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Courtney Milan to visit Australia

23 December 2016

courtney-milan_200As everyone must surely know by now, Courtney Milan will be in Australia in February 2017 to attend our 5th romance readers convention. This month we are chatting with Courtney to get to know her better ahead of ARRC2017 …

What kind of books did you love when you were a child?

I loved all kinds of fiction, but particularly fantasy and science fiction. I was obsessed with Robin McKinley’s Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword, and I read Jane Yolen’s series about dragon-fighting over and over and over. I was also really into Tolkien and all kinds of science fiction.

Do you remember the first romance novel you read?

Yes, it was Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney! I read it at a friend’s house where I was staying over the holidays. His mother was a big romance fan, and there was a huge snowstorm, so I started reading …

How old were you when you knew that you wanted to be a writer?

I wanted to be a writer when I was ten, but I was really bad at it and had no life experience to speak of. I decided I was terrible and needed to do something else when I was 19, after years of trying to write Works of Serious Literature. I didn’t start trying again until I was in my 30s.

When did you first sit down and start to write? How long after that before you were published?

I first started at the end of 2006—so almost exactly 10 years ago, now! I signed my first publishing contract in the middle of 2008, and my first novella came out at the end of 2009.

How hard was it to first get published?

This is going to sound horrible … but it wasn’t, not for me. Part of it is that I wrote two books that weren’t good enough to be published when I was in a point where I couldn’t have tried to sell them. So I let them sit—because I had no choice—and that gave me time to improve as a writer and see what my mistakes were. By the time I was able to pitch a book, I’d improved my craft a lot. So … I got an agent the first time I pitched to someone at conference, and she sold my first book that she signed me for. We had an offer within a couple of days of going on submission.

So I wish I had a horrible publishing story, but I don’t.

What authors do you read and/or admire now that you’re an author too?

This won’t be a comprehensive list, but: Tessa Dare, Alyssa Cole, Sarah MacLean, Alisha Rai, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Ilona Andrews, Thea Harrison, Patricia Briggs, Nalini Singh, Julie James, Kit Rocha, KJ Charles, Rose Lerner—and I’m missing dozens, if not hundreds, of amazing authors, but that’s a great start.

If you weren’t a writer, what career do you think you would have now?

Who knows? I’ve done a lot of things. I’m not sure what I would be doing otherwise.

Other than books, what is one item you can’t resist buying?

I’m kind of an Apple gadget fan. ‘Kind of’—heh. My love for Apple would be embarrassing if it were not so pure.

You made the move away from traditional publishing a while ago now—what was the impetus and are you enjoying self-publishing? What was the learning curve like?

This is a hard question for me to answer. I did it because I like control and I like money, and self-publishing gives me more of both. I am really enjoying self-publishing, although at this point I don’t even think about the process; it’s pretty automatic.

The learning curve is really not that bad … BUT I should add that I like analytical things and challenges, and so it didn’t bother me. Some people find it intimidating. It all just depends on your personality.

Has there been any interest in any of your books for movies or television? (Trade Me would make an awesome movie!)

Not really. My books tend to be really strong on internal conflict, and those are often difficult to adapt for the screen.

You’ve had several books out this year, what can we expect from you in 2017? Any plans to branch out in another direction?

For the last couple of years, I’ve been publishing less than normal. This is because I’ve been writing a few things that have long timelines, and it’s taken me a while to get them in order. And that kind of means that I hope that 2017 will be a banner year for me.

You should get (hopefully):

  • Historicals: two full-length historical romances and a novella in The Worth Saga (After the Wedding and The Devil Comes Courting are the two full-length books, and the novella is tentatively titled The Pursuit).
  • Contemporaries: Find Me, the next entry in the Cyclone series.
  • And—I don’t know if this counts as a contemporary or not, but let’s call it a contemporary—a five volume series of books that are … pretty close to full-length, honestly, series title What Lies Between Me and You, with individual titles for the books TBA.

In short, if things go well, I will probably publish more than twice as many words in 2017 as I’ve ever put out in any given year.

In terms of branching out in another direction—you’ll have to decide whether I’ve done that when you read these books. 🙂 I think they’re pretty firmly in the direction that I’ve been pointing for a while, but I’m not sure everyone will agree. The novella (related to the Worth Saga) is a gay romance set in Revolutionary War America. The third book in the Worth Saga is set in Shanghai. And What Lies Between Me and You is a gay romance spanning 25 years that starts in 1992 (or maybe even 1986, depending on how you look at it).

I haven’t written anything like these things before, but you probably won’t find them surprising.

What are you most looking forward to doing while you are in Australia? Will you have the chance to explore?

We’re going to the Great Barrier Reef while we’re here, and I’m looking forward to that both because it’s relevant to a book I’m planning to write, and also because I still hold out hope that it will continue to exist as a living entity for years to come. My husband and I will be here for a couple of weeks, and we love nature, food, and new places, so we’re really looking forward to this!

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booksBefore she started writing historical romance, Courtney Milan got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After that, just to shake things up, she went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude. Then she did a handful of clerkships with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here. She was a law professor for a while.

Her favourite job by far is the one she has now: writing romance. She is a three-time RITA® finalist as well as a New York Times and a USA Today bestseller. She has twice been nominated for Favourite Historical Romance in the Australian Romance Readers Awards—for Proof of Seduction and Unveiled. She lives with her husband near the Rocky Mountains, where she serves as a chauffeur to her dog and a chef to her cat.

You can find Courtney here: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

If you would like to meet Courtney while she is in Australia, be sure to book your ticket for ARRC2017.

[This article first appeared in the December 2016 newsletter.]

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