Mariae Hutchinson, writing as Reese Spenser, has always preferred the fantasy of classic movies and the happily ever after of romance novels since she was a preteen. This fueled her imagination from a young age and she began journaling, and collecting stories that she would one day share.
The release of her debut series, the Bonded Series, was a dream come and proof that she can indeed write her own happy endings. Her passion for all things romance has led her to authorpreneurhship and the creation of two subscription boxes, the Happy Endings Book Box (https://happyendingsbookbox.com/), and the Sweet and Spicy Treats Box (https://sweetandspicytreats.com/). When she’s not busy writing, and exploring new paths to happily ever after, she enjoys spending time with family and friends and spoiling her grandchildren.
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
Writing has always felt natural to me, and I claimed the title ‘writer’ at an early age, but I did not know I wanted to write romance until I read Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts. I was 14 at the time. The thing I love most about being a writer is the freedom of expression and creating something from the collection of thoughts dancing around in my head.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My books are contemporary romance novels, with elements of erotic and suspense romance. A blend of escapism I have dubbed spicy romance. My website reesespenser.com is the best place to find out more about me and my books.
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on Wicked Pryce, the second installment of the Wicked Ones series. I am also preparing to launch my romance subscription box, Happy Endings Book Box in the fall.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
I would love to say that one of my novels has reached best seller status or I’ve won some type of award for my writing, but in the four years since self-publishing my debut novel, Tainted Bond, my most significant achievement has been the release of three additional novels. In five years, I hope that the small steps I am taking now, has not only advanced my writing career but has also made a difference for other indie authors.
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
Since I am self-published, I have not had to deal with rejection from a publishing house the way traditionally published authors have. However, rejection comes in others forms. From readers, because they believe the misconception that all indie authors are not worth reading, other authors, who simply view you as the competition, and family and friends, who cannot be bothered to support you. I deal with it by being my own cheerleader and by reminding myself that this is my journey and my dream, and rejection will not deter me from following it.
6) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
I do not adhere to a strict writing schedule, but I write at least five hours every day. I consider myself a plantser, so I outline a little to form the plot and to develop the characters. But I love the organic flow that occurs when I allow the characters to takeover the story. From start to finish it usually takes me a few months to write a book.
7) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
Success to an aspiring writer can mean something different to each writer. Getting published could equal success to one, while fame and fortune could mean success to another. With that being said, I do not believe that anything we aspire to has a time limit if you are willing to put in the work to gain what you consider success.
8) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
Over the years many books have touched me emotionally, but Hanging Out with CiCi, by Francine Pascal was the first. As for my favorite author, there are too many to list. But I am currently reading, Stolen Futures, a novel submitted to Happy Endings Book Box for review by Empress Chang.
9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
I can understand how some writers might avoid reading their own work, but I am not one of them. On release day, I treat my book like any other romance novel I cannot wait to read. Maybe I am still too new at this, but being my own fan makes me so freaking giddy. I love it.
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing?
As self-published authors we have had to learn to promote our books and connect with our readers. And it pleases me that as more and more self-published authors find success in the publishing industry at a phenomenal rate, our destinies are no longer decided by traditional publishers. So as traditional publishers take notice and come calling, Indies now have choices.
11) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
I do not believe that there is anything unique per se. But initially, I started writing, in a journal to release all the thoughts in my head. Writing became a way to cope with fear, anger, and depression. Overtime the negative thoughts gave way to a more positive way of expression. Now I write to be true to myself.