Author Spotlight: C.M. Albert
October 18, 2020 • News
CJC: How did you get started as an author and what made you want to pursue that field?
CA: It’s so cliché, but I’ve wanted to be an author ever since I was a little girl. I came from a family of voracious readers, which helped instill that love of language early on. I used to write family newsletters and was constantly journaling or writing really tragic, terrible poetry. Eventually that love of the written word led to a degree in Organizational Communications and marketing, and then a career as a Communications Manager for an executive at a Fortune 500 company.
But I wanted and needed a more creative outlet, so when our son was born, I left my 9-to-5 forever. While he was little, I started writing a YA paranormal series and freelanced for a bridal magazine or two. I then decided to do some freelance copyediting for authors, which led me to an amazing opportunity to write a book for one of my client’s Kindle Worlds (they no longer exist). That’s how my first book, “Faith in Love,” came to be and I haven’t looked back since.
Funny story – when I first met my husband, I told him I was going to be a famous author someday, so I needed to make sure he’d be okay with all my fame. (What can I say? I was crazy confident in my twenties.) Well, I’m still waiting on the famous part, but I certainly made the dream of becoming a published author come true.
CJC: What do you find to be the most rewarding and challenging part of being an author and what hurdles have you overcome while striving towards your goals?
CA: The most rewarding for me is two parts. The first is the pure act of writing. I think I would shrivel up and die if I didn’t have a creative outlet for all these ideas in my brain. To start with a single thread of inspiration and keep tugging at it until characters come to life, to then getting a cohesive plot together, then making it all come together on the page is so emotionally rewarding when you finish. We joke, but it truly does feel like birthing a book baby. You start with the tiniest seed and end up with a full-grown tree. It’s an amazing feeling. The other part is when readers reach out to you and tell you how much your book meant to them, or how it came at a time when they really needed it and something inside moved them in a positive way. I always say if I can reach just one person with my books, I’d feel like a success.
The most challenging part for me is the business side of being an Indie writer. I’ll be honest, I don’t want to think numbers anymore now that I’m no longer in the financial services industry. I love the creative outlet of writing, and I detest the ads, the marketing, and the sales side. Getting new readers is hard work and takes a certain skill beyond creativity. I’m all up for the hard work it takes to be an author, but I think people’s heads would explode if they knew how much time Indie authors spent on ad development, tracking metrics, and cost per click. It’s a necessary evil if you want to be successful. It’s just the least favorite part of my job.
CJC: Which novel has been your favorite to write and why?
CA: This is always so hard to answer, but I’d have to say “The Stars in Her Eyes.” I think it’s because I always swore I’d never write a multi-partner romance, but I pushed myself to really think about how someone could end up in that situation. And it was the first time the words couldn’t be written fast enough. I just got the energy of these friends, their dynamic, their characters, their heart. I ended up writing 100K words in less than a month. And I had the most fun doing it. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I ended up loving the friends’ dynamics just as much as the love aspects.
CJC: For first time readers of your work, which book would you recommend?
CA: This is so hard. It’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. All my books are steamy contemporary romance, so you have to like heat, first of all. If you love explosive heat, I’d say “The Stars in Her Eyes” —it seems to be a reader favorite but does have multi-partner scenarios and isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But in general, I’d probably say “Faith in Love” since that’s where it all started and is book one in the Arden’s Glen romance series. It’s a good blend of high heat, deeply romantic, and inspirational. I like to end with so much hope. That said, my new book “Consumed by Love” may be one of my all-time favorites. I could read and write Brynn, Pierce, and Noah all day long. The chemistry was just so explosive in this love triangle, and I’m all about destined romance. I’m a die-hard believer in soulmates and ever-lasting love. The deeply romantic nature of this book plus the high heat is an amazing book to start with to get a taste of my writing.
CJC: If one of your books were made into a movie, which would you select and who would you like to star in it?
