Roma Cordon Of ‘Bewitching a Highlander’ On The 5 Things You Need To Be A Successful Author or Writer

Kristin Marquet
Authority Magazine
Published in
8 min readJun 13, 2022

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A love of writing: This is what got me through draft after draft and edits after re-edits. There were several times, during the long nights of writing alone myself when I wanted to chuck it. But my love of writing is what kept me going.

Some writers and authors have a knack for using language that can really move people. Some writers and authors have been able to influence millions with their words alone. What does it take to become an effective and successful author or writer?

In this interview series, called “5 Things You Need To Be A Successful Author or Writer” we are talking to successful authors and writers who can share lessons from their experiences.

As part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Roma Cordon. Roma Cordon was introduced to romance novels in her teenage years and instantly became a voracious reader of the genre. In the 1990s, she came to live in New York where she earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees. After taking a writing course at New York University with Anne Rice, she dived into the world of writing while testing the waters of public speaking at her local Toastmasters club. Roma is the author of the book Bewitching a Highlander.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I’ve always loved reading romance novels since I was a teenager. Over the years I’ve read hundreds of them. Then one day while reading a romance novel a few years ago, a voice in my head said, hey, if I were writing this story, I would never make the heroine do that! Then another voice in my head said, well smarty pants, if you know so much, why you don’t write it the way you would like. Truth be told, I never thought I could until I did.

Can you share the most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career?

I wrote my first manuscript a few years ago, but it’s still gathering dust in a drawer somewhere. I tried reading it afterwards and realized how terrible it was. Then the second manuscript I wrote, I submitted to a few publishers and of course they all declined to publish. After editing as best I could, I submitted to a small traditional press in New York, and they didn’t decline, but they didn’t accept it either. A very kind editor at this press, took the time to write a ten-page letter to me listing all the things wrong with the manuscript. Now, I could have used the letter as tissue paper while I cried my heart out as I went through the long list of things wrong with my writing. I’ll be honest, I did that for a bit. But then later, I decided to treat this letter as a learning experience. I fix everything listed in the letter. Later, I pitched the novel at Pitch Slam at the Writer’s Digest Conference, and Sue Arroyo at CamCat Publishing picked up my debut novel.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in your journey to becoming a writer? How did you overcome it? Can you share a story about that that other aspiring writers can learn from?

The biggest challenge is not knowing if you are doing it the correct way. And most times you don’t. But you have to have hope that you are. And you have to keep at it. Watching Master Classes on writing, reading a lot of books on how to plot, create characters, creating and keeping tension, character arcs, story arcs, how to write dialogue, how to self-edit, etc. helps. Another thing that helps is having an alpha reader. My husband was and still is my alpha reader and basically cheers me along and keeps me going. He is my personal cheerleader.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

In one of the earliest manuscripts I wrote, I made it too easy for the hero and heroine. They had the perfect love story. There was no difficulty for them to overcome. They just breezed through the story, falling in love, and living happily ever after. Utterly, and completely boring! No one wants to read that. Then I believe it was the Cheryl St. John’s book on Writing with Emotion, Tension & Conflict that put me on the right path. You have to kill your darlings. I didn’t interpret that in the literal sense. I interpreted it in the sense that, any obstacle you can create, any hardship you can bring about, any difficulty you can bring to your hero and heroine’s life, you must bring it.

In your opinion, were you a “natural born writer” or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?

No. I believe writing is learned. Writing is difficult, but you have to keep learning and practicing and growing. If anyone tells you this is easy, they are either lying or not doing it the right way.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

Book II in the Scottish Highland Warriors Trilogy:

I am finishing up the manuscript as we speak, then it’s off to the Beta Readers.

What happens when an unstoppable British army captain, Slade MacLean, who is out for revenge and retribution encounters an immovable lass named Phoebe Dunbar (The sister of Egan Dunbar from Book I)? Raging and tumultuous fireworks. These two will have to survive each other first if they want to bring down a common enemy.

Book III in the Scottish Highland Warriors Trilogy is in the planning phase:

When Conner Drummond was last in the Highlands, he fought the Redcoats at the Battle of Culloden. Now that he’s back, he’s in for a different kind of battle. One that involves a Hellfire witch by the name of Rowan MacNeil.

Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Be A Successful Author or Writer”? Please share a story or example for each.

1. A love of writing: This is what got me through draft after draft and edits after re-edits. There were several times, during the long nights of writing alone myself when I wanted to chuck it. But my love of writing is what kept me going.

2. A willingness to take criticism and realize I can do better: If I hadn’t accepted criticism from that kind of editor (mentioned earlier) who took the time to write a ten-page list of what was wrong with my writing, I never would have re-edited and it never would have been accepted by CamCat Publishing. Plus, I am a member of the RWA-NYC chapter and I joined the critique group. My critique group always brings new angles and thoughts to my writing.

3. A willingness to work hard: Writing is hard work. And the more you work at it, the better you become. When I read what I wrote, I can almost always find a better way of writing it. But I know it takes time and many long hours and long nights at the keyboard, writing and re-writing and editing. But I am willing to put in the hours because I love it.

4. A willingness to keep learning: I try to read books on writing techniques even as I write. This gives me new ideas and different ways of writing. It helps the words to flow. That kind editor (mention earlier) gave me a list of books on writing techniques to read. The works of Cheryl St. John was one of them. I read all her recommendations and have many new ones on the ‘to be read’ list.

5. A willingness to come out of your comfort zone: The first manuscript I wrote was comfortable. The heroine and hero had an easy and perfect love story with barely any conflict or obstacles. As the writer of their story, I didn’t want them to have hardships. But, how boring. I had to step out of that comfort zone and try to make it as difficult for these two as I could.

What is the one habit you believe contributed the most to you becoming a great writer? (i.e. perseverance, discipline, play, craft study). Can you share a story or example?

Making criticism work for you: Everyone’s a critic, right? Maybe. Feedback (or criticism) is important. It helps you to grow, it helps you to step out of your comfort zone, it inspires you to learn and to be better. And yes, sometimes it makes you cry. But you have to make it your own. You have to weed out the helpful and the not so helpful. I value feedback from experienced individuals in the industry, like my critique group and my beta readers and editors, because they have been doing this for a while and I know I can learn from them.

Which literature do you draw inspiration from? Why?

30 years ago, I started reading Harlequin and Mills & Boon novels. Then I left those and moved to bestselling writers of contemporary romance. Now I read mostly historical romance novels. Also, there are the classics. Who doesn’t love Jane Austin, Lord Byron, and Oscar Wilde? I also draw inspiration from writers like Sidney Sheldon. Why? Because in order to write, you must read.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Educating the larger population about mental health and assisting people who suffer from mental disorders: I see a lot of homeless people in New York City, and I also hear the skeptics, hey, why don’t you get a job like the rest of us? But I don’t think its that easy. I think a lot of these people suffer from mental and psychological disorders. It’s very stressful out there and many people suffer from various degrees of depression, anxiety, personality disorders, or even eating disorders. I think helping people cope with mental disorders so they can be productive again is the key. And that can only happen if we are all more educated on mental health. I don’t know if dementia or psychotic disorders can be cured, but how wonderful it would be if they could.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/romacordon/

Good Reads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/22009776.Roma_Cordon

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CordonRoma

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/roma-cordon

My website: https://romacordon.com/books

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Kristin Marquet
Authority Magazine

Publicist and author based in New York City. Founder and Creative Director of FemFounder.co and Marquet-Media.com.