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Inspirational Indie Author Interview. Tanya Anne Crosby: Romance Author Went Indie To Defy The Tropes

Inspirational Indie Author Interview. Tanya Anne Crosby: Romance Author Went Indie to Defy the Tropes

My ALLi author guest this episode is Tanya Anne Crosby, who first found a traditional publisher, writing romance novels that consistently made the best-seller lists. Eventually, Tanya grew weary of the tropes she was expected to follow in her genre and longed to break barriers. That's when she decided to go indie. Now, she revels in the freedom this gives her as a writer. Not only that, she helps other authors achieve the same kind of success.

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Inspirational Indie Author Interview. Tanya Anne Crosby

On the Inspirational Indie Authors #podcast, @howard_lovy interviews @TanyaAnneCrosby, a #romance author who grew weary of the tropes she was expected to follow in her genre and longed to break barriers. That's when she went indie. Click To Tweet

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Inspirational Indie Author Interview. Tanya Anne Crosby: About the Author

Tanya Anne Crosby is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty novels. Known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters Tanya is an award-winning author, journalist, and editor, and her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. In 2013, she penned her first romantic suspense novel, Speak No Evil, which appeared on the USA Today list. Tanya and her writer husband split their time between Charleston, SC, where she was raised, and northern Michigan, where the couple make their home.

About the Host

Howard Lovy has been a journalist for more than 35 years, and now amplifies the voices of independent author-publishers and works with authors as a developmental editor. Howard is also a freelance writer specializing in Jewish issues whose work appears regularly in Publishers Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, and Longreads. Find Howard at howardlovy.comLinkedIn and Twitter.

If you’re a published indie author who would like to be interviewed by Howard for the Inspirational Indie Authors podcast, you need to be a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Then contact Howard, including your membership number, explaining why you’re an inspirational indie author and what inspires you.

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Read the Transcripts: Inspirational Indie Author Interview. Tanya Anne Crosby

Howard Lovy: I'm Howard Lovy, news and podcast producer for the Alliance of Independent Authors, and book editor at howardlovy.com. You are listening to Inspirational Indie Authors. Every episode, I interview an ALLi member to find out what inspires them and how they are an inspiration to other authors.

My guest this episode is Tanya Anne Crosby, who first found a traditional publisher writing romance novels that consistently made the bestseller lists. Eventually, Tanya grew weary of the tropes she was expected to follow in her genre and longed to break barriers. That's when she decided to go indie. Now, she revels in the freedom this gives her as a writer. I'll let Tanya tell her story.

Tanya Anne Crosby: Hello, I'm Tanya Anne Crosby. I write across the spectrum. I write historical romances, I write women's fiction, I write historical fantasy, romantic suspense, you name it. I've been writing for about 30 years, and I think I've written everything.

Howard Lovy: From a very young age, Tanya has always had a way with words, even before she learned English.

Tanya Anne Crosby: I actually didn't speak a word of English until I was about four years old. I was born in Spain. My mother is Spanish, my father was American, and I think the point at which I realized the importance of language was when we flew in, my first time ever in the States, it was just so different. There were so many lights on the runway, and I was fascinated, to me they seemed like fairy lights.

But I couldn't convey, I actually remember this so vividly, sitting in the back seat of my grandmother's car, she'd come to pick us up from the airport, and I was trying to explain to her how beautiful this was, and I couldn't. In Spanish, I kept saying, ‘many, many lights'. My grandmother asked my mother what I was saying, so she taught me how to say ‘many, many lights' in English. But I just remember the sense of helplessness, of not being able to convey what I wanted to convey, knowing that this person sitting next to me, who was my family, didn't understand a word of Spanish

Howard Lovy: And that set the tone for Tanya's entire life. The ability to communicate and the importance of being well read. She spent much of her childhood traveling from place to place.

Tanya Anne Crosby: We traveled a lot. I lived in California, in Virginia, in Puerto Rico, and I lived in Maryland and Charleston, South Carolina, in Dallas, Texas. I've just kind of been all over, and all that before I settled in Northern Michigan, and I'm sure I missed some places.

My education, it's funny because I was in third grade in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and I remember our school was just this tiny little, there were 12 grades, one class for each age grade. I remember by the time I was in the third grade, because language was so important to me, by the time was in the third grade, it was kind of this shocking turn, where I was actually helping my third-grade teacher to teach other kids reading.

I remember I was in the spelling bee, and it was a school wide spelling be, like I said, all 12 grades and I think I came in second place against a senior. So, that was such a high moment for me, and I think that was the moment when I realized I needed to be a writer.

Howard Lovy: And much to her surprise, Tanya's path to being a published writer was relatively quick.

Tanya Anne Crosby: So, I wrote my first book and then I decided that this is what I wanted to do, and I think I was maybe 26, something like that. I sent it off to 10 agents and I ended up, and this is a no-no, but I ended up going with the very first agent that responded to me. I was just so excited.

In retrospect, even though there were lots of things I did not have in common with that agent, and I like her as a person, but she was not the right agent for me, but she did sell my first book. And it's funny because she asked me where I wanted to go, and I said at the time Avon Books was at the top, you know, they were the king pin at the time. So, I said, let's start at the top and let's get rejected by them first and then we'll move on down to the very bottom. So, in anticipation of this, I actually bought like a hundred manuscript boxes expecting to have to send manuscripts out to that many and more.

