Updated: Mar 24
Tell me a bit about yourself…
Hi there, I’m a book-loving, mother of two who lives in the South East of England. When I’m not writing, I’m usually found outside hiking, camping or enjoying days out with my boys. I’ve been married to my own leading man for 16 years after meeting him in school. I love to travel and bake too.
What genre/s do you write in?
My genre is romance with just the right amount of spice.
How long have you been writing?
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved writing stories. About 15 years ago, I wrote what I would consider my first full-length novel. However, I never pursued doing anything with it, mainly due to a lack of confidence. Since then, off and on, I have written parts of a story, but nothing ever came to fruition.
Then, during lockdown, finding myself, like lots of people, isolated at home for months on end, I found the creative spark I needed, and with plenty of time on my hands, I started writing again.
Do you have any published books or articles? Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.
Yes, I have one book published. A steamy romance, “Longing At Sea.” Inspired by the longing for vacation during the lockdown, it is mainly set aboard a dreamy Caribbean cruise. It follows the story of Alexa, a woman who finds her soon-to-be husband in the arms of another day before her wedding. Devastated, she decides not to let her dream honeymoon go to waste and embarks on it alone. Aboard the cruise, Alexa discovers a man that will blow her ex out of the water!
Deciding to self-publish, I published it on Amazon’s KDP publishing site.
Did you use an editor? If so who?
No, I didn’t use an editor. Instead, I asked a number of friends to help me proofread it for me.
Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
The artwork on my cover was created by a great local artist Chez Carpenter and the formatting by a fellow author Chessa Andersen.
Did you self-publish or get traditionally published? How did this go for you?
Self-published through Amazon KDP. My first time of using this route and I must say I have found it very straightforward and efficient to use.
How do you market your work and promote your brand?(Include links)
I market a lot of my work through the power of social media on a number of book lover groups. Sharing my work regularly on my page www.facebook.com/WillowLeighRaven and www.instagram.com/willow_leigh_raven
Earlier this year I also launched my own website www.willowleighraven.com which has regular updates for my readers.
What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
Instagram has a great platform for book lovers and authors alike. I gather lots of recommendations from there for future books to read. So much so my TBR is currently never-ending. Writing, I find that Microsoft word is my go-to for developing my stories.
Do you use an agent? No, I don’t. My journey so far has been completely independent.
Do you use paid advertising? If so what?
No, I haven’t used any paid advertising platforms for my work.
Do you have a blog or website?
My website www.willowleighraven.com is regularly updated for readers about my current and upcoming projects. This is also where I house my blog about my writing journey and share my self-publishing experience.
What inspires you most to write?
Lots of things, mainly my love of romance books and traveling.
What do you do to help with writers block?
Mainly relaxation. If I find that I can’t focus or lack inspiration, I will listen to some music, read or go for a walk along the coast.
How do you plan your writing and start?
I write out a rough plan of where I see my story going. Noting down it’s key points in the plot. Then I just start writing whenever the creativity hits me and work my way through the first draft to create the backbone of my story. My second draft is normally where I add in more description and delete the parts that just don’t work.
Is writing your full time job? If not what else do you do?
I wish writing was my full-time job. I also work in education in a secondary school.
What are you working on at the moment?
Currently, I am working on the follow-up to “Longing At Sea”. “Dancing With Desire,” tells the story of Alexa’s best friend Kendra, and her pathway to love.
What is your target audience?
Romance readers who enjoy a little bit of steam in their books. Due to the content, my target audience is over 18.
How long does it take you to write a book?
About 4-6 months from the first draft to having it reader ready.
When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?
As a little girl, I used to love writing stories. I remember vividly writing a story about an animated penny and the adventures it got up day to day. My teacher was so impressed with my story that she gave me a class award.
What is your writing schedule look like?
I often write in the evenings for a couple of hours. Unless on leave from my day job, I can’t often find the time to write during the day.
What does your family think about you writing?
My family is so supportive of my writing. Encouraging me to write, and understanding when I take myself off to write for a couple of hours.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Bake and read. As the family baker, I’m often baking celebration cakes for a family birthday or create fabulous bakes with my youngest son. I love romance, of all sub-genres, so read most nights.
Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?
When writing the story kind of just flows from my brain. However, when I need to add more details to it, I use Google to help me research the information needed for aspects of my story. For example, “Longing At Sea” is mainly set in the Caribbean, a place I have never visited. I spent a lot of time researching Caribbean islands, cruises and excursions to help develop my story.
What do you think makes a good story?
Something that grips you from the start and has enough twists and turns to keep you interested. Personally, I find that stories that connect with me on an emotional level often keep my interest too.