Meet Debut Author Rebecca J. Clark

Rebecca J. Clark, known to her fellow 2008 Golden Heart finalists as Becky, sold her finaling manuscript, Borrowed Stilettos, to The Wild Rose Press just two months after attending the Romance Writers of America® national conference in San Francisco.

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Rebecca J. Clark

Although she writes about stilettos, you won’t find Becky in them. Why? Her day job is fitness trainer and instructor, and heels just don’t cut it. She’s held positions prior to this one, which didn’t require stilettos either. Before being a stay-at-home mom for 12 years, she worked in graphic design and PR.

When I asked Becky to share an interesting fact about herself, she came up with something no other writer has shared. To capture the full flavor, I’ll quote her. “I love cemeteries. I’ve streaked through them, had pizza delivered to them, and played hide and seek in them. You’d think I was a paranormal writer, wouldn’t you?”

And now it’s time to learn more about this “author of sizzling contemporary romance.”

•Becky, your journey to publication is a story of perseverance. You wrote for 15 years before you sold. You started when your oldest was, as you called her, the “Alien Toddler,” and didn’t sell until she was an “Alien Teen.” How did you stay focused all those years?

First of all, thanks for having me here, Keli. And congratulations for the milestone of 10,000 hits on your blog.

Staying focused all those years was tough—I won’t pretend otherwise. I wanted to quit many times, but just couldn’t do it. Somewhere along the way, I realized I didn’t feel complete unless I was writing. Once I knew that about myself, I knew I could never give up. Ever.

This business is all about tenacity and perseverance … with a bit of luck and good timing thrown in. I used to joke that when the sun, moon and stars aligned, I would sell. Luckily for me, they finally aligned.

•How do you balance motherhood, work outside the home, and your writing?

I’ve learned to work in small increments, wherever I am and whenever I can. When I first started writing, I needed at least a two-hour block, and it had to be quiet in the house. Now, I’ve taught myself to write with my laptop in the middle of the living room with kids and hubby going about their normal, loud lives.

I also learned to prioritize. I don’t have much of a social life, and I don’t spend much time online (at least I didn’t before I got my contract. Now it’s all about getting my name “out there.”)

Becky at the Awards Ceremony at RWA Nationals in  August 2008.

Becky at the Awards Ceremony at RWA Nationals in August 2008.

•You sold your Golden Heart finalist story just two months after RWA® Nationals. Did you receive The Call, or was it The Email, as I’m learning is happening more often these days? When it came, what was your reaction? Did your happy dance lean more to a mellow expression such as you teach in your Pilates classes, or did you jump about wildly and throw in some impressive moves more like you’d demonstrate to your Kickboxing students?

“The Email” just doesn’t have the same ring to it as “The Call,” does it? My reaction was a bit subdued. I was on the phone with my sister and checking email at the same time. When I opened up one from my now editor, I told my sister, “I need to hang up. I think I just sold my first book.” I was calm while she was freaking out on her end. I went up to my husband who was working at home that day, and said, “Get off the phone. Now. I just sold my book.” Again, I was nice and calm.

After so many years of hard work and frustration, when the big moment came, it was kind of surreal, like I didn’t know how to react. You think I’d be jumping up and down, screaming, crying, dancing around the room. Of course, I did do all those things later, after it had sunk in that I had finally, finally, FINALLY realized my dream.

•Your debut novel, Borrowed Stilettos, due to be released by The Wild Rose Press for digital download and paperback in 2009, has garnered some nice awards. What aspects of the story are you happiest with?

I love this story because it’s fun—it was fun to write, and hopefully it’ll be fun to read. One big-time agent (who ultimately rejected it) said she was smiling the whole time she read it. My editor said it was the most fun she’s had editing a book in a long time. Have I used the word “fun” enough? Fun, fun, fun. 🙂

•What gave you the idea for this story?

I grew up with a sister who I thought led a charmed life in high school. She was naturally thin and beautiful (and still is, which really ticks me off), a cheerleader, and very popular. She was your basic teenage nightmare to an insecure and shy little sister like me. On several occasions, boys acted interested in me to get to her. A few years ago, I told this to a writer friend, and she made me promise to put it in a book someday. (Thanks, Charli!). In my story, Audrey gets to change places with her sister.

