Another beautiful Saturday with another great author. Today we have Courtney Hunt joining us. She writes contemporary romance. Let’s find out more…
Welcome to Love Indie Romance. So glad you’re joining us today, Courtney. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you so much for letting me visit Love Indie Romance today. I’m so happy to join you. My name is Courtney Hunt. I write small town contemporary romances with smart heroines and the sexy heroes who love them.
I’ve read the first book in the Cupid’s Coffeeshop series, Java Frost. (Great story, by the way.) You have twelve books in this series. What made you decide on writing novellas for this series? How long did it take you to write each story, then publish it?
I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed Java Frost. Thank you! I love to write in coffeeshops and decided that it would be the perfect setting to write a series of romances. I initially intended to write a trilogy but, when I started jotting down ideas, I had twelve different couples to choose between. Since I was a new indie author at the time, I wanted to publish a lot quickly and decided to release one book a month over the course of a year. In order to make that work, they needed to be short stories. I write pretty fast so each story took just a few weeks.
The story starts out with a scene on how Joe, Patrick, and Zooey Lockhart need to make Cupid’s Coffee shop a successful coffee shop within one year. Why did you decide to start with a different couple (Ben and Amy) as the first story? We don’t see a story for one of them until book 6, Berries and Cream Chai, (Joe’s Book). Please describe the reasoning by the story order.
When I designed the series, I based it on episodic television. The three Lockharts- Joe, Patrick, and Zooey–became the main characters that appear in each episode. Through the course of the year, they each get their own special story. I wanted Patrick to have the final story as I knew his heroine was Joy who would be opening a bakery next door. I did consider giving Joe or Zooey the first story but I ultimately liked starting it with a different couple so we have Java Frost.
You are a lover of coffee. Each book title is based off a signature drink that Joe, Patrick and Zooey create. Did you create actual recipes for each book and taste them? How did you come up with each coffee drink? What is your favorite kind of brew?
Joe is the one who creates the brews, much to his cousin Patrick’s perpetual annoyance. While I do love to drink coffee, I didn’t create recipes for them. Full disclosure, I can barely cook at all–boiling water and making toast is about my limit. I just brainstormed drink names to tie in with the season for the titles. My personal favorite coffee drink is Peppermint Mocha but I renamed that Lucky Latte (the March story).
You’ve written over twenty stories, give us a brief description of what your other books are about.
My sixteenth book, A Teacher for the Billionaire, is part of the Happily Ever Alpha: Falling for the Billionaire boxed set. I specialize in small town romances, with sprawling families and good friends. I never planned on writing a billionaire book. But, when my friend Victoria, asked me to be part of the set, I agreed because I believe in opening the door when opportunity knocks. And now, I am working on a billionaire series, The Billionaire Babes Club.
I have one other series, Always a Bridesmaid, which is about professional bridesmaids. I’ve got two books out in that series, Forever a Bridesmaid and Once a Bridesmaid, with two novellas and a full-length book coming out this year. My seventeenth book, Kiss a Bridesmaid, just came out as part of the Wedding Pets & Kisses boxed set. It’s the third in my Always a Bridesmaid series about professional bridesmaids.
My second book, The Lost Art of Second Chances, was a Kindle Scout winner. It’s a stand-alone book with a dual narrative. When Lucy’s grandmother dies, she leaves a strange bequest. Lucy and her childhood sweetheart, Jack, travel to Italy and discover their second chance at love.
Having written so many books, what would you describe as the most challenging part about writing? The least challenging?
Learning to balance writing new words with the promotional and business aspects of indie publishing is the most difficult challenge. I don’t think anyone ever does it well for very long. The first few months that I was writing full-time, I burnt the candle at both ends and ended up with double pneumonia the week before Christmas. Since then, I’ve been better (not perfect) at keeping things balanced, except for right around deadlines or release days.
I’m blessed with many ideas so that’s the easy part. I use Evernote to capture them until I’m ready to start developing them. I should be good up through about 2021 with what I have right now.
Besides writing, you are also an attorney. How do you balance work life and writing life? What kind of attorney are you and what’s your favorite part?
I specialize in government contracts and love negotiating (though I lose to my 8 year old son quite a bit 🙂 ) I have the US Congress to thank for my writing career. During the federal government furlough in 2013, I finally got to live my perfect life and wrote 54k words in 17 days. I’ve never looked back. I published my first book in July 2015 and here I am.
What would you say is the best marketing strategy you have found to be most beneficial? What advice would you give to a new author entering the publishing world?
Using Instafreebie to build a mailing list is the secret sauce. I’m a student in Mark Dawson’s publishing classes, which I also highly recommend. Since I’ve been following his advice to build a mailing list, I’m seeing much more success and reader engagement.
For a new author, learning to write fast helps enormously. Indie authors have to publish frequently to see success, especially at first.
Crazy question time! You’ve worked for Disney before as a cast member. If you could be one Disney character in real life, what character would you be?
I worked at the local Disney Store when I was in high school and college. I loved being a cast member and am really good at Disney trivia still. I’ve always especially loved Winnie the Pooh and friends but I’d want to be Belle from my favorite movie, Beauty and the Beast. I can’t wait to see the live action version!
Any last thoughts?
To get four free novellas, please visit my website at www.courtney-hunt.com to sign up for my reader group. I’d love to have you!