I dug waaaay back in the archives to remind myself when the first draft of Raspberries and Vinegar was written. Spring of 2010! I was contemplating a shift from speculative fiction to contemporary romance, and knew I had to find my own sweet spot. I’m not the gal who can convincingly write about a shoe-loving high-powered city lawyer… of either gender! Plus, I wouldn’t enjoy it. It’s just not my thing.
“Write what you know,” they say, and so I did. The whole gardening and farming and canning and local food way of life? We live it, on the ground, every day. We’re not as dedicated as the Green Acres gals, for sure! But we understand and experience the principles of the lifestyle.
I snagged a literary agent in 2011, and she loved Domino’s Game (working title). In fact, she very nearly sold it to a major publishing house that summer, while I wrote Wild Mint Tea (working title of Check Mate) in hopes! But after taking the series to committee three times, they declined. We had nice rejections from other houses as well as standard ones. In the spring of 2013, after I parted ways with my agent, I contracted the rights to a startup publishing house that has since closed. Raspberries and Vinegar and Wild Mint Tea were published before the rights reverted to me.
At that point, I decided to take my career indie, and I’m so glad I did! I rereleased the first two books in July, 2014, added Sweetened with Honey in November, 2014, Dandelions for Dinner in March, 2015, Plum Upside Down in August, 2015, and finally… Berry on Top in February, 2016. WHEW!
It’s been quite a ride! The original three couples have been living in my head for almost six years. Publishing the books myself meant I was free to expand the series to six books instead of the more traditional three. Again, this proved to be a terrific move as many thousands of readers have followed the characters through to the end.
It’s also been a pleasure working with my daughter Hanna Sandvig at Book Cover Bakery. The small publishing house hired her originally, so I already had a start to covers I loved when I went indie. She’s almost as excited about this series as I am, so when her family visited last week over spring break — and the paperbacks of Berry on Top had just arrived — we took the opportunity to snag a little photo shoot.
It feels strange to move on. Sure, I wrote The Riverbend Romance Novellas in 2015, but I hadn’t left Green Acres Farm yet at that time. Now… it’s hard to disengage. So hard (for both readers and the author) that my next series will be a spinoff, the Urban Farm Fresh Romance Series.
Secrets of Sunbeams, the first book, is nearly finished and will debut in the Whispers of Love box set on all my usual retailers. Please don’t delay pre-ordering this set, as we have some fun plans for it and, once it releases, it will likely be gone again very quickly.
Hanna is waiting a few weeks to do the photo shoot for my solo cover. I can hardly wait to see what she comes up with to kick off this new series to keep my branding similar but make the new series clear.
Pre-order Whispers of Love here. (Please note we are still waiting for our links to the title at Kobo and Nook, but they are definitely coming!)