I had the pleasure of chatting with romance comedy author and work from home mama, Summer Dowell. Summer is the type of person that you feel like you can be instant BFFs with, and her books have that same vibe. It is easy to feel instantly connected with her characters and get sucked into her fun stories.
What cracks me up about Summer, who is a stay-at-home mom to almost 7 children, is that she started writing as a break from her twins. Girlfriend had toddler twins and thought this was a good time to write a book! Just wow! She is my hero. And while that first book was historical fiction that will not be published, it gave her the motivation to keep going.
Fast-forward five years, and Summer is a USA Times Bestseller and has 11 rom-com books published, including this free one on her website.
Her newest book, On Schedule, just hit Amazon this month. It is the third book in her wedding series, which was inspired by Summer’s love of the 90’s rom-com, The Wedding Planner.
Meet Summer Dowell, Mama Author Extraordinaire
I know you said that when you released your first book, you sold like 5 copies initially. When do you feel like there was a turning point from feeling like a newbie to, “Wow, I’m a legit author with a following?”
Summer: “Haha, I don’t know if I’ll ever feel like I’ve reached that point. This last year I think I’ve solidified my brand a little more though so readers know what to expect from me and my books. I no longer feel like I’m scrambling to figure out the type of characters/vibes I want my books to have so maybe I’m kinda getting there.
Says the USA Times Bestseller.
On Dealing with Negative Reviews as a Writer
I read If It’s Perfect and loved it! How do you deal with negative reviews and comments though? How do you keep writing and motivated?
Summer: I’ve come to accept that not everyone is going to love my books. I’ll get a raving review, then the next minute get one that points out only flaws. That’s just life as a writer I think. Overall, I’ve developed a much thicker skin over the years and go into book releases knowing there’s going to be some bad reviews, so I’m not offended as much when I get them.
On Balancing Motherhood and Passions
And of course, my goal is to motivate mothers to pursue passions while still being intentional with their families. You do an amazing job with this! What advice would you give to other moms who feel like they are flailing in both areas?
Summer: “I definitely see other writers and can’t help thinking that maybe I’m falling behind or not publishing as fast/successfully as them, but then I remember that we’re all in different seasons of life. Right now, I have a house of little ones, so the time I have for being an author is a lot less than it will be in a few years. So for now, I dedicate an hour every morning to writing and get done all that I can. Some days I fit in some extra at night, but I don’t stress if I can’t. I know there’ll be a season in my life when I’ll have more time.”
In another interview, Summer mentioned that she aims to write 1,000 words a day. This allows her to finish a rough draft in about two months. She says that her rough draft is very messy, and she doesn’t do edits until she has the draft done. Then she spends her time editing and finetuning her draft.
Have you ever had seasons of “not wanting to show up” – either as a romance writer or a mother? How did you overcome these seasons?
Summer: “Yes, most definitely. Being a mom is hard. I don’t care how pretty social media makes it look sometimes There are definitely times I question what I’m doing. That’s why I love writing on the side because it gives me something else to think about when things get hard. However, I can equally feel the same doubt or lack or motivation about writing. I usually take a break after every book release to regroup and get my motivation back and that’s seemed to work for me.
I guess I just love seeing women going for something, even if they’re not sure how it will turn out. I’ve failed at a lot of things the last few years—even book writing hasn’t been a perfectly smooth path, but I don’t regret trying!”
Where to Find More of Summer
Summer’s Instagram, @summers_pen, is an account to follow if you need a laugh or want to get more tips on how to take your book from idea to manuscript. And if you want to get to know Summer even better, I pulled some tidbits from these wonderful interviews before asking her questions for MamaHustleRepeat: Behind the Story Interview and Reader’s Entertainment Podcast.