Posted on 02/25/2019 at 10:03 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
When English teacher Cecelia Mecca decided to fulfill a lifelong dream of writing novels, it was time to put the shoe on the other foot.
Mecca found herself both assigning research projects and doing them herself — the educator and history geek in her weren’t going to allow her to produce embarrassingly inaccurate fiction, after all.
That diligence has certainly paid off. Mecca’s Border Series, set in thirteenth-century England and Scotland, launched her out of the classroom and into the seat of a full-time writer.
And now that her newest series — contemporary paranormal romances that still include a hint of the Highlands — has hit the shelves, Mecca took some time to share more about that journey with us.
SADYE: How did you go from being an aspiring author to a full-time one?
CECELIA: I think every English teacher secretly dreams of being a writer, and I was no exception.
In college, while I should have been studying for my education courses, I researched medieval England and began writing a romance novel.
But the practicalities of life took over — a college degree, new job, two kiddos, a social media company.
Nearly twenty years later, I picked that research and first two chapters back up and got to work.
I never expected to replace my education career with a writer's life. My initial goal was simply to publish the book I'd dreamed of writing for so long.
Like many, I told myself I was "too busy" to add writing into my already busy life.
But in reality, we can make time to pursue our dreams. I think what really held me back for so long was not knowing how to get started.
Writing a book could be a daunting task, but once I re-invested myself in the community — joined RWA, lurked on forums, conversed with other authors — a plan began to emerge.
Within a year, my first book was finished. The following year, I left my day job and was able to call myself a full-time romance author!
SADYE: With hindsight 20/20, would you tell your younger self to do anything differently, in regards to writing?
CECELIA: I would absolutely read my craft books.
As someone who spent twenty years teaching writing, I thought I knew the basics of how to craft a good story.
Boy, was I wrong.
A novel is a very particular type of writing, and as with all genres, it comes with its own set of guidelines and expectations.
To think I wrote an entire novel without knowing story structure makes me cringe now, but we all have to start somewhere.
SADYE: Do you remember what drew you into medieval England and Scotland?
CECELIA: One of the first books I can remember reading independently was The Hobbit.
From there a love of fantasy and all things medieval burgeoned into a full-fledged obsession, enough for me to concentrate in medieval studies in college.
Added to a love of romance novels, and voila!
SADYE: If you could meet one medieval figure in real life, who would it be?
CECELIA: I would be fascinated to meet Henry VIII, but certainly wouldn't sign up to be his wife!
SADYE: What do you most enjoy about each of the genres you write in?
CECELIA: With historicals, I love melding history and fantasy together since the books are, admittedly, a fantasized version of medieval England and Scotland.
The paranormals allow me to forget about being historically accurate, forget about which words were and weren't used in the thirteenth century, and simply write!
SADYE: What has been the most surprising part about becoming an author?
CECELIA: I'm constantly surprised by my readers.
When they say things like, "I stayed up all night reading," or "You are my favorite author of all-time," I pinch myself, amazed and grateful to be in such a position.
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Categories: Author Interview