Saturday, November 24, 2012
Living the Dream
For more years than I can count I harbored a dream of being a romance writer. I was the kid who grew up across the street from a public library and always had my head buried in a book. When I discovered Harlequin romances at the age of twelve, I just knew I was meant to be a romance writer. Thankfully, I had two parents who didn't discourage me from reading tales about Alpha males and the women who loved them. Even though my parents were both in the medical field (doctor and biologist), they never tried to change who I was. And I was a kid who loved her Harlequin romance novels. I can still remember some of those covers and my favorite authors...Sally Wentworth, Charlotte Lamb, Helen Bianchin, Violet Winspear. In my mind, those women were goddesses.
I ended up attending Syracuse University, where I majored in English and met my own hero, my husband Randy. In the back of my mind I was always thinking, "Someday I'm going to be a writer." After the birth of my first daughter I submitted a manuscript to a single publisher, who deemed it "interesting", but not quite ready for prime time. I must admit, it was a very odd romance novel where the hero was pretending to be romancing a woman who was actually his sister. Enough said, right? At the time I was on maternity leave from my full time job as a Federal Investigator and not quite sure if I was ready for publication. So, the dream was put on the back shelf for many years.
Fast forward to March of 2011 when I sent out a manuscript that had been gathering dust for years. I sent it to two publishers. One lost it. The other made an offer of publication. Yay! Rah! Hurray!!! Not so fast! Unfortunately, the "dream" was not all I thought it would be. The publisher was verging on bankruptcy and decided to make all future books E books. This was after I signed the contract. Not to knock E books, but it wasn't exactly what I was looking for...hoping for...and dreaming about all these years. I so wanted to hold a book with my name on it in my hand and walk into a store and see it on the shelves. It was a bitter pill to swallow and many times I asked myself, "Why me?
Now comes the good part. Just as I was starting to question whether the writing dream was going to work out, I stumbled across the Harlequin forums. Who knew there was a place where established Harlequin authors and aspiring Harlequin authors could network, talk with editors, enter pitch contests and hone their craft. My life changed when I entered a Speed dating pitch with Love Inspired Editor, Emily Rodmell. At the end of the pitch she asked for a proposal, which turned into a full manuscript request, which happily turned into an offer of publication. Yay. Rah! Hurrah!
The experience of writing "Reunited with the Sheriff" (hitting shelves June of 2013) was a great one. The story literally poured out of me. My editor Emily gave me so much encouragement and direction at every stage of the process. I really felt as if she was cheering me on from her New York office. Being able to be part of the creative process (the cover art) has been wonderful, and although edits are my least favorite thing, they weren't too bad. I'm so excited and blessed to have been given this opportunity. I couldn't be happier!