SMP Author

Soul Mate Publishing logoKatie Teller spotlighted Soul Mate authors – including me. I am very excited and honoured to be a Soul Mate Publishing author! Here are some of the questions she asked:




Tell us how you came to be an Author with Soul Mate Publishing.

I wrote Perfectly Honest and after submitting it to the RWA contests to get feedback, I thought it was polished enough to submit for publication. I decided to send it to four publishers. If it wasn’t picked up, my plan was to post it on with two other novels I had written, and keep writing. I looked at the list of publishers on the RWA website (they list non-subsidy, non-vanity publishers – I actually don’t completely understand what this means, but if it was important to the RWA, it was important to me) and picked ones that didn’t require an agent, looked like they wanted contemporary romantic comedies and/or medical romances, accepted manuscripts with my word count, and whose websites I liked the look of (I know, not very scientific). A week after I sent it off to those four, I read a blog post about Soul Mate Publishing. The author recommended SMP as a smaller, growing publishing house and one more likely to take a risk with new authors. They were right.


Debby Gilbert at SMP was the first to respond to my queries. She requested the full manuscript and then a month later sent me an email. That was a very happy day!


What do you enjoy most about being a SMP Author?

I love that I don’t have to follow a formula for the plot. SMP publishes both e-format and print format – that was very important to me. There is a fantastic author group. When Perfectly Honest was released, it wasn’t clear to me what to use as the buy link – it looked really long. Rebecca E. Neely, one of the other Soul Mate authors, sent out a tweet congratulating me and luckily included a buy link for my book that I could copy!


What have your experiences been like working toward being published?

Getting published has been awesome. One of the first things I did was fill out the cover art form. It asked for details about the characters, the plot, and my vision for the cover. I love what they sent me – so perfect! Editing went smoothly and quickly. I signed the contract in August and Perfectly Honest was published in January.


What would you have done differently?

There was an online course exploring how to use WordPress, which is what I use for my website. I would have taken it.


How has your book been marketed?

It’s on the SMP website as a new release – that’s cool to see. I had a 10 day countdown on my website leading up to launch day. I wrote posts from my characters, including pregnancy tips from Mikaela and eye fact and fiction from Sam, tennis ball trivia (there’s a strip tennis game in the book), their favorite recipes, released my video book trailer, and included a sneak peak at the first chapter. That generated a lot of interest on my website. Tweeting has made a difference – I’ve been lucky enough to have my tweets retweeted, a few times by others with over 12,000 followers. When that happens I see a spike in visits to my website. I also made a video book trailer for YouTube – that was fun!


Any advice on how to better market a book?

I write romantic comedies so I keep everything I post upbeat and fun. I’ve never paid to boost my Facebook posts, but my son and sister-in-law have a huge following and whenever they ‘like’ one of my posts, I see a big boost in my exposure. So – get the relatives involved. Also, promote why you are unique as an author. What expertise do you have that your books will reflect? Mine is medicine.


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go, and what would you be wearing?

I would take a Zumba cruise to Hawaii. Between Zumba classes, I see myself lounging on the pool deck writing on my laptop (people watching), with my bronze skin (wide-brimmed hat, SPF 50 sunscreen, zinc oxide on my nose), wearing a skimpy bikini (SPF clothing, long-sleeved top and pants), a fruity cocktail (water) by my side. In Hawaii, I would take a carefree scooter ride (never in a million years) to the edge of an active volcano (stay miles away) and wander in a rainforest (do they have rainforests there?). It would be idyllic.

Here are more questions from the SMP Blog-a-thon!

Tell us all about you! What would you most like your readers to know?

Hi, I’m Linda O’Connor, and I’m very excited to be a part of the spotlight on Soul Mate authors. I live in Ontario, Canada and write contemporary romantic comedies. Most of my stories have a medical bent.


Are you one of those writers born with a pen in your hand and ideas flitting through your mind, or did your interest develop later?

My interest in writing developed later in life. I’m a physician and after working with young people, I had the idea to try to incorporate medical advice in a romance novel. I hoped it would be a little bit more appealing that the myriad of educational posters up in my office!


When did you become serious about seeing your name in print and begin writing your first romance novel?

I started writing with the goal of getting published about four years ago. I figured it wouldn’t happen right off the bat, but I did everything I could to try to achieve that. Initially, I entered contests and posted my stories on to get feedback. Now I focus on taking workshops, participating in writing groups, and most importantly, I keep writing.


How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript? Did it fly from your fingertips, or did the story emerge slowly?

The first manuscript took about nine months to write. I loved that I could take my time and as the story unfolded in my mind, write it down. Now it’s closer to three months (and fewer dinners are made along the way).


Tell us about your writing process. Soft lights and music? White noise? Child-and-pet confusion? Locked in a room alone? What sets your writing mood and pushes you forward?

I prefer silence. I look into space a lot (which has led to a few odd looks when I write on a plane or train) so silence and alone is even better. A friend of mine told me she was going on a ten-day silent meditation retreat. All I could think of was how much writing I could get done at something like that!


What are some life experiences that have infiltrated your stories?

My medical career influences my writing. I talk to people for a living so I feel I have an easier time writing engaging dialogue, and I hear about a whole array of people’s experiences, which gives depth to my characters. Delivering a baby (well I’ve delivered a few, but delivering my nephew when I didn’t expect to) crept into my writing. The other scene that was influenced by a real life experience is in Perfectly Honest when Mikaela’s specialty eclipses Sam’s. My husband is a surgeon, and his specialty often garners more interest than mine when we meet someone new. Except once. One day, in the midst of a family doctor shortage, we were at the bank and the two women helping us were so excited that I was a family doctor that my husband’s specialty never came up. I had to chuckle when he mentioned that he’d noticed.



What shining moment in your journey stands out the most as a real turning point for you as a writer?

After I wrote my first novel, I gave it to my friend to read. She liked it. That was a shining moment. If she’d have been lukewarm, I wonder if I would have continued to write. Probably not.


Five vital things surround you as you create. What are they? What makes them special to you?

Computer – I can’t imagine writing longhand. I’d probably forget what the end of the sentence was going to be.

Journal – I need the notes for a series.

View of the water –it’s very calming.

Uninterrupted time – because usually I think of the perfect line just as my husband asks me a question about the laundry.

I think I only need 4 things.


Writers face many time-constraint challenges. What are some of yours? What do you do to overcome them?

I’m balancing work and family with writing so having protected time to write is vital. I set aside two days a week to write (it used to be one). I won’t schedule any meetings, repairmen, or appointments on those two days. I also try to write first and finish a chapter before spending time on social media and my website.


What is the most thrilling aspect of the writing process for you?

I love figuring out the pieces of the puzzle for the storyline. I need my character to do this or experience that – how can I make it happen so it fits with the story and their personality? How can I write it so it’s unique and funny? Those are the challenges I enjoy most.


What aspects of the writing process do you find most difficult?

Creating conflict that draws the reader in but doesn’t leave them feeling sad.


How do you begin a story? Do you just sit down with an idea in mind and start writing, or are you a person who wouldn’t dream of starting without a detailed outline, character sketches, and pages of research data?

I start with an idea for the beginning, middle, and end of the story and then develop the characters. I try to get to know them very well, and I have to nail down their names. Male names are the hardest because I don’t want to use my sons’ names or the names of any of their friends. It has to be a completely new person in my head and not remind me of anyone (kind of like naming a child!). I’ve tried to make a detailed plot outline, but the characters often do something unexpected and it goes off the rails. Usually by the fifth chapter I can start to outline in more detail.