Becky's debut novel.

Becky's debut novel.

•A book’s title is so important. Your debut novel was first known as Oops! Wrong Sister, which tells a great deal about the plot. Now, however, it bears the name, Borrowed Stilettos. When did the name change and why?

I’d originally written this story as a sweet book (ie: no sex) and had no luck selling it or placing it with an agent. About a year ago, I met with an agent at a conference and asked her advice about selling in this market. She told me to write hot. I’d always thought about making this story hotter, but you can’t just throw in a bunch of sex scenes and expect it to work. I had to change much of the plot, the characters, their GMC’s … basically, I rewrote the whole darn thing. It became a brand new book, thus the title change.

•The main character of Borrowed Stilettos is Audrey, half of a set of twins. She’s the mild mannered one, whereas her sister is flamboyant and yet cowardly. Which of these two characters are you most like?

I’m more like Audrey. I’m very sensible and practical; some people might call me boring. And I consider myself mild-mannered … although my husband of 21 years might disagree with that assessment.

Which did you find the most fun to write, and why?

I really enjoyed writing both characters. I like Audrey because she’s more like me, but she gets to do things and say things I never could. I like Ava because she’s so outrageous. In fact, I enjoyed Ava so much she’s getting her own story.

•Are you a stilettos gal, or are tennis shoes more your style?

I’ve never owned a pair of stilettos, and probably never will. I’m 5’ 8” and have no desire to be taller. Besides, I work on my feet at a gym, training and teaching fitness classes. If I ruin my feet by stuffing them into pretty but painful shoes, I can’t work. See? I told you I’m sensible (and boring). 🙂

•With Borrowed Stilettos sold, are you hard at work on revisions? Once they’re completed, what will you be working on? Do you have a work in progress, or has your editor at The Wild Rose Press suggested a possible new project?

I just sent in the first round of revisions to my editor this week. As soon as revisions are completely done, I’ll get a release date.

I have several works in progress. One is Ava’s story, which promises to be sexy and fun. And I’m in the middle of a single title contemporary romance with a touch of the paranormal.

•And now a question just for fun. If a generous benefactor financed a new fitness center and put you in charge, where would it be built, what type of classes and equipment would it hold, and what eats would you offer in the on-site café?

First of all, being in charge of a big fitness center would be my biggest nightmare. I could never be a manager of anything other than myself—even that is a stretch sometimes. I’m way too unorganized and right-brained to run anything … unless it was into the ground. 🙂

However, since you asked … I’d offer classes to teach people that fitness comes in all shapes and sizes. I’d also offer cooking classes to show that healthy eating can be delicious.

And the on-site café would offer just one food: chocolate. But it would be a new kind of chocolate that’s as good for you and as low-cal as broccoli.

It’s been great having you as my guest, Becky. And now, in closing, is there a final comment you’d like to make or a question you’d like to ask?

Question #1: What’s the most you’ve ever paid for a pair of shoes?

My answer: $50. Did I mention I was cheap?

Question #2: What’s the least you’ve ever paid for a pair of shoes? (Receiving them as a gift doesn’t count.)

My answer: $2.50 from the K-Mart clearance rack. What’s funny about this is I wore those shoes to an RWA national conference a few years back. I swear every time I was on the elevator, someone complimented my shoes. My cheap, little secret. 🙂

Leave a Comment for Becky

Becky will be dropping by throughout the next two days to chat.

If you don’t see a comment form below, please use the link by the post title.

Win Cool Prizes!!

I’m holding a drawing. Two lucky winners will get to choose between a $5 Borders gift card or a set of ten stiletto note cards made by me, your resident blog host and scrapbooker. If you leave a comment with your email address in the appropriate field, your name is entered in the drawing. (I don’t share your address. If you’d rather not enter, just say so in your comment.)

I’ll conduct the drawing on 12/17 for all those entered through 12/16. See prizes below.

Congrats to the two winners, Erin Charles and Tracy!

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Option 1 - $5 Borders Gift Card

Option 2 - Set of 10 Handmade Stiletto Note Cards

Option 2 - Set of 10 Handmade Stiletto Note Cards

Made by Keli Stamp

Learn More About Becky

Visit her Web site – http://www.rebeccajclark.com.