CA: Of my current ones, I’d probably say “Faith in Love.” Everyone who first read it said they wanted to see it made into a movie—I think because of the small-town charm, the swoon-worthy wellness center that Celeste is opening, their intense/immediate chemistry, and the way Egan has to overcome an awful lot of grief to let love in again. Not to mention, a creepy, narcissistic ex. Victoria Justice is closest to how I imagine Celeste to look and would be my top choice. For Egan, I would say Tyler Hoechlin. He was my inspiration from day one.
CJC: For those looking to become an author, what advice would you give them?
CA: Do it. Don’t give up. Most people who want to become an author want to because they have a story inside of them that needs to come out. They feel driven to express themselves creatively in the written word. If you have a story inside you, or the desire to write one, it’s never too late. I published my first book at 42. I am forever grateful that I never gave up or felt like it was too late.
My immediate tips are:
1) Start finding a supportive writing community online that you can learn from and be inspired by.
2) Never compare yourself to others. Your path is your path. And only you have your unique voice and perspective. Don’t discount that.
3) Write. The bottom line is passion can burn inside you all day long, but it’ll only get you so far if you don’t sit down and actually write. Don’t let fear prevent you from getting words on paper. The biggest thing it takes to become a published author is to write your story. It’s so cliché, but your book won’t write itself.
CJC: If you could co-write a book with any author, who would it be and why?
CA: Sienna Snow. The reason why is because I know her, I trust her, and I love her writing. Our writing styles and heat levels are similar enough to make co-writing pretty seamless, I think. And OMG it would be an explosive book! Hey…Sienna…
CJC: Favorite motto?
CA: “It doesn’t take a Herculean effort to be kind to someone.” We are all beginners at some point. I was blessed to have so many amazing, inspiring, courageous, kind, smart women who helped me along my career path as a writer. And they always held a hand back for me to help show me the way. So, I try to do the same. What you end up taking for granted as an established author is often the starting stones for a new one and means the world when you point them in the right direction or give some advice with a little kindness.
CJC: What do you do to overcome writer’s block?
CA: The first thing I do is do something else. For me that’s usually meditate, walk, kayak, or even take a shower. I do the things that allow me to zone out in my happy place without electronics or other distractions so my mind can be clear to receive. That’s usually when ideas start flowing in. If that doesn’t work, I will usually read a few books with really good writing. Because I never get enough time to read anyway, so why not use the down time to get inspired by someone else’s amazing writing? Hearing someone else’s cadence that works, and the feelings it elicits, is always inspirational to me.
I will also create a playlist for the book I’m writing, find quotes that speak to me of their motives or character, and create Pinterest storyboards for each book to inspire me and really dive deep into the characters and their world. Seeing, hearing, and creating their overall world, inner workings, motivations, that usually gets the creative juices flowing more than almost anything. The last thing I do is write anyway. It’s a little cliché, but the more you write the easier it gets. Even if it’s crappy and you have to rework it, it’s still getting words down. I think some people give up too soon. It’s just like with running. The first three miles usually suck while you’re warming up your muscles. Believe it or not, it gets easier after that. The same is true with writing. Sometimes I’m rusty the first thirty minutes or so, but if I keep at it, usually that intuitive/creative part of my brain starts to take over and I stop overthinking each word and just let whatever comes to flow. Knock on wood, but so far, it’s worked.
CJC: In one word, how would you describe your writing style?
CJC: Which do you find harder to do… writing the blurb for your story or selecting the cover?
CA: Don’t shoot me, but neither. These are two of my favorite things to do. I usually write my blurb first before ever writing the story, which is different than how other authors seem to do it. But I usually get the blurb crystal clear first thing, and that’s what ends up inspiring and driving the story. And usually the cover idea comes in tandem. It’s why I have about ten covers designed and their blurbs already written for future books. I get inspired so easily. It’s just finding the time to write everything!
CJC: Which author inspires you the most and why?
