Good Morning, all!
I'm so happy to have a special guest author on my blog today: Harlequin Romance author Melissa McClone. My blog happens to be one of the stops on her whirlwind blog tour.
So please give Melissa a hardy welcome and hear how she got started writing sweet romances for Harlequin.
I never thought a high school English assignment would lead to a career as a romance writer, but that's exactly what happened to me. I was a senior in high school. Our class had taken the A.P. English test, and we still had a few weeks until graduation. Our teacher decided to expose us to various forms of writing. This included advertising copy and genre fiction.
One of those genres was romance. A classmate's mother loaned my teacher a brown grocery sack full of Harlequin Romances. I'd never read a category romance before. Each of us, including all the boys, received a book to study so we could come up with an original storyline. The assignment was to write the back cover blurb for our own romance novel.
The book I received was set on the Canary Islands. I can't remember the title, but I recall a postmark on the cover. (Today, I'd call it a flash.) I read the book that night. I attacked the writing assignment with vigor. Not everyone was as serious as some of us—okay, me—but we had fun listening to everyone's back cover copy.
I enjoyed my book so much I wanted to read another. I borrowed more of my friend's mother's books to read. I spent my summer devouring Harlequin Romances. I remember one book in particular, The Devil in Disguise by Jessica Steele. It featured a Greek hero and an innocent heroine. I'm not sure I'd feel the same way about the story today as I did when I was a teenager, but I must have read that book half a dozen times. Maybe more.
I loved the exotic settings, the emotion and the characters. Most importantly, I loved the happy endings. Harlequin Romances were so different from the other books I'd been reading at the time. When I'd finish a Harlequin, my heart would sigh. I loved that feeling (and still do!)
During college, reading romance novels became my escape from studying engineering. My reading expanded to include more category lines, both Harlequin and Silhouette, as well as Loveswept. I remember heading to the Waldenbooks store at the Stanford Shopping Center when the new batch of books arrived each month.
I also bought a book titled something like How to Write a Romance. That thin, little book inspired many daydreams. But I never wrote more than a line or two before a problem set or my work-study job at the engineering library would pull me back to reality.
After college, my reading expanded across the romance genre. But category romances, especially the "sweet" or "traditional" romances, appealed to me the most. I liked being able to finish a book in one sitting after a long day at the office or a night class working toward my MBA. I knew I'd fall in love with the hero right alongside the heroine. I'd be smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy when I read the words "The End." I also appreciated the characters not having sex unless they were married.
I was in my early twenties. There was enough pressure in real life to have sex. "Sweet" romances gave me what I craved the most…romance. Sure, the rich, powerful, gorgeous hero would have slept with the heroine if she'd said yes, but he was willing to wait (and wait and wait) if she said no.
Fiction. Fantasy. Totally refreshing.
A perfect escape from the reality of the dating world.
When I decided to write my own romance novel, I knew I wanted to write a sweet. I wanted to make readers feel the same way my favorite authors made me feel when I finished reading one of their books.
So that's what I wrote. Rather, attempted to write. I didn't have any luck with the sweeter lines. Harlequin Mills & Boon rejected everything I submitted. But an editorial assistant at Silhouette was willing to read my stuff. In spite of her rejections, she told me to keep submitting. I did. I even quit my engineering job to pursue my writing full-time.
Soon, I began thinking I didn't have a "sweet" voice so I wrote a short contemporary. I sold that one to Silhouette Yours Truly. When that line ended—my book was the last published—I was moved to Silhouette Romance. I was so excited to be at one of my favorite "sweet" lines and wrote nine books for them until that line also closed.
I was then brought over to the Harlequin Romance line edited out of the Mills & Boon office in the UK. Finally. After all those years since my high school A.P. English class, I was writing for the line that first introduced me to category romance. I felt as if I'd come home!
Do you read category romances? Do you have a favorite category line you read?
If so, what line is it?
The tour will run February 14-March 1. Melissa will be giving away $20 Amazon.com GC to one randomly drawn commenter from her tour.
For Melissa's blog tour schedule, click HERE.
Suddenly a Princess...
It's not every day that a tall, dark, handsome prince strides into your workshop and announces he's your husband! Mechanic Izzy nearly