Sue, SK McClafferty, traditionally published author of romantic suspense and romance novels, is back! She self-published a fantastic short story, The Snowstorm, and has revised and re-released, Rough and Tender. Settle in and get to know Sue a little better, then head over and buy her book. You deserve a break today–share it with SK McClafferty!
1. SK McClafferty! You’ve recently put a fabulous short story, The Snowstorm, up for sale on Amazon and also you’ve republished the award-winning Rough and Tender. Can you talk a little bit about what you’ve been up to lately and why you’ve decided to republish some of your back list?
Kathie, I have been away from publishing for a few years. Like a lot of us, I underwent a few major life crisis, and life as I had known it, totally shifted. All at once. Within the space of 6 months, my marriage ended, I left my home of 30 years, lost my publisher, and my mother passed away. It took me quite a while to get to a point where I could write again–or wanted to. I know that choosing to rewrite a book that was already New York published is unusual–but quite frankly, so am I. (it was given the Best First Western Historical Romance Award at Romantic Times convention in 1992) I started by transcribing it onto my hard drive–but I didn’t like what I was seeing. Transcribing is a ton of work. Rewriting is only a little more, and this book is something I can feel good about.
2. You’ve written under the names Selina MacPherson and SK McClafferty–could you discuss why you did in the past and why you’re moving forward publishing under only SK McClafferty?
Actually, I am also Sue McKay. I started out using a pen name because I thought it was more glamorous. It isn’t. It was always frustrating for me, because I would have people ask if it was my “real name.” I couldn’t just be Selina at RWA Nationals. It was a little weird, even for me. When historicals folded at Zebra in 2001, I had a contemporary Romantic Suspense I wrote just for fun, and my editor loved it. It was a new subgenre, and publishers often ask for a new pen name. By then, I decided to use my legal name, with my initials. So, I really am S. K. McClafferty.
3. You’ve revised Rough and Tender since it was published the first time. Could you talk about why you did that and how you’ve changed as a writer over the years?
The original Rough and Tender had a hero who was a real prick. When I read his dialogue, I could hear my ex. EW! So, I gave him a labotomy and we began anew. Actually, it was a matter of softening him up a bit. He’s still an Alpha, because I don’t do Beta men. But she really puts him in his place. The end product is a lot more fun.
As writers, we draw on our own personalities for voice and detail, story slant, and character. Much of what we put out there is intensely personal. I have changed enormously over the past decade. as a person. That changes the writing. Not only did I discover that I was good at Romantic Suspense, I discovered I loved writing it. There is a freedom in the language that is missing in historicals. I have a terrible mouth on me. I swear fluently. In life, and in my books. I can do that in this sub-genre and get away with it.
I also have learned enormously. I worked with 5 editors over the years at 2 publishing houses, and I learned something very valuable from each one. I’ve been extremely good at finding handholds in this career climb. I always paid attention, and still do. I am still learning, still taking every scrap of info. and experience that comes my way, and using it to better my work. Also, I lost my arrogance. That was important. Arrogance can really get in the way of a writer improving their work, because you can no longer see it in an honest light.
4. After being traditionally published, could you shed some light on your perspective of the pros and cons of publishing traditionally as compared to going it alone?
There is a real sense of freedom about the indie route. I am very new to this, so I sure don’t know much, but I do know I don’t have to sweat blood to publish a book. That can be a double edged sword in the fact that everyone who can write a book and finish it will have it up digitally. That’s why I LOVE Amazon’s sample system. I can tell in a page or two if that author will rise to my reading standards–at least as far as the prose is concerned. Cream will always rise to the top. If you put out a few stinkers, word will spread. The same is true for a really well-crafted story.
Amazon and the others allow readers to make their own choices, and I feel that’s good. I won’t trash New York, because I will always be a part of that. Still, my experiences there left me jaded. Too often mediocrity is rewarded in traditional publishing, because there is some selling point–a pretty face, a glamorous life-style, a name that is recognizable. Packaging. And it is almost impossible to go the distance there. There are just too many variables that as authors, we can’t control. A bad cover–and I had 3–can sink a book, and a career. SO CAN A BAD EDITOR. THAT is the BIG difference between NYC houses and places like Amazon. In digital, the author can control every aspect of their book. It’s all incredibly hands-on.
5. A good friend of mine believes in the idea put forth in Virginia Woolf’s, A Room of One’s Own, that every woman needs her own writing/working space. What does your space look like and how is it inspiring to you?
My office is a work in progress, and it really is the place where I spent most of my time. I am living in the house where I grew up. It was built in 1865, and I am remodeling bit by bit, by myself. My office used to be my mom’s dining room. It’s now the very heart of my home. I do the work myself, and have added elements important to my comfort and peace. . . like stone. I have one wall that is covered in stone that I carried from the river, and cemented into place. Opposite that are ceiling to floor bookshelves. Of course! Would you expect anything less? I also have chairs instead of a desk. I use a laptop, and I like to curl up to write.
Thank you, Kathie, for taking the time to talk with me! It’s been fun!
Thank you, Sue! Readers should know you blog at writingwithdogs.blogspot.com as well as write short stories and novels. Check out what Sue’s been thinking and enjoy her dog tales…and writing tales…and whatever else she’s musing about on a given day.