Local author spotlight welcomes Rebecca York!

Readers, today’s spotlighted author is a veteran of the publishing industry.  Like many established writers, she’s prolific and taking advantage of today’s indie platforms, though she continues to be published traditionally, as well.  Welcome, Rebecca York!

Welcome, Rebecca, and congrats on topping 20,000 books in independent book sales!  Tell us about your latest project.

Author Rebecca York
Author Rebecca York

Well, my latest Decorah Security book is ON EDGE, a novella.  I’ve also published a science fiction romance short story called CONQUEST.  And my most successful indie book to date is a collection from Decorah Security, a novel, a novella and two short stories.

The Decorah series is named after the Decorah, Iowa, eagles’ nest which I have been watching on live cam for two years. I’ve always loved to write series where readers can come back to the same characters again and again.  Since I write romantic suspense, there’s a new hero and heroine in each story; but previous protagonists come back to play secondary roles.  And then there is Frank Decorah, a crusty old Navy SEAL who started the agency. Many of the Decorah agents have paranormal powers or take on cases with paranormal elements.

In DARK POWERS, a teenage girl has gone missing, and her sister is sure she has been abducted. But the Doncaster, Maryland, police chief thinks she ran away. Frank sends Ben Walker to Doncaster to search for the girl; and her sister, Sage Arnold, insists on coming along. Ben’s special talent is going to come in handy. After a near-death experience, he developed the ability to touch dead bodies and get their last memories. When he and Sage discover a previous victim, he’s able to connect with her. But because the killer is wearing a hood, Ben doesn’t know who he is.

Rebecca York with her Decorah Eagles license plate
Rebecca York with her Decorah Eagles license plate

Sounds thrilling!  Where do Louisville/Southern Indiana readers know you from, outside of your books?  

Although I was born in Kentucky, I’ve lived in Maryland for many years.You probably only know me online. I write a blog called www.onromancewriting.com .  I gave it that name because I’m best known as a romance writer, but it actually applies to most genre fiction writing.

Rebecca was one many authors who contacted me after Sue Grafton’s interview here on LouisvilleKY.com made such a splash.  Rebecca’s intro statement really got my attention.  “I’ve sold more than 100 novels to traditional publishers and have 12 million books in print worldwide. So why am I getting into indie publishing?”  Do tell!

I’ve been writing for forty years, and it’s a whole new world out there.  I spent the first five years as a newspaper feature writer, then gradually moved into books, both novels and cookbooks.  For the next thirty years, my writing had to conform to what publishers were looking for.  I’m still writing for traditional publishers, but I’ve added a new dimension to my career–e-publishing.

For a long time, I kept thinking that e-books would never catch on.  But I’ve seen them gradually taking more and more of the market.  Two years ago when I went to the Novelists Inc. conference, where many of the speakers were talking about the e-book market, I realized I needed to get into that new arena.

I decided to try two approaches.  I wrote a mediaeval fantasy novel, submitted it to Carina Press, and was accepted.  DARK MAGIC was published last year.   (I’ve since sold them another similar novella, SHATTERED MAGIC, and have a contract for the third story in what I’ve called THE CHRONICLES OF ARANDAL.)  These are a real change of pace for me. Kind of like dessert after my intense contemporary romantic suspense novels.

Because Harlequin and Berkley have the rights to most of my backlist, I couldn’t republish most of my old books.  So I started writing the DECORAH SECURITY series.  I launched the series in December with a novel, DARK MOON, a novella, CHAINED, and a short story, AMBUSHED.  And now I’ve added a second novel, DARK POWERS.

It’s been fantastic fun writing stories where I didn’t have to conform to an editor’s guidelines, where I could make the stories any length I wanted, and where most of the earnings come to me instead of to a publisher.

I’m the queen of juggling projects. I’m planning another DECORAH SECURITY novel and currently have three romantic suspense novels under contract to Sourcebooks and another Harlequin Intrigue also under contract.

Which will be the most rewarding avenue for me? There’s one thing that’s still true in the publishing industry.  You don’t know which decision was the right one until a couple of years later.

What valuable insights, Rebecca!  Thanks so much for sharing that.  I’ve seen a lot of the stigma of indie publishing drop away in the past year, but there’s still quite a ways to go.  Having an established novelist such as yourself explain the realities of it in financial terms is a good thing!

Who are your favorite writers from the local area?

One of my all-time favorite writers is Robert Penn Warren. I loved ALL THE KINGS MEN. I read it when I was a teenager, and I still remember lines from it.

Tell us more about where and how you write.

I am very much a homebody.  I write on a laptop and work at various locations in my house. In winter I love sitting in the sunroom surrounded by trees and flowering plants.  In summer I often sit on the screened porch where I can listen to the waterfall in the fishpond and look up to see birds and squirrels.  I try to write ten pages.  Then I’m free for the rest of the day.  If I don’t get those ten pages done before dinner, I may go back to work in the evening. Something I do when I’m indulging myself is to spend a week at a beautiful location like the beach or the mountains. I write my ten pages for the day.  Then my husband and I go out and play.

That sounds heavenly! What’s next on the writing slate, for you?

I am working on my second Sourcebooks romantic suspense. Again, I’ve set a series around a detective agency, this one in Rockville, Maryland.  The three agents are all former military men or police detectives. They met in jail in Miami when they were mistakenly swept up in a drug bust and spent the night keeping order among a bunch of dangerous criminals. The bonding experience led them to found Rockfort Security.  And I also have the next Decorah Security novel underway and am working on a couple of proposals for Harlequin Intrigue.

The way I work is to write fast, then do an edit on the book.  I then put it away and work on something else.  When I come back to the original project, it’s like somebody else wrote it; and I can be very objective about the plot and characters.

Sounds like a winning formula!  Thanks so much for being in the spotlight, Rebecca, and much continued success to you!

Readers, if you know an author who deserves to shine in the Local Author Spotlight, please get in touch.  Either side of the river is fine–we speak Southern Indianaese, too!  Books about relevant local subject matter are encouraged from authors outside the area, as well.  Email RedTashBooks@gmail.com and please put “LouisvilleKY.com Author Spotlight” in your email subject.  Thanks!

Stay tuned for more local author news.  I hope you’re discovering some fantastic new reads, from names new and old on the literary scene.

Leslea Tash is a Southern Indiana journalist-turned-novelist.  Formerly known for a weekly national column on parenting and family life, she now writes dark fantasy like the 5 Star Amazon hit Troll Or Derby and The Wizard Tales under the pen name Red Tash.  She always welcomes your feedback on this column on the LouisvilleKY.com site, on Facebook, on her websites or twitter