Five Alaska romance writers tell all

Romance writers Jackie Ivie, Jennifer Bernard, Lizbeth Selwig, Boone Brux and Tam Linsey answer fans’ questions. (Photo by Nita Mauigoa)

Sexy rock stars, sensual demons or chiseled Scottish knights — each author has their personal brand in romance writing.

Futuristic romance writer Tam Linsey described her novel “Bontanicaust” as “a post-apocalyptic dystopia romance.”

Her unique twist? Cannibals.

In celebration of Alaska Book Week, Linsey, along with four other authors from the Alaska chapter of Romance Writers of America (AKRWA), visited the UAA Bookstore to give a book talk. Though they had fun sharing the details of their own works, they all were also keen on sharing advice for aspiring writers.

“For 22 years, I’ve engendered more than 400 rejections before I got selected for publication,” said Jackie Ivie, historical romance author and president of AKRWA.

She is now on the top 100 best-selling list on Amazon for short stories and has garnered awards. Her advice: Never get discouraged by bad reviews, because they are inevitable, and never give up your brand.

“Getting a contract is such a small part of publishing. You’re never done,” said Boone Brux, paranormal romance author. “There’s still a lot of tears and crying and swearing at your editors and stomping around your house, because in our minds, we are the best writer ever and they just don’t understand us.”

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Boone Brux advised writers to join writers groups to toughen up through critiques. In those environments, authors learn that the editor makes the work look better in the end.

Lizbeth Selwig, rock star romance author, has been writing about rock stars since she was 10 years old. When she joined AKRWA, she won the “Golden Heart” award for non-published authors and was printed by Avon Publishers.

She credits parts of her success to her background in editing.

“I have a degree in journalism, and I have worked with several newspapers, so the mechanics are down,” Selwig said.

However, that doesn’t mean one must have a journalism degree to become a successful writer.

“One day I decided to just quit my job, sell my house, start over and do what I’ve always dreamed of doing,” said Jennifer Bernard, fireman romance author.

Bernard’s brand is “sexy, fun firemen with a bit of romantic comedy.” She has paperbacks published through Avon and has other works published online. She advised writers to use different types of medium for successful writing.

Of the authors, one could not help but think of Linsey’s unique voice in “Botanicaust” — a successful, strong voice that didn’t develop overnight.

She left one piece of sound advice for developing writers: “You have to write a million words before you find your voice.”