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
This entry was posted in author interview, Golden Heart, Romance Writers of America, RWA Nationals, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Meet Debut Author Rebecca J. Clark

  1. Becky says:

    Thanks, Tammy! I’ll see you tomorrow night if this is *that* Tammy.

    I appreciate you taking the time to stop by.

    🙂

  2. Avery says:

    Hi Becky! I love to read Pixie call stories and had fun drinking with you at the SF Cheesecake Factory. 🙂

    I think $60-$70 is the most I’ve spent on a pair of shoes, but I tend to buy two at a time, so that raises the price a bit, LOL. $3.00 Old Navy sandals are probably the cheapest I’ve bought.

  3. Becky says:

    Hey Avery–
    I bet you’re getting excited about your first book coming out, eh?

    I love Old Navy sandals. I’d forgotten about those. 🙂

    And the Cheesecake Factory is awesome–no matter what city you’re in.

  4. Hi, Becky,

    Thanks for sharing the story of your upcoming book. I’m looking forward to reading it.
    On cemeteries – often when my husband and I visit small towns, we will hunt up the local cemetery and take a walk through. A couple in our area (Washington State) come to mind: the one in Pt. Gamble and the one in Ocean Park, on the Long Beach Peninsula.

    Linda Hope Lee

  5. Becky says:

    Hey Linda,
    I’ve been to the one in Port Gamble–very cool. I don’t know what it is about graveyards, but I find them fascinating. Not scary at all. Except…

    When I was in high school, I lived not far from Saint Martin’s College. There was an old cemetery on the grounds where monks were buried. It was in the woods in the middle of nowhere and it was gated. We’d take turns dropping each other off at the gate and we’d have to run through the pitch black night all the way to the back of the cemetery, touch the skirts of The Virgin Mary, then run back to the car. If we were lucky, our friends hadn’t left.

  6. Hi Becky, I am so excited and can not wait to get my juicy little hands on this hot number. Sorry to say but I was the evil sister but you already knew that!If your writing is anything as awesome as your training , we are all in for a treat! Your so talented and I am so proud of you! lots of love!

  7. Lisa Kennedy says:

    Congratulations!! I am so excited for you and for me because I get to read it! When is your book signing and where ? Cause I am so there!! From how the cover looks , my husband will enjoy the excitement as well. So many thanks ahead of time!

  8. Marie-Claude says:

    Hi Becky,
    So nice to learn more about you 🙂
    Fitness class OMG, we have to talk at the next GSRWA meeting!!! I taught fitness classes for 15 years until 6 months ago 🙂
    You’ll have to tell me all about your classes
    Thanks for sharing your journey, it is very inspiring. Makes me want to hang in there!

  9. Becky says:

    Lisa & Teresa
    You are both so awesome. This is an exciting time for me, and I’m just glad I have awesome friends to share it with. If and when I have book signings, i’ll definitely let you know.

  10. Erin Charles says:

    Becky,
    I am so proud of you!! You are a marvelous writer and deserve every minute of the incredible future that has just begun for you! You are my inspiration…. Sappy? Maybe. True? Definately!!!

  11. Hi, Becky! Late getting in here, but huge congrats on your sale! I looove those shoes on the cover!!

    Funny you ask about shoes. My home chapter is the Heart of Dixie. We are collectively a group of shoe whores. Our Queen is Linda Howard. We all freely admit this, and oddly enough we all came to it honestly. It’s just a collection of woman who love shoes!

    I love a good bargain, though, and I’m not Linda, so I think the most I’ve paid is $100. The least? Probably $5. If I had the money, I’d buy a pair of Christian Louboutins. I seriously like Betsey Johnson and BCBG too. And Gucci. And I could probably go on all night.

    See, shoe whore. 🙂 Congrats again!

  12. Theresa says:

    Hi Becky! Wow, great picture of you at the conference!!! Your book sounds wonderful. Can’t wait to read it and I love the cover. So happy for you. Enjoy your success!

    I happened to visit the 1st Calvary Cemetary in Brooklyn, NY when I was visiting my son a few weeks ago. My husband and I stayed in a hotel right next to this huge cemetary and i was hoping to get a visit from a ghost or two…but nothing happened. I did take a walk around the cemetary. It was interesting.

