Wendy Herrington, a 30-year resident of Scappoose, often goes by another name.
That name is Collette Cameron, her pen name, which now graces the titles of more than 30 books, some of which readers can find at the Scappoose Public Library, and all of which are available for purchase online at amazon.com.
In addition to prolific publishing, Herrington has won a few awards, most notably hitting the USA Today Bestselling list.
Herrington, or Cameron, now has eight more books coming out in a series, “Heart of a Scot.”
The first, “To Love a Highland Laird,” was published Nov. 15, and the second, “To Redeem a Highland Rogue,” was published Dec. 5 and was the 2019 RONE winner in the Historical Scottish Category.
The third book, “To Seduce a Highland Scoundrel” will be published on Jan. 23, 2020. Four more books are coming out, set to be published in February and March, although Herrington has not yet finalized those dates with her publisher.
The book series is like much of Herrington’s other work in that it’s a historical romance. However, while most of Herrington’s work focuses on the Regency era, the early 1800s, this series is set in early 1700s in the Scottish Highlands. The series centers on eight friends and their stories, all historical romances with a lot of history sprinkled in between.
To research the series, Herrington went to Scotland in the summer of 2017.
“It’s not a bad way to have to research your books,” Herrington said.
In her case, research meant trying out all the things that Herrington wanted first-hand knowledge of, so she could convey the experience to her readers. That meant visiting historical sites, trying Scottish food, and talking to different people working in castles.
“If you haven’t actually experienced it, it’s harder to write,” Herrington said.
Readers of Herrington’s novels will find some common themes in this new series. Those themes include not just historical romance, but also humor, intrigue and inspiration, according to Herrington.
Those who have never read Herrington’s work might be interested to know that Herrington likes to directly interact with her readers via several different methods. One way is through her newsletter, in which she often asks readers what their favorite tropes are, their favorite characteristics, and where she has asked readers to help her name characters and titles, which Herrington said her readers love.
Herrington also has a messenger bot, where readers can subscribe directly through Facebook, which Herrington posts in her reader group on Facebook. The bot is usually a character from one of her books, and readers are able to interact directly with the character.
In addition to the newsletter and bot, Herrington also has a blog on her website. She said she tries to share unique things across her blog and newsletter so that those who subscribe to both can experience different things.
Unlike many authors, Herrington said writing was never a lifelong dream of hers. While she said she was always a reader, she started writing her first novel in February of 2011, after her youngest child had gone off to college and Herrington had just begun her career of substitute teaching.
That novel, “Highlander’s Hope” was an idea Herrington had been toying around with for a while. When she finished it, her publisher, Blue Rose Romance, gave her an offer for nine more books.
The rest of her books have been self-published, Herrington said. All of them have been under her pseudonym.
Choosing a pen name was necessary in order to stay anonymous during her teaching days, Herrington said. “Collette” is Herrington’s middle name, while “Cameron” is her maternal grandparent surname. While she initially kept her writing very quiet, Herrington said she is no longer as worried about people knowing her real name.
Staying secretive is also not as necessary, because Herrington started writing full-time in January of 2016.
She has advice for those who would like to follow in her footsteps.
“You have to be really disciplined,” Herrington said. “You have to find what works for you, and you have to connect with other authors in your genre.”
Herrington frequently connects with other authors in her genre, including Kathryn LeVeque, whom Herrington described as one of the top historical authors in the industry.
Now that she has hit her goal of publishing 35 books, Herrington said her new goal is to hit 50 books, which she estimates might happen within the next two years.
The other accolades, such as winning the RONE, or being a USA Today bestselling author were never achievements Herrington said she was expecting to attain. She plans to keep it working that way, to write without intentionally seeking prizes.
“The more you write; the more stuff will happen. Don’t focus on anything else,” Herrington said.
And Herrington plans on writing for many years to come.
“I plan on writing until I can’t. I’m interacting right now with authors whose books I read when I was in my 20s and they are in their late 70s and 80s and they’re the same way. They’re going to continue writing until they can’t anymore,” Herrington said.