I had the pleasure of meeting Gwyn last June at the Wanderlust Signing in San Antonio. In our first meeting I found someone that I clicked with almost instantly. Her humor, her love for reading and her fans. I am so super excited to start our Author Spotlight with her. I am hoping you get an insight into an talented author through our interview. I strive to not use generic questions and make each interview personal.
- What is something that you wish you knew before you got into the industry?
How to properly market and promote a book. I got some bad advice and really missed out on an opportunity to launch my brand strong during a time with far less competition than there is now.
- Your covers are always so beautifully done. Are you extremely hands-on in the designing of them, like the Inland series?
OMG yes. LOL. I am a control freak and I am anal about my covers. The cover image (whether it’s a solo or couple) has to exactly match the vision of my characters and feel of the story, or I won’t even consider using it. Most of my covers are custom images from photographers in the industry.
- Anyone who has been following you or knows you knows how your husband likes to mess with your timelines, what is the funniest thing he has ever left on one of your boards?
Oh, jeez. There have been so damn many good ones. Probably the one that he pointed out and said, “It’s a full story! A beginning, a middle, and an end.” True. It was, but I don’t think, “Meet, bang, skull fuck her eyes, ditch that bitch” is the story my readers were looking for. You can find several of his greatest hits using this hashtag on the FB search bar: #MyHusbandsPlots
- For someone who is so extremely active not only in the writing world but also in their own personal life how do you manage your time?
I set goals for myself per day/per week on projects and make sure I meet them, and I try to use time I do have wisely. I dictate a lot of my books because I can do that while doing things around the house like laundry and cleaning or while out walking the neighborhood or at the park with my daughter. I just can’t dictate sex scenes for obvious reasons. LOL. I also try to give myself one or two “off” days a week where I don’t do anything at my computer. I may still be brainstorming or working something out in my head, but I’m not in front of the screen. No breaks leads to burnout.
- Your fans have seen you write as DP Payne and as Gwyn McNamee, what is your favorite genre to write in? And is there a genre that you want to try that you have yet to do?
I really love writing darker romance, and I have more dark romance coming in the next few years. My style of dark doesn’t include the super controversial stuff like dubcon or non-con. It’s more bloody and heroes aren’t heroes kind of romance. I’ve written in so many genres but I would love to do a psychological legal thriller, kind of John Grisham style. With my background as a criminal defense attorney, that’s the world I know very well and I have a series plotted in the back of my head but it’s not ready for the world yet.
- Every author has their own way of measuring their success. Some are by awards, others are by orange banners on Amazon, how do you measure your success? What to you makes you successful?
While I would love to say I don’t care about money/sales, that would be a lie. This is my business, so of course, I love selling lots of books and getting “orange banners,” which I have on several books and boxsets, but for me, the biggest thing that makes a book a success is great reviews. When I look at a book like Savage Collision¸ which is the first book I ever published as Gwyn, and it’s been over three years since its release, and it has over 250 reviews on Amazon and almost ALL of them are glowing, I feel successful.
- Anyone who knows me knows that I love to ask this question, if you could have anyone mentor you who would it be? And why that particular person?
Oh, gosh. Probably Willow Winters because she’s an indie and she came into the market with a BANG and has stayed on top and successful. Plus, she’s amazingly kind, sweet, and down to Earth every time I have spoken with her. We also have children around the same age, so she gets my struggle to balance family time with writing time.
- Have you ever been able to ignore your muse?
FUCK NO! LOL. Why do you think I write in so many damn genres? LOL! My muse is STRONG and I write what is speaking to me the most first, so that’s how I’ve ended up with contemporary angsty romance, romcoms, dark romances, romantic suspense, and PNR.
- Do you have any advice for someone who is just starting to get into writing? Whether published or trying to decide to publish?
My first advice is to jot down your ideas when you have them crystal clear in your head. Even if it’s just Post-it notes all over your desk. You never know when one line will spark an entire series – like it did for me. Also, just write. It seems so obvious, but people get so hung up on how they should be writing. and everyone has their own process so what works for one author might not work for another. I would recommend buying some resources on plotting/story structure in the genre you want to write in and reading those, too. A draft can ALWAYS be fixed with a good, knowledgeable editor helping you, but if you have some frame of reference, it helps things move along easier.
- Is there anyone that you would like to thank, other than the normal you know husband and family, who has helped you succeed in this business?
This is a tough one because many single pieces of advice have helped me at various times, but the thing that comes to mind first for me is Mal Cooper’s talk about FB ads back in 2017 at a writer’s conference. I had wasted thousands on ads that didn’t convert for over a year and was fed up, but the presentation, even though it was short, maybe half an hour, completely opened my eyes to what I had been doing wrong. I came home and applied the advice and concepts Mal had given at the conference, and within two months of starting ads again, my sales had increased ten-fold because I suddenly understood them. That was a MAJOR turning point for me, when I figured out how to make money off my books.
- What is something you feel that the Indie world is missing or overlooking?
Kindness! There are so many amazing authors, bloggers, and readers in this community, but there are also people who are drama llamas and can’t just be nice and support one another. If you see a new release, share it, because FB is making visibility harder and harder for authors. If an author asks if they can pop into your group to share a sale or new release, say yes! If an aspiring author is looking for advice, offer what you’ve learned.
- And just because Joe knows that you hate this question, is it hard?
BWAHHAHAHAH tell Joe I’ll get him back when I see you guys at Wanderlust this summer. Yes, it’s REALLY, REALLY hard to be an author. Writing the book is the EASY part, and half the time, that drains the life from you. Trying to market in this competitive industry takes far more time that writing the book, and things are constantly changing. When I started editing a decade ago for indie authors, it was right when Amazon self-publishing was starting up, and competition was nil. You wrote a great book, and you sold a lot of books! You flew up the charts. That doesn’t happen anymore. You write a great book and it may sit and languish unread simply because you aren’t a big enough name to have people sharing and getting excited about it or don’t have the budget to run the kind of ads necessary today to get seen. It can be heartbreaking at times, but my fans keep me writing! That and the muse I can’t turn off.
I want to thank Gwyn for taking the time to sit and answer these questions for me. I hope you check her out, because you will be in for an amazing time. Not only that but you will also get to know a great person. I will be looking forward to her legal thriller. I’ll also be bugging her to write it.
Gwyn McNamee is an attorney, writer, wife, and mother (to one human baby and two fur babies). Originally from the Midwest, Gwyn relocated to her husband’s home town of Las Vegas in 2015 and is enjoying her respite from the cold and snow. Gwyn has been writing down her crazy stories and ideas for years and finally decided to share them with the world. She loves to write stories with a bit of suspense and action mingled with romance and heat.
When she isn’t either writing or voraciously devouring any books she can get her hands on, Gwyn is busy adding to her tattoo collection, golfing, and stirring up trouble with her perfect mix of sweetness and sarcasm (usually while wearing heels).
Gwyn is the author of The Hawke Family Series, The Slip Series, The Deadliest Sin Series, The Inland Seas Series, and The Supernatural Love Stories in the Absurd (as her alter-ego D.P. Payne).