Heather B. Moore is a four-time USA Today bestseller and award-winning author of more than fifty publications. Her historical novels are set in Ancient Arabia and Mesoamerica. She’s not old and doesn’t remember the time period, so Google has become a great friend. Although she spent several years living in the Middle East, she prefers to forget the smells. Heather writes historicals and thrillers under H.B. Moore. She also writes women’s fiction, romance, and inspirational non-fiction under Heather B. Moore, including The Newport Ladies Book Club, and the Amazon bestselling Timeless Romance Anthologies. Heather’s USA Today bestselling titles include Heart of the Ocean, Mail Order Bride, Mistress Grim, and Poetic Justice. Heather also writes Young Adult speculative under pen name Jane Redd, which includes the Solstice series.
1) Do you have an ‘elevator pitch’ for your Pine Valley series (Worth the Risk and Where I Belong)? How do you describe it? The Pine Valley series is a small town romance. Romance readers love romance series but they don’t necessarily want the romance to drag on book after book. So in this, there are several characters in the same town. Each story is about a new couple. It’s loosely based on a N California community. She doesn’t mention the word CA, just once in every book—she just wanted to create a community that others could relate to. It’s a small town and has a wholesome romance feel to it. Like a Hallmark movie but hopefully less cheesy. 🙂
2) Tell us a little about your writing journey, and at what point did you hit USA Today? (Congrats, by the way!) She started writing when she was 30 years old, and she had a book idea — was helping her grandma with her personal history. That turned into a book and she didn’t know if it was good or not — it took her at least 3 yrs before she started to see interest from publishers. Her first publisher, Covenant, is her current one, too—she’s been with them for 14 yrs now. Covenant is more niche and they target a certain market. About 5-6 yrs ago, indie publishing was becoming very mainstream. Before that, it was what you did when nobody else wanted your book. But she had a few friends who had gone the self-pub route. She watched them, and heard that people would hit lists if they published box sets or collections. Her first time hitting the list was a box set of books by a group of authors that were already published, but they put them together as a group. They swapped newsletters, bought ads, etc. Then she hit the list three more times in different ways. She’s also in an anthology called Mail Order Bride. That had been out for at least a year, but she ran a sale and a BookBub ad, and it broke the top 50 on Amazon and was #3 on B&N. That hit the list. On her blog, she’s got more details of her writing journey and strategies.
3) Tell us a little about your backlist. What else have you written? When she first wrote for Covenant it was historical fiction. Almost all her books are religious based or based on scriptural characters. She has a book on Esther the Queen. One of her books is Daughters of Jared, about two sisters who are princesses, in ancient Mesoamerica. It’s a story of how they are opposites and they support each other. Another is Finding Sheba: a thriller, like Da Vinci Code meets Indiana Jones. There’s now 4 books in the series. She loves history and loves to combine adventure.
4) I love the fact that you write clean romance. Tell us a bit about why you chose to go that route. It’s definitely unusual! Part of the reason is because of personal beliefs. Covenant also has a specific audience, and her readership was built over the years with them. She felt like if she went outside that too far, core readership would be upset. That’s also where her comfort zone is. But not all of her books are “squeaky” clean — some are more PG13-rated.
5) Who are some of your favorite authors/books that you would consider to be your inspirations? Amy Harmon: she started with contemporary romance and women’s fiction, but she did a WWII novel that won an award. She also has a fantasy series. Beautiful prose. And Josi Kilpack writes historical women’s fiction which she loves. She also likes quirky ones, like My Plain Jane. She reads 2-3 WWII era novels per year as well: recently read Beneath a Scarlet Sky. And she recently read America’s First Daughter, as well.
6) Are you self-published, hybrid, or traditional (and why did you choose to go that route)? She is hybrid. With Covenant, she has a book come out yearly. She also writes thrillers for Thomas and Mercer, an Amazon imprint, and self-publishes—sometimes she puts those books on Kindle Unlimited. Her marketing strategy is such that she changes that around depending on what she’s trying to do.
7) What advice might you have for other authors out there: what’s the most effective marketing strategy you’ve used to date? If you really want to self-publish, you have to treat it as a business. You’ll spend a few grand in production of the book. If she wants to write a contemporary romance series, and she wants to be successful and make money, she’ll have to invest that money — she’ll be going head to head with other successful authors. Have a professional cover, typesetting, editing, a great description and a catchy tag line. Volume also makes a difference: if you have 1-2 books come out, you’ll likely only sell 50 books per month. Once you have more books come out, that’s when you see a rise in sales. You also want to have a newsletter and market to your readers. At the beginning of all her books, she uses a “reader magnet” to capture email addresses for something that’s free. Start building and retaining your audience.
8) Anything I haven’t asked you that you want to make sure you communicate to our audience? Just says don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, but don’t compare yourself to other people either. Find her on hbmoore.com, or Facebook, or Amazon.