CA: I would probably say Colleen Hoover. The reason why is because she worked her ass off to rise up from a tougher start to becoming a full-time writer. Then, once she became successful, she stayed just as down-to-earth as when she started. She constantly gives back to charities and to her readers. She appreciates every part of her success and doesn’t take it for granted. She’s genuine. And she keeps working hard and doesn’t rest on her laurels. It’s nice to see an author that successful not lose themselves in the process. She’s also been a smart businesswoman and brought in many new opportunities for herself and her business. That, and she’s loyal to those who have helped her and been there for her along the way. She inspires me to believe that big success can happen to anyone with hard work and drive.
CJC: What is your writing process like?
CA: I usually get inspired by an idea, a small seed like I mentioned earlier. I usually let the characters start to percolate and begin to come alive and speak to me. That’s when I’ll start my creative process of writing the blurb, choosing an image for a cover, creating Pinterest boards for inspiration, and creating playlists that capture the heart of the story. That usually gets me excited to start writing. I write from home, usually in the same room and the same chair. It’s my creative safe place here I can concentrate. (I’m answering my interview questions from there now.) Then I just start writing. I usually write a couple thousand words at a time. Sometimes I self-edit as I go, other times I just refresh myself enough with the last chapter before diving in to writing again. But usually I write a pretty solid first draft. I’m what’s called a panster more than a plotter. Meaning I don’t sit down and plot out every act and scene. I start with an end I know I am working toward. Sometimes I’ll loosely jot down key things that have to happen to get me there. But my writing style is more intuitive. As I get closer to the end, I will write a list of things that I either need to tie up, things I need to go back in and flesh out now that I know the direction of the story and ending, or things that I know have to happen before the story ends. That’s about as technical as I get.
CJC: What new projects are you currently working on and what are your goals for the remainder of the year?
CA: I’m not sure what possessed me, but I actually have two back-to-back releases this year—it’s just how the cards fell. “Consumed by Love” comes out 10/22, and “Mister Stand-In” comes out 11/8. Those are my only planned releases right now. Though I am contemplating finishing a holiday novella and surprising readers with a stealth release of it. If I have time, I will. But my writing priority for the rest of the year is a top-secret writing project I’m trying to wrap up that ended up turning into a duet. The first book is off to the editor as we speak, and I am furiously writing the second book. I hope to publish it in early 2021. I meant to take this fall off from writing since releases tend to take a toll on me, but these characters would not leave me alone until I got their story down. This duet is more women’s fiction than my normal contemporary romances, and they make me shake I am so overcome and inspired by them. I truly think they are some of my best writing and will be a gamechanger. They will be my 9th and 10th books and I’ll release them about a month apart so readers won’t have to wait.
CJC: Any final thoughts you would like to share with the CJC Photography readers?
CA: Just that the collaboration of an author and photographer is so special. I think it’s so amazing how one creative person can be so moved by their work and take these amazing, beautiful, inspiring, feeling-provoking images, that then in turn inspire a writer to create entire stories around them.
As soon as I saw your image with BT Urruela and Rachael Baltes, I knew it was the perfect fit for “Consumed by Love.” It had the exact tension, sexual chemistry, passion, and this feeling of holding your breath, being on the precipice of what is about to happen next. That’s what I mean about this symbiotic relationship within the creative process between the photographer, the models, the art, the written word. They all end up harmoniously working together, even though each in itself is its own unique expression of creativity. I think that’s a pretty cool thing to witness. What’s funny about this particular cover is, it actually inspired me to change who my main character would end up with. She is torn between two men in her life, and I thought I knew who it had to be…until I sat with this cover for a while. Was inspired by the tension and chemistry. Then I knew in my heart what had to happen. All from one image. Art inspires art.
I’m just extremely proud of my collaboration with you, BT, Rachel, my cover designer, Marisa Wesley of Cover Me Darling, LLC, who took my vision and your gorgeous image, and brought it to life even better than I could have dreamed.
CJC – Thank you so much for C.M. for taking the time to partake in this interview. It was such a pleasure working with you on this project with BT and Rachael and getting to know you more during this interview as well.
“Consumed by Love” is now available and can be purchased here.
Stay up to date with all of C.M.’s latest releases here.