By: Mary Pat Baldauf
As an environmentalist for a local government, I work with all types of people, but none as awesome as my colleague and friend, Synithia Williams. By day, she is Lexington County’s Environmental Coordinator, a fabulous “partner in grime.” By night, Synithia is a romance writer, and this woman is going places! She didn’t start until 2010, and she has already published two books and is working on more. Synithia is a great local success story, as well as an inspiration to anyone working to make a dream come true.
From her official biography, Synithia Williams has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural that she would begin penning her own romances soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her publishing dreams. Her first novel, You Can’t Plan Love, was published in August 2012 by Crimson Romance. When she isn’t writing, this Green Queen, as dubbed by the State Newspaper, works to improve air and water quality, while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons.
I recently interviewed Synithia about her writing, how her day job sneaks into her novels and what her husband thinks about those steamy love scenes, among other things…
By day, you’re an environmental coordinator; by night, a romance writer. What, if anything, do these two have in common?
Not very much! I did use my experience working in water quality to create a career for the heroine in my first book, You Can’t Plan Love. In my attempt to “write what you know,” I made her an environmental consultant. I also sneak in sustainable habits with some of my characters. The hero in YCPL drives a hybrid, and the heroine in my second book, Worth the Wait, recycles and grows her own vegetables.
Have you always wanted to be an author? How long have you been writing? How did you get started?
I wrote my first book when I was 6 and made a cover for it out of wall paper. So I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. I always considered it a hobby and never pursued it seriously, until I saw a co-worker make a big career jump to follow her dream. I figured if she could do that, then I could finish a book. So I made it a goal to complete my novel by the end of the year (2010). I did, and then spent all of 2011 getting feedback, researching the publishing industry, and taking workshops on writing. I started querying e-book publishers in 2012 and couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to have Crimson Romance offer a contract for my first book in May 2012.
Who inspires you, authors or otherwise?
Inspiration is everywhere. When I see people go after their dreams it inspires me to keep writing. When I’m reading a book and the phrasing an author uses or the scene they wrote gets an emotional response out of me, I’m inspired to do the same thing in my writing. I even get inspiration sitting in staff meetings. A random phrase can give me an idea for an entirely new story. I hope that I serve as an inspiration to my boys. I want them to know they can achieve anything they want if they work hard.
What does your husband think about your hot romance novels?
He wants every man I write about to be him! But seriously, he’s very supportive. I could not do this without him. He doesn’t mind me going to writing conferences, or serving on the board of Low County Romance Writers of America. He puts up with my babbling about book ideas and marketing strategies. I’m very lucky to have him.
What is the first thing people want to know about you when they find out that you write romance novels?
If the stories are about me. I think that’s crazy because as open as I can be, I couldn’t put my love life out there like that. I do draw on some life experiences when I write, but all of my stories are from my very vivid imagination.
What is the first thing you want people to know about you as a romance writer?
That I don’t write “typical” romance. Love isn’t easy, so I don’t make falling in love easy for my characters. They all have flaws, some that are hard to overcome and don’t always make my characters likeable. I think this realism is the reason people like my novels. The best compliments I get are from women who can relate to my heroines or when they say my heroes are realistic. But even though I show how hard love can be you will get a happy ending.
What are your plans and/or goals for the future?
To write 2-3 books a year. It seems impossible with a day job and kids, but when I’m focused I can write 2,000 words in one sitting.
What is the greatest misconception about romance novels?
That they are full of weak women and unrealistic storylines. That may be true of romance novels of the past, but today the stories reflect real life. Yes, they are about love and yes everyone ends up happily matched, engaged or married. But what’s wrong with that? There’s too much sadness in the world to shun books that provide a few hours of happiness. They aren’t all erotica as some like to believe. Romance runs the gamut from inspirational stories with just hand holding and a kiss to the more explicit 50 Shades type. If you’ve never read one, find the genre that you’re comfortable with and give it a try
What advice do you have for someone who wants to publish a novel?
Keep writing! I wrote my second book before I had a contract for the first. If you’re researching about writing and publishing, your writing style should improve, and if your first book doesn’t sell then your second or third might. Learn everything there is to know about publishing (traditional, e-publishing and self publishing). There are a lot of options for writers now, and there’s no reason to enter the field without any knowledge.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I appreciate the chance to connect with your readers and hopefully introduce them to my corner of the world. People can connect with me on line on my website www.synithiawilliams.com, Facebook (www.facebook.com/synithiarwilliams) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/@SynithiaW).
For more about Synithia and/or her books, visit www.synithiawilliams.com.