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  13. Marilyn (Mom) says:

    Honey, You have worked so hard and come so far…writing has always been a passion of yours…remember the one you wrote about the Bugs on the Branch”, when you were a little girl? Can’t wait to see and touch your first published book, holding it to my heart with pride and love for you! Sound syrupy? That’s ok…I’m tear-ing up now too! Love you, Honey. Mom

  14. C.J. Redwine says:

    Forgot to mention that my neighborhood has a tiny old cemetary nestled up against an old oak tree in the stretch of grass between two houses. It belonged to the original farming family who owned the acreage before it was sold years ago and then sold again to become our subdivision. The graves are so old, you can barely see anything on the tombstones and there’s no discernible pattern to the placement of the stones. There’s a small rusty iron fence around one of the stones and the rest just lie helter skelter around it.

    Interestingly enough, neighborhood kids (even the teenagers) leave it alone. I’ve never seen anyone hanging around it at all. Wonder if it’s haunted??? Hmm…might have a story idea in my own backyard. 😀

  15. Becky says:

    Hi everyone,
    Wow, I leave my computer for the night and wake up to a bunch of new posts.

    Marie-Claude–Yes, we’ll definitely have to talk. I’d heard you worked (or used to work) in the fitness industry. It’s fun, isn’t it?

    Erin–Thanks so much for the nice words. This journey is just beginning for you. Hopefully, I can help you steer clear of all the dumb things I did along the way.

    Lynn–The only shoe designer I recognized in your list was Gucci. I’m so out of the loop, aren’t I?

    Teresa–I think if I ever saw or felt a ghost in a cemetery, I’d pass out. 🙂 Thanks for coming by.

    Mom–You’re so funny. You’re my mom, you’re supposed to tear up. Just pass over the sex scenes when you read it, okay?

    C.J.–I’d be the lone kid hanging out in that little graveyard. How cool is that? Maybe it is haunted. Or maybe the kid in your neighborhood are just chicken. 🙂

  16. Julia says:

    Hi Becky,

    Congratulations on your book sale – I’m thrilled for you.

    It’s great to be thrifty…but seriously, you shouldn’t go through life without an experience at Nordstrom shoe department.

    I missed your presentation at ECWC…is there a quality low cal chocolate out there?

  17. Becky says:

    Hey Julia–
    No low-cal chocolate that I know of. But, trust me, if it’s out there, I’ll find it. And then I’ll let everyone know.

    After my presentation, Cherry Adair came into the room and said she wanted to hire me to train her. But that she wanted me to do all the exercise for her. Funny, eh? I wish it were that easy. But then, I’d be out of a job.

  18. Becky, congratulations on your upcoming release. Can’t wait to read it. Happy holidays to you and yours.

  19. Becky says:

    Thanks, Elaine. Happy holidays back atcha!

  20. Cathy P says:

    Congratulations again Becky!! I’m so happy for you and can’t wait to read your book.

    I had to laugh over your comment that Laurie was your ‘basic teenage nightmare’ – hello? Have you looked in the mirror? Of course, Laurie’s gorgeous too. Did I ever tell you I had an older AND younger sister like that??

    Try to stay warm – who decided a white Christmas was a good thing?

    Cathy

  21. Great interview, Keli and Rebecca! I love stories about twins, and can’t wait to read Borrowed Stilettoes!

  22. Keli Gwyn says:

    Becky, it’s been great having you as my guest. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better.

    Thanks to all the wonderful ladies and to the brave fellow who stopped by. It’s easy to see that Becky has lots of wonderful support.

    I held the drawing for those who left comments for Becky, and the winners are Tracy (comment #10) and Erin Charles. Congrats! I’ll be in touch.

  23. Congratulations, Becky, on your debut novel. You have a bright future ahead of you and I can’t wait to read your work.

    Merry Christmas,

    Natalie Acres

  24. Becky says:

    Keli–Thanks so much for having me here. I had a great time, and will pop in occasionally as I’m reading your new interviews.

    Cathy–You’re so sweet. But trust me on the “basic teenage nightmare” thing. 🙂

    Natalie–Thanks for coming by and thanks for the kind words. Merry Christmas back atcha!

    Christina–your blog is one of my favorites to visit!!! Thanks so much for coming over to my little corner of cyberspace.

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