Veronica Scott is an award-winning science fiction and paranormal romance novelist. She is a three-time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?

Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life? We lived in a rural area of Upstate New York when I was a kid, so I had a pretty idyllic childhood with hikes in the woods, fishing with my Dad, horseback riding, and the like. The closest neighbors were a half-mile away so I learned to rely on my own imagination for entertainment and of course, I read constantly, any book I could get my hands on.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

I can’t think of anything. I’ve lived my life on my own terms and by my own principles and ethics. I don’t regret past decisions. As long as I know I did my best in whatever the situation may have been, I’m content.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Too often the advice given to authors, especially newer ones, is that “you must do this” or “this is the one thing you have to do”. No. Each person has to do what works best for them and their Muse, and what their ultimate goals may be. There is no one way, no single path to success, no rules. Other than the one which requires a romance to have a Happy Ever After or a Happy For Now ending! Now that one you’d better not break or you will have unhappy readers if you bill your book as a romance.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

I was widowed when my children were three and five. I followed my motto cited above, of never giving up, and I made the best choices I could under the circumstances. I never regretted the many happy years we did have together (he had been my high school sweetheart and we were married for close to sixteen years.) I was surrounded by a very warm and helpful community at the old day job and at the children’s daycare and I had a fulfilling, fascinating career. The event (he was riding his bicycle after work one evening and was literally hit by a truck) and its aftermath at a relatively young age gave me a different perspective on the fragile nature of life and the fact there are no guarantees.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I write relatively fast, I love to tell my stories and I have great organization and self-discipline. I understand how my own creative process works and I make sure I’m maintaining the conditions in my life which allow the Muse to work. My “secret” superpower has always been networking. I may not know who to call directly to accomplish a task, but I know where to begin asking the questions and I’m fearless about working my way to the person with the best answer. I also love to connect with people and build networks.

What is your morning routine?

After working outside the home my entire adult life, usually with a long Southern California commute I still wake up at 4:30 in the morning. (It helps to have an impatient but beloved cat who knows he wants to eat before dawn.) Luckily I’m a morning person by nature! I usually get up at 5AM, feed the cat, have breakfast, check the online news and my social media and then dive into whatever author-related tasks I may have for the day. I write about science fiction romance for various platforms, I publish a new releases report on my blog every Wednesday and of course I work on my novels. My children are grown and on their own so I’m free to proceed through the day in whatever way I prefer but there’s a certain sameness of the routine, which I enjoy.

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

I’ve always loved to walk, going back to when I lived way out in the country and nothing was close to anything. I try to walk each day after lunch, which clears my mind, is good for my health and relaxation. I usually go about a mile round trip – my knees are fragile.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I was a NASA Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma and also an in-house ISO-9001 lead auditor as an extra assignment at the old day job, so I understand how to break a process down into steps and improve it. I keep track of my due dates and deadlines and if a task is overwhelming, I break it into bite sized pieces and give myself interim accomplishments. I learned to build slack into my schedules because unexpected things will happen. I manage my stress by making sure I don’t have too much to accomplish in one day. I also acknowledge what I can control and what I can’t. I take breaks. I drink tea. I keep a To-Do List to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. And once a year I review and update my Strategic Plan, which I also review quarterly. It’s amazing how clarifying it can be to compare an opportunity or a new activity to my own strategic goals. I also play with my grandchildren, pet the cat and read a lot of books! All work and no downtime is a very bad idea for a creative person like me.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?

Andre Norton’s science fiction novels (read as a kid) and Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (read in elementary school), because they inspired me to write my own novels in both genres (but with much more romance). I’ve written my entire life since I was seven, but only became serious about becoming published in 2010. (I had a demanding, full-time day job that paid the bills.) My first book was published in 2012 and I able to go full-time as an author in 2015, with over 45 books on my backlist nowadays. I’ve since become a USA Today Best Selling Author and been able to do so many fun things related to this career, all because I fell in love with action and adventure and sci-fi as a kid.

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

I’m not the kind of person who remembers inspirational quotes. I’m much more likely to remember favorite movie lines; however, my personal motto is “Never give up”. I also try to keep in mind what Mark Twain is rumored to have said, that the things he worried about the most never happened.