WARSAW — Warsaw resident Gina Jones, who became a new author with the release of her first novel “His Secret” in October 2017, didn’t always want to be a writer.
“Never in a million years did I think about writing a book. It just became an obsession a few years ago,” Jones said.
According to Jones, her interest in writing began when she started listening to audiobooks at work. She recalls often thinking of ways the books could have been better.
“I guess when you criticize, thinking you could do better, then you should give it a shot,” said Jones. At that time, Jones was working in the orthopedic industry. She began writing in her spare time.
After completing several manuscripts, Jones and her husband, who was not initially on board with her writing, decided to send one of her manuscripts to Kirkus for a professional review. If the review was negative, Jones planned to discontinue her writing efforts. Jones described the angst of waiting for the review.
“I sat back for six weeks dreading the outcome. If it came back bad, I was done,” said Jones. “After reading bad reviews for books that were on bestseller lists, I was sure I was making myself out to be a fool.”
Jones recalled receiving an email advising her that the review was available while she and her husband were spending a day at Lake Michigan. Jones thought she needed her pin number, which she didn’t have with her, to open the review.
“I just sat there staring at the email all day. It basically ruined my day,” Jones laughed.
On the way home, Jones realized she was able to open the review without her pin number. “The review was awesome,” said Jones. “I’ve never released that book, but I plan to next year in “The Masquerade Series.”
After the positive Kirkus review, Jones was picked up by an agent through Golden Wheat Literary, located in Kansas. Jones said this was just the beginning of the process and cautioned that having an agent is no guarantee of being published.
Jones later joined Romance Writers of America, a national nonprofit genre writers’ association, which she describes as “the best thing I could have ever done.”
After attending the RWA 2017 conference in Orlando, Jones felt better equipped with resources. After returning from the conference, she left Golden Wheat Literary and self-published.
“His Secret” is the first book in “The Secret Series” and is available in several formats, including print, Kindle and Audible. The audible was uploaded to Audiobook Studio and received 1,900 views in three weeks, naming Jones a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.
“Her Secret,” book two in the series, will be released Feb. 14. Jones is currently working on book three, “Secret Enemy.”
According to Jones, writing the book was the easiest part. “It hasn’t been easy and it’s a lot of work,” said Jones. “It’s a business, and I have to wear all the hats; searching for editors, formatters and cover designers – and then there’s the marketing—I hate marketing days, but it has to be done.”
Jones describes her books as falling in the romance genre, with subgenres of suspense and erotica, stating, “As a reader, romance, historical fiction and mysteries are my favorites. So, when I write, I put all three in my novels.”
“I’ve promised my mom’s church group, I would write a very contemporary romance for them—PG rated,” Jones laughed. “But seriously, my mom is my biggest fan.”
When asked what advice she would give others who are interested in pursuing a writing career, Jones said, “If you have a story you want to bring to life, do it. Get tough. It’s not always fun and more times than you can count, your feelings will be hurt.”
“At the end of the day, it’s your characters your fans are in love with, not you,” said Jones. “Create characters that your followers want to be or be with. It’s that fictional life we all go to when we need an escape.”