishing company?
RW: My first two IR romance were published by Secret Cravings Publishing. I’ve got a third story that will be released in December, 2014. The fun part is that it will be part of an anthology. All my other books have been self-published.
TIRJ: How did the Bundle of Joy series come about, and how many books will there be in the series?
RW: Ahhh…Baby Wanted was supposed to be a standalone story. It was loosely based on a former colleague of mine who was divorced for a number of years, realized that she was hitting 35 soon but still didn’t have a baby, and felt that there was no better time to have one than the present. But, like Heather, she had no prospects so she turned to her good friend. So, Baby Wanted was supposed to be my debut in self-publishing, under the tutelage of my author friend, Dez Burke. In the middle of writing the story, I decided that since baby stories are a romance trope I enjoy reading, I should write a series, instead, with each story featuring a different couple.
TIRJ: Although we run in some of the same FB circles, I have admittedly not read any of your books until I saw them available on Kindle Unlimited. How is that program working for you from a business standpoint and a readership one? Would you recommend it to other authors, or is it too soon to tell?
I decided to make all my books available on KU because I know I’m a new kid on the block, so to speak, and not many seasoned IR readers would be willing to make the investment of time and money on my books. However (and this is where one of the benefits of KU comes in for the new author), a reader will be more likely to take a chance on a new author if his/her books are free.
July was a terribly slow month for me, as it relates to the number of books that was selling each day. However, when Amazon launched KU and I made my books available, it was like the Red Sea parted, because within 10 days I had over 600 borrows. Amazon paid about $1.80 for each borrow. Another good thing happened: All my books’ rankings improved and Baby Wanted ranked in the TOP 100 in various categories, once again. This served to improve the visibility of my books
It’s been close to three months since, and the total number of borrows has increased each month.
Now, that was my experience. There were other authors that I know of who do exceptionally well, and there are others who think that the program isn’t for them, and they’ll not make use of it. However, I think if you’re a relatively new author, you can give KU a try. At least there’s the chance that you could be discovered by readers who may never have even given your books a second glance, but have now become fans and will automatically 1-click your book, whether it’s enrolled in KU or not.
TIRJ: What other genres or authors do you like to read?
RW: I’ve got an eclectic taste in books, so I read self-help books, books on spirituality, poetry, the classics, West Indian fiction, mysteries, thrillers, biographies/autobiographies, and so on.
TIRJ: If you could turn any one of your books into a movie, which would it be, and who would you cast?
RW: Hmmm….Of the five books in the Bundle of Joy series, the one I would like to see turn into a movie is the Baby Proposal. Jesse Metcalf would be Triston, Jurnee Smollett-Bell would be Selene. Meg and Warren would be played by Marcia Ann Cross and Linus Roache respectively. (Off to google Linus Roache…)
TIRJ: What’s your take on the state of IR romance today? We (as if I write…) seem to be the bastard child of the romance genre, yet I see this as a flourishing moneymaker that everyone is dipping into now.
RW: When I started reading romance way back in the early 80s, the heroines looked nothing like me: full-figured, dread-lock wearing, dark-skin woman of African descent. Now, I’m so happy to read about women like me, albeit in fiction, who are living, laughing and falling in love. It’s so easy for me to see myself, my image, as the heroine in these stories. So, I’m grateful to the pioneers of IR romance who made it possible for women of color to read stories about women that are similar to them. These pioneers and those that came after have also been role models for aspiring IR authors. What’s more, I consider myself a newbie IR author. However, I’ve noticed that several other IR romance authors have emerged since I came on the scene in 2013. Some might say that that’s a good thing, and others might not. As a reader of IR romance, it means that I have many more options from which to choose when I’m deciding on books I would like on my TBR list. As a writer it means I have to try to write stories that will appeal to many readers, or at least have characters that are relatable in one way or the other.
I’m also glad to see is the number of sub-genres that are gaining popularity: shifter/paranormal, historical, Christian, suspense, sci-fi/urban fantasy, steampunk, and so on. In fact, I’ve written book one of a shifter romance under another pen name, which was a bestseller in the AA erotica category (TIRJ: Oooh…)
And isn’t it wonderful that there are IR romance authors who made it to USA Today and NYT Bestsellers List, and there are still others striving to equal those achievements? And I’m glad to see so many Facebook groups/forums in which a number of authors have made it possible for readers/members to discuss all things IR. Some have hosted a number of book chats, giveaways, book launches and the like. Generally, I think it’s an exciting time for IR romance.
TIRJ: Do you plan to release any more titles this year or what can we expect from Roxy Wilson in 2015?
RW: Yes, I plan to release the last two installments of the Bundle of Joy series: Secret Baby Seduction and This Time, Baby. I also plan to release three Christmas romances. They’ll be sweet reads, revolving around three sisters finding love at Christmas. And of course, there’s the story, a shifter romance (Yay!!!), that will be part of an anthology, which will be released in December by Secret Cravings Publishing. They are all IR romance.
In 2015, I’ll be concentrating on one major non-fiction project, as well as some Christian IR romance.
TIRJ: WOWWWWWWWWW! You are one busy lady!
Thank you so much Roxy! I enjoyed chatting with you, and I appreciate your openness, and your honesty. We have lots to look forward to in the coming months and beyond!
Connect with Roxy or get to know Roxy through her various social media offerings. And buy a book or two! I’m about to cop The Bundle of Joy series. There’s nothing like getting the author’s perspective first hand.