New York Times bestselling author Teresa Mummert dishes on her transition from the wild world of self-publishing to the realm of the traditional (but still sort of wild!) in this exclusive post. The last book in Teresa’s New Adult trilogy, A Song For Us, releases on 4/22!

Like most writers, when I self-published my first novel I never expected anyone to read it. I honestly had no idea what I was doing and this entire journey has been a huge learning process. Writing was therapeutic for me and I used these stories to escape from the reality of my husband’s deployments. Going from writing as a hobby to getting picked up by a publisher changed everything. I was thrown into the deep end of the pool and had to figure out how to keep my head above water. I had to be disciplined and write every day. Most people have this image in their mind that writers lay on hammocks and drink fruity drinks while scribbling in a notebook. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes from having an idea to actually getting that book on a shelf.

The trilogy began as a dream I had. I gravitate toward broken and damaged characters because they seem more realistic to me. As a reader, I’ve always found it easier to slip into a character’s mind when I have something in common with them. Cass has a tragic life with little hope of escaping her abusive relationship. When Tucker walks into the diner she works at everything in her life begins to change, but it wasn’t an easy road for her.

Taking this story from indie to publishing through Gallery was a major learning experience. The cover, while still one of my favorites, would no longer work for store shelves. The story itself needed to be expanded and fleshed out. In the end, the first novel grew by one hundred pages. It was scary going through the process but when it was done I was extremely happy with how it turned out.

My next book continued the story of Cass and Tucker on the road with the band. I was more nervous to write book two and hand it over to the publisher. It can be intimidating working with those who have been in the industry for years and work with some of the people you look up to. I was incredibly fortunate to have amazing people in my corner and what I learned from my editor was invaluable.

The final book in the trilogy, A Song for Us, comes out April 22, and it’s my favorite of the series. It deals with the band’s drummer Eric and his struggles for his feelings for Sarah. While these characters aren’t in a dire situation like Cass from the other novels, as their past is revealed you learn that simply removing yourself from a situation doesn’t solve all of your problems. You also get to see Cass and Tucker tie the knot. It is hard to let characters go but I am very happy with the way this series has ended and I think readers will be as well.