But I almost hate telling this part of the story because for the longest time I felt so much like a fraud because I was lucky enough to sell my first book to the first publisher we went to. So, Avon bought that book, and the rest is history.

Howard Lovy: And for Tanya, it was romance that first appealed to her as a genre.

Tanya Anne Crosby: I picked up a novel by Julie Garwood and I read it, and it was a romance, and I'd never read one before. And after reading it I thought, you know, there's so much that I love, like, I love history, I love relationships and figuring out what makes people tick, and how relationships work, and love archaeology. So, I always thought I would be an anthropologist when I was really, really young. That, and a ballerina, before I realized I wanted to be a writer. So, after reading this Julie Garwood book, I think it was, The Bride, and I thought, this is what I want to write.

I feel like people sort of shy away from romances because, well, you know, I don't know why they shy away from romances. I feel that what makes this world go around is not necessarily love, but our relationships with other people. So, even when I'm writing suspense, for me, it's never about the actual act, the crime, nothing, it's just not about that for me. The types of books that I love most and the kinds of stories, TV shows, whatever I'm reading or watching, what's important to me is how these events affect the people and their relationships. And I don't think romance gets enough kudos, and I think people are almost afraid of it because I think that, in my opinion, my personal opinion is that people can read about sex all day long, that doesn't intimidate them, but the instant that you put intimacy in there, or anything about relationships, that's to be {inaudible}, that's taboo. That's not something we want to read about.

Howard Lovy: After working with traditional publishers, Tanya eventually decided that going indie was the way forward for her.

Tanya Anne Crosby: I've written, I think, about 37. Sixteen of those were written for New York publishers. So, I've been indie for a really long time now. I felt like, without throwing shade anywhere, because I value the experiences I had with New York, and with my editors, I loved my editor. Without throwing shade anywhere, I felt like there were a lot of broken promises with my New York experience. And when I started writing indie, I realized that I liked having that control.

So often when you are writing for New York, a cover will slide your way. Back in the day it used to actually come in the mail, as a flat, and you get the cover and by this point it's already completely done, and you have no input whatsoever. You just get to either say I hate it, or I love it. And so often the covers were really nothing like what you imagined them to be, they should have been.

So, I loved having the cover control, I loved having editorial control and, more than anything, I really loved being able to write what I wanted to write, when I wanted to write it, and that was one of the things that made me leave New York. I walked away. I took my ball and went home, so to speak. Mainly because I was very bored with the trope and the particular kinds of books that they wanted me to continue writing. I mean, I found success with Scottish historical romances, and I still love those, I love them, they were very successful. So, they basically just wanted me to keep doing that over and over again, and it wasn't encouraged to move on to anything else, and I just got bored and lost my muse and no longer had the desire to write anymore.

Howard Lovy: The main benefit to going indie was that she no longer felt the need to follow any kind of formula or trope.

Tanya Anne Crosby: Absolutely, a lot more freedom. The thing is, I don't really ever set out, when I'm writing a book, to write a trope. I know many other writers who have found great success doing that, and so maybe that's to my judgment, but that's not what inspires me and that's not how I work.

So, I think at this point in time, there's a lot more freedom to write exactly the kind of story that you want to write without worrying so much about genre or genre crossing. The book I'm writing right now, in fact, I would not even call it a historical romance. It's not straight historical fantasy, you could probably call it romantic fantasy, but there's no HEA at the end of the book, and by HEA I'm sure all your listeners know I mean, Happily Ever After. There's no HEA at the end of book one, it's constructed much more like a true fantasy, but it is very much a romance in many ways.

So, it really does cross the genres, and I like that I can do that, because I don't think that that's something you can do writing for New York. I think that when you're writing for New York, they want the hero and heroine to meet, if you're writing a romance, they want the hero and heroine to meet within the first three chapters. They want you to have this happily ever after. There's a lot of criteria you have to meet, but I don't have to do that.

Now, that's not always a good thing, and if you throw something out there that the readers don't like, they're your true judges and, obviously, you still have to please somebody.

Howard Lovy: And Tanya does not shy away from the business side of her indie publishing career. In fact, she revels in it and helps other authors navigate through it.

Tanya Anne Crosby: Yes, I do actually, and I actually am one of those who kind of takes the exact opposite tack there. I love it so much I actually started my own publishing company, and right now we actually publish, I think 45 or 46, authors. Most of them being USA, and New York Times, and USA Today bestsellers, and they're authors who come to me for multiple reasons. Some of them are still writing both indie and trad, and they just don't have the time to do both. Some of them don't love technology and they just need help with it, they just want a partner in the business, and that's what I strive to be for them, is a partner.

Howard Lovy: Tanya's advice to other indie authors, just keep writing. Don't walk away from it.

Tanya Anne Crosby: If you want to write, if you want to finish a book, if you're drawn to do this, if this is something that you want to do, write every single day. Don't skip any days. Even if you give yourself the smallest word count, don't walk away from it, because the minute that you do, there's this thread, this magical thread that you pull through the entire story, and it pulls you through, and it pulls the reader through as well, and you somehow, I mean, not that it can't be retrieved, but you do lose something, I think, when you walk away from it.

Author: Howard Lovy

Howard Lovy is a novelist, nonfiction author, developmental book editor, and journalist. He is also the news and podcast producer for the Alliance of Independent Authors. You can learn more about him at https://howardlovy.com/


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