Leave a comment and enter below for a chance to win a copy of Kristin Billerbeck’s newest book, “The Theory of Happily Ever After.” Winner will be announced in the next Author Spotlight feature. Congratulations to Kay Garrett for winning Susan May Warren’s book, “Troubled Waters.” Please email my assistant christenkrumm {at} gmail {dot} com to claim your prize.

“Billerbeck has the most delightful voice I’ve ever read. I adore her stories, and she returns with an enchanting new novel, The Theory of Happily Ever After. I laughed, cried, and rejoiced with her wonderful characters and was sad when the story ended. Highly recommended!”

—Colleen Coble, USA Today bestselling author

With more than thirty novels and over 700,000 copies sold, Kristin Billerbeck has mastered the art of combining memorable characters and snappy dialogue to create fun and touching romances. Billerbeck’s newest novel, The Theory of Happily Ever After, is sure to resonate with her many fans as they come to realize that the path to finding bliss isn’t exactly what one might expect.

Dr. Maggie Maguire, a famous happiness expert, believes that happiness is a serious science. However, she soon learns that science can’t always account for life’s anomalies. When Maggie’s fiancé dumps her for a silk-scarf acrobat, she finds herself spiraling into an extended ice cream–fueled chick-flick binge.

Concerned that she might never pull herself out of this nosedive, Maggie’s friends book her as a speaker on a “New Year, New You” cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. Maggie wonders if she’s qualified to teach others about happiness when she can’t muster up any for herself. But when a handsome stranger on board insists that smart women can’t ever be happy, Maggie sets out to prove him wrong. Along the way she just might find that the path to finding happiness may have far less to do with the head than with the heart.

What is ONE thing you’ve learned the hard way so that others don’t have to?

The one thing I learned over the years is to listen to your gut. Now that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to write to certain formats, nor that you know best all the time and have nothing to learn. Writing is a lifetime of learning. However, it does mean that when you feel that inner squeeze telling you that something isn’t right for you, listen to it and not the “experts.”

After I published my first book, I met with an author that I really admired (and still do!) She told me that I had to learn to write a book to synopsis. I needed to plot. I left that meeting so disheartened because I can’t plot to save my life. I figured I would have to write an entire book not knowing if I would sell it because I didn’t know what would happen until it did. I never knew where my characters were going to lead me. How could I tell THEM what to do? Now, I knew that it was a romance and they would end up together, but how they would get there? That’s a mystery to me every time.

As it happened, I was at a writers’ conference at the time, and there was a big crowd laughing and whooping it up in one of the large ballrooms. I walked my Eeyore self into the room thinking, what harm could it do to be around all these happy writers? The author on stage said that she didn’t allow any of her sessions to be taped because she never knew what would pop out of her mouth. I perked right up. There was another author who needed an edit button? I’d found my people!

She went on to say that every day when she sat down at the computer, she had no idea where the characters would take her that day. She just sat down and followed them. That was such a God-moment for me to understand that writers write differently and to embrace the kind of writer that I am. I’m not meant to be on anyone else’s journey. I’m on my own. Over the years, I have made “big mistakes” from the outside, but they were all learning experiences.

Every author has his or her own journey, but I implore you that if everything in your gut is saying ‘no’ and you’re offered a $50k advance? No matter how tempting it is. Say no. In the end, it’s more costly to go against God’s plan for your writing.

Incidentally, the author who wrote by listening to her characters? It was Susan Elizabeth Phillips – and that year she’d won the RITA for the ‘Book of the Year.’

Pre-Order a copy of The Theory of Happily Ever After
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Kristin Billerbeck is the author of more than thirty novels, including What a Girl Wants and the Ashley Stockingdale and Spa Girls series. She is a fourth-generation Californian who loves her state and the writing fodder it provides.

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