Ask Rj: How do I know which ideas will work and which ones won't?

Tracy on my closed FB group asked me how I knew what ideas would work and what wouldn’t. She said my books are very easy to read, so did I know what made them work and how did I get them to fit together?

I wish I had an easy answer. I know what I like to read, which makes it easy to know what I want to write. BUT…

Then it can all fall apart. I know what I want to write, the story is in my head, the characters are live, I’ve even commissioned Meredith to do the cover and suddenly I am faced with a blank page.

Now what?

So I start writing, and sometimes I will amend a story if I think I am going off track for a commercial audience, but in the main I just write what I do because that is my writing style. And yes, I get that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I love that Tracy said my books were easy to read. Does that mean I don’t write complicated stories, or the way I tell my stories just works? I don’t know. I get enough 1s and 2s and disparaging comments to know I don’t please everyone. Hell, it would be a sad world if I, or any author, did.

So again I say I wish I had a formula for writing a successful book – I mean, what made Texas successful? Or Sanctuary? What stopped people reading Oracle? Or One Night?

And gah, I wish I could write a recipe so that I could write a million Christmas Throwaways. Then I could retire… rofl…

So, authors, do you have a magic recipe for writing? Do you let your story take you where it needs to go like I do? Do you consciously change direction for commercial reasons like I have done at some points in a couple of stories?

Readers, do authors have a style. Are their styles simple? Complicated? Angsty? What is your favorite?


  1. Like you, I write what the story needs to have written, in the direction it wants to go. It surprises me on a regular basis, even when I have a rough idea of the overall plot arc...

  2. I like all your books and love a lot of them. I'm in the minority I guess cause I read and liked both One Night and Oracle. I think the Texas series will aleays be my favorite just because Jack and Riley have such great chemistry and they're all great stories. :)