T.R. Ragan–Break-out Indie Author

Dana Taylor

Dana Taylor: Hey Babes!  You’re in for a treat. You may have noticed a gal by the last name of RAGAN bouncing all over the romance bestseller lists at Amazon. The tagline on her website reads “3 genres, 2 names, 1 author.” Writing as both T.R. Ragan and Theresa Ragan, this author is hitting her stride.   Here are the ASTOUNDING numbers–as of March 31, 2012 she has sold 255,655 books as an Indie Author. That doesn’t include the over 185,000 free downloads. Is it any surprise that she just snagged her first publishing contract with her Lizzy Gardner series with Amazon’s Thomas and Mercer Imprint? I’m very happy she’s agreed to stop by BLB and let us get to know her.

DT: Welcome to BLB, Theresa. I’ve been watching your star rising for the past several months. Can you give us a little background about yourself and your road as an author?

 Theresa Ragan: Hi Dana. And hello to ALL of the Book Luvin’ Babes out there! Thank you so much for having me.

        Personal Info: I’ve been happily married for twenty-five years. In fact, it just keeps getting better and better. I love spending time with my four kids. I have been playing the piano since I was 8 years old. I love to travel and I have been spoiled by my sister who has taken me on many faraway adventures.

     Author Info: Nearly twenty years ago, I read A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux, and the minute I finished that book I knew I wanted to write my own time travel romance. I was pregnant with my fourth and last child, home on leave of absence from work, and I was tired of watching Young and the Restless.( I can still hear the theme song after all these years.) Five years later, my youngest was entering Kindergarten when I finished Return of the Rose. When daycare costs became more than my paycheck, I had to quit my job as a legal secretary. With four kids at home, I had to write early in the morning, late at night, and in the car while waiting for the kids to get out of school.

 It was 1997 or 98 when a friend of mine told me that there was a group of writers called the Romance Writers of America. I didn’t have a computer at the time, but I went to the library, found a phone number and joined RWA. I still remember how exciting it was to talk on the phone with Patti Berg about joining the Sacramento Chapter of RWA. It was so wonderful to meet other like-minded people who had crazy scenes, characters, and dialogue running through their head. I learned more in that first year of being an RWA member than in the five years I had been writing. I learned all about point of view and dialogue tags. Seven national conferences, two agents, too many contests to count, 6 finals in the Golden Heart competition, hundreds of workshops and creative writing classes later, my youngest was entering college! Where did the time go?

I had written more than ten 400-page novels, I had worked with agents and editors, but I still had not made a sale to New York. I was writing every day. I was doing everything right, but my time was up. It was time for me to get a real job that paid real money. While reading through the Want Ads and looking for a job, I had an epiphany. Well, really my epiphany came in the form of Cate Rowan talking/blogging about self-publishing. Why not self-publish my two time travel romances? I read Return of the Rose for the millionth time and I knew it was time to give my books a chance. I had absolutely nothing to lose. Within weeks, I had sold hundreds of books, and within months, I had sold thousands. I was blown away. I still am.

TOMORROW–The Indie road and a mini-tour through Theresa’s books.

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10 responses

  1. Theresa,
    Yours is a beautiful and inspiring story however I know the sacrifices and determination it took to complete your body of work. I, too, wrote while my little ones chased each other around the house. My daughter once said to me, “Mom, I go to bed and you are typing. I wake up and you are typing.” I love your happy and successful ending. My very best wishes for a great run with Amazon.

  2. Hi Consuelo, thanks for stopping by! You’re right about it taking sacrifice and determination. It also takes love and passion for the work because I know so many people who want to write a book but can’t stand the idea of sitting behind a computer all day. Your daughter sounds very cute and observant!

  3. Wow. What perseverance. Did you ever stop writing at any point and say ‘I’m done?’

  4. Hi Lisa, yes! I tried to quit a couple of times, but whenever I wasn’t writing for more than a few weeks, I started to feel depressed. I didn’t feel “whole.” It was weird.

  5. I’ve tried that, too. It doesn’t work. We’d probably go crazy with all those voices in our head if we couldn’t write them down. Congrats on your well deserved success.

  6. LOL, Lisa, that’s exactly right! This is why I believe writers know that they’re writers because they HAVE to write. 🙂

    I’ll keep checking in to see if anyone stops by, but if that doesn’t happen have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

  7. Hey, Theresa! I didn’t know it was Patti that you talked to fist when you first called about Sacramento RWA. That’s neat. She’s so sweet!

    I remember those days well, and cherish each moment because everything then was so exciting and new.
    I’m so thrilled for your next adventure with Amazon! Keep us posted on all the cool stuff you‘ll get to do! So happy how your books took off right out of the gate–and I‘m not surprised a bit. J Congrats and Happy Easter!

    ~C

  8. Hi Theresa, love reading about your experiences. What are some things you know now that you wish you had known earlier, whether about writing itself or the business aspects of being a writer? Also, what are the genres you love to read?

  9. Hi Mallika, thanks for stopping by. I learned that writing the books of my heart is what I should have been doing all along. The good news is I was always writing, but I spent a lot of time worrying what genre I should write in, in hopes of making a sale. I was lucky that I loved to read in many genres. Although I tend to read a little bit of everything, my favorite genres are romantic comedy, romantic suspense and thrillers. My advice to any writer would be to write with passion and abandon and write for the love of writing. I have also learned that I love promotion and marketing. I had no idea until I was forced to do it.

  10. Caroline, Happy Easter. Patti Berg is very sweet. Those were fun times back then with the Sacramento Chapter. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and say Hi!

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