Caught on Camera, Hollywood in Muskoka series, Book 1, is a New Adult romantic comedy. Rachel (22), a chambermaid at a Canadian luxury resort, is asked to stand in for a missing bridesmaid at an A-list actor’s private wedding. Rachel falls in love with a groomsman, Mickey, who thinks she’s the bride’s cousin. Their path to love is as rocky as the beautiful Muskoka lake district—playground of the rich and famous. Many Hollywood celebrities own beautiful summer homes in Muskoka for the privacy far from the paparazzi. Goldie Hawn used to own a multi-million dollar Muskoka lakefront property.
Subsequent books in the series follow the same upstairs/downstairs trope—local people in the service industry fall for vacationers who make Hollywood movies; e.g., a screenwriter, producer, director, stunt professional, and more. Research into the various careers in the industry is fun because I absolutely love movies and am fascinated by filmmaking. I also studied screenwriting and writing romantic comedy with the goal of writing fast-paced stories that are full of heart and humor. I figured that I may as well write a series with the elements required for a movie or a six-episode TV series!
Have you ever had a minor character evolve into a major one? Did that change the direction of the novel at all?
I actually wrote the second book in the series, Sex and the Screenwriter, first. The heroine is Catrina, a security guard who falls for a visiting Hollywood screenwriter. Then I went to an RWA conference and all the advice was to write a series to maximize sales. So I returned home and Catrina became a secondary character in Caught on Camera, now the first book in the series, along with members of the wedding party who will each have their own story.
Did you try the traditional route to publishing; i.e., querying agents/publishers?
Prior to the digital revolution, responses from traditional publishers took forever. I waited over a year for a “no thanks” response from Harlequin. In contrast, I received relatively speedy responses from an editor at Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc., who offered to publish the second manuscript I submitted—Diamond Lust, a romantic suspense—under its former Cerridwen Press imprint. Digital-first presses such as EC opened the door to many new authors who would otherwise have waited years to be traditionally-published, if ever. Eventually I got the rights back, changed the cover, and indie-published it as Diamond Hunter in 2015.
What factors influenced your decision to self-publish your book(s)?
I decided to go indie for several reasons: I’m not getting any younger, I would need to put a lot of time and money into promo either route, bookstores are closing so there is limited shelf space for print books of debut authors anyway, and the prices charged by some traditional publishers for ebooks are extraordinarily high, in my view. I wanted to be able to set my own prices. The biggest reason: a traditional publisher would not accommodate my playlist/soundtrack approach. Embedded in each ebook are links to YouTube videos or iTunes songs (iBook version). Paperback readers can access my YouTube playlist from my website.
What is your writing process? Do you listen to music or do you like silence?
I need to focus when writing, so playtime for me is seeking out a video/song on YouTube that matches the emotion I’m going for at that point in the story. A musical note together with the song title within the chapter indicates when to listen to each song on the playlist.
Caught on Camera’s overarching theme song is Michael Bublé’s Hollywood. It reflects the book’s upbeat, fun energy and lyrics that describe how you can become anything you want to be! “You can find it in yourself.” Check out the full playlist on my website.
Do you outline your story or just go where your muse takes you?
I’m a plotter. For me it’s necessary because storylines of each book in the series have to tie together. Bridesmaid and actor Tiffany’s story threads through each book until she gets her own happy-ever-after at the end of the series.
Did you hire an editor to review your manuscript before publishing?
I learned so much from my Ellora’s Cave editor, and that experience convinced me of the value of working with professional editors. My developmental editor (a screenwriter) and copy editor are fiction authors as well. I shared Caught on Camera’s editing journey in Editing your Book blog posts.
Besides Amazon, are there any other sites where your books are for sale?
Caught on Camera ebooks are promo-priced at 99 cents on Amazon | iBooks | Kobo. The print version is available on Amazon.
What advice would you give a new author just entering into the self-publishing arena?
The first book is for practice. Don’t indie-publish your first novel. I know it’s tempting and so easy to do, but few writers have the craft knowledge on their first attempt. Your second and third books will be so much better. Diamond Hunter was my fourth full-length novel. The first three were learning experiences, although I thought they were absolutely wonderful at the time, and even had contest win validation for the third. Don’t publish until a professional editor or a multi-published author in your genre with 4 and 5 star reviews says your book is ready for the world. Poor reviews can be devastating to sales and haunt indie-authors for decades.
What’s next for you?
Sex and the Screenwriter, Hollywood in Muskoka series, Book 2, a hot contemporary romance, will be published in 2017. When Hollywood screenwriter Chett de Groot invites Catrina to rehearse role-playing love scenes in costumes from old movies, she discovers how satisfying acting can be. Soon she’s ad-libbing passionate lines in scorching “performances”. But when Chett exploits her secret, Catrina realizes the emotional pain from her past is nothing compared to the agony of betrayal.
Caught on Camera
(Hollywood in Muskoka, #1)
Publication date: September 9th 2016
Genres: Comedy, New Adult, Romance
To achieve her dream of working on Hollywood film sets, star struck chambermaid Rachel Lehmann needs $35,000 for film school tuition by the end of the summer. When she’s asked to fill in for a missing bridesmaid at a movie star’s wedding, it’s her big chance to take candid photos of celebrities and sell them to the entertainment media. Then groomsman Mickey McNichol, agent to the stars, sweeps her off her feet.
Mickey’s bitter experience is that everyone in show business fakes emotions. When he falls for the stand-in bridesmaid, he thinks he’s finally met a beautiful woman he can trust. But if Rachel betrays his friends’ privacy, Mickey will ensure she never works in Hollywood.
Madelle completed four novels before Ellora’s Cave Publishing Inc. contracted to publish her debut romantic suspense, Diamond Lust—republished as Diamond Hunter—and a sexy, short free read, The Next Big Thing, in 2010.
When Madelle realized her author voice is more suited to light, humorous contemporary romance, she went waaaay back to her teen years for the Hollywood in Muskoka series setting.
Madelle, her sisters, and assorted pets enjoyed idyllic summers at a lake in the District of Muskoka, Ontario, Canada, named by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of their top 20 Best of the World Must-see Places.
The Muskoka lakes’ forested shorelines are dotted with palatial properties owned by wealthy families and Hollywood celebrities. At sixteen, being neither rich nor famous, Madelle worked briefly as a chambermaid at the now-closed Delawana Inn, a local resort.
Madelle is retired from an engineering career in the federal public service and lives in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, with her husband. She tries to keep fit with cycling, Pilates, and yoga, and dreams of owning a waterfront cottage. Or at least a pool.
She tweets and posts on Facebook and Goodreads about Hollywood, filmmaking, Muskoka, and, of course, writing. She blogs the second Tuesday of the month at romancingthegenres.blogspot.com and occasionally on her own website.
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