A “Scandalous” Interview with H.M. Ward

H.M. Ward is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. With over 70,000 fans, and a social reach of over 20 million people, Ward’s marketing skills allowed her to write full time.

The Arrangement is her next series of NA serials. Ward’s novel Scandalous hit the Amazon top hundred list in January 2013. She has also been one of the top 100 Amazon authors every month of 2013.  This year, Ward sold her 4 millionth book.

the arrangement 12Loren Kleinman (LK): How do you define indie?

H.M. Ward (HMW): As an independent writer not affiliated with a traditional publishing house or micropress.

LK: Do you consider yourself indie?

HMW: Yes. I’ve done everything on my own with no publisher support or involvement.

LK: You’ve sold over 2 million books in 2013. Do you consider this a success or an achievement? What’s the difference?

HMW: Achievement, to me, is more about milestones. I’ve sold over 4 million books, most of which were this year. I haven’t updated my stats anywhere yet. Numbers like that are a success and a major achievement.  I made short term goals and surpassed them beyond expectation. When I started, I never expected to sell 4 million books – ever. It’s amazing!

Success is defined differently in my mind and isn’t so much about the number of units sold, but rather the number of lives touched. Many of my titles deal with issues concerning the human condition. When one life touches another and offers a person hope and support—that is success.

LK: How do you give back to the writing community? What’s your idea of a literary community? What are ways writers can foster community?

HMW: Community is an important element and can be difficult to find when a writer is starting out. Community is like family and offers support and diversity of ideas. Not everyone is the same and the ideas, stories, and lives are all different. I try to help new writers by giving tips, pointers, and information that will make it easier for them to get started.

scandalousLK: How many books do you read every month? What books inspire you to write?

HMW: I usually read a few books a month. It depends on the time of year and what my writing schedule looks like. The first book that inspired me to write was PETER & WENDY by J.M. Barrie.

LK: Have you always been a writer? Do you believe it’s a calling or a gift? Both? None?

HMW: I’ve always felt the need to create. It’s part of my personality. I’m happiest when I’m writing, painting, preforming, etc. For me, personally, it’s an innate need. I have to create, but I don’t think that needs to be the case for everyone. Anyone can have a love of the written word and be brave enough to put pen to paper.

LK: The New Adult genre is starting to become popular. Talk about how you started writing New Adult novels?

HMW: I’d been writing YA and flipped to NA before the genre had a name. I wanted to do things with characters in a contemporary setting, post high school, and I wanted a book that was written similarly to YA and fast paced.

LK: Tell us what new adult is?

HMW: New Adult is about the struggle to become an adult, to find your place in the world, and accept that life is pain and pleasure. The idealistic lenses of childhood are shattered and NA is about dealing with the aftermath. NA is fast paced and evocative.

LK: Who is your favorite character in your new release? Why?

HMW:One of my favorite new characters is Bryan Ferro. He’s a plethora of contradictions and I can’t say more than that without spoiling it, but he blackmails the woman he used to love. Things take an unexpected turn and don’t go as planned. He doesn’t sit back and wait for things to go his way. He takes his life in his hands and is willing to risk everything to get what he wants.

LK: Talk about your writing process. Do you outline? Character sketch?

HMW: I decide what type of personality type a character is and then decide the story. After that I have a general direction and midpoints, to touch on as the story progresses, but I tend to write best when I shoot from the hip.

LK: Talent is important. Tenacity is vital. How does this statement relate to the writing profession? Why?

HMW: Because if you aren’t brave enough, you shouldn’t jump in the water. You’ll drown. Writing, as a profession, is sink or swim and if you don’t have the gall to believe in yourself and your work, no one else will.