My Journey Into Writing Romance

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(originally posted at WriteMinded)

Memory is a really fickle thing – I realize that as I look back on my RTB post, part of which is posted here, about why I write romance and see that I lied a little. Not on purpose, of course, but it’s just that I have a certain way of remembering what happened and my husband pointed out that I was wrong.

I will never admit that he’s right, of course.

Anyway, I did start reading romance and writing romance after my daughter was born, but not right away. She had many medical problems we were dealing with, and 3 months before her 1st birthday we got the wonderful news that she was going to have a major operation that was going to help her to make great strides.

Those three months were the slowest months of my life. I knew I was going to be living out of state, and in a hospital, for God knew how long, and I basically had to keep her in a bubble for the months leading to the operation – no illness allowed. She already had nursing, but we added extra, and I found myself in my house with my daughter being taken care of and nothing to do but stare at the walls.

I ordered a HUGE stack of books in preparation for the trip – books I liked to read at the time. I was big into Tami Hoag, so I basically went down the Amazon list and ordered every one of hers I didn’t have. At the time, I didn’t realize she’d written romance – I’d gotten into her with her Night Sins books.

Anyway, I tried to ignore the huge pile. Because I was saving them, dammit. But when I realized that I’d ordered the romances by accident, I let myself read one, because I figured I wouldn’t like it anyway.

That book was Lucky’s Lady. I read the first chapter, and put it down because I loved it so much that I wanted to save it. And then, 15 minutes later, I picked it up again and read it straight through. And then I went up to my computer and I started writing what was supposed to be a romantic suspense but what I really think is a big jumble of stuff with lots of love scenes.

I wrote steadily for the next three months. Every single day. The nurses must’ve thought I was crazy, because I wrote like I was getting a paycheck for every page I got down. And I ordered more books. I basically checked out the, if you like this book you’ll also like, pages on Amazon, and that’s when I got into Cherry Adair and Suzanne Brockmann, whose books I did read in the hospital and that really got me through the tough days. And I continued to write. In fact, the husband reminded me that I was writing about SEALs before I read Brockmann, because at one point he’d said that our daughter was so tough she could be the world’s first female SEAL. And that’s when I started writing SEALs, in honor of my girl. So really, that’s the story.

Oh, yeah – the how I got published part, that’s what you want to know, right? Okay, so my daughter left Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in right before Halloween in 2002. I stopped writing because – I’m not sure why. I guess because she was getting better and I was still nervous about her health and I’d cut back on the nursing because I wanted it to be just the two of us during the day.

And then, in April of 2003, I reread a part of something I wrote. And I liked it – I even laughed in places. And I thought, maybe I could really do this. So I finished the book, and then my father reminded me about a good family friend who was, at the time, working as an editor. He edited literary and non-fiction, but he offered to read my stuff and tell me what he thought.

After two weeks, I got a message from him that he really, really liked it! He told me that all books need editorial help, but that I had a good voice and that my books kept him turning pages and that I should go for it. And since page-turning romance novels helped me, I wanted to be able to return the favor to someone who needed an escape.

So I really started thinking about subbing in September, 2003. Many, many manuscripts and rejections later, I sold to Harlequin Blaze. And if you want to hear about that story, I’ll lead you to the article titled, Don’t Do What I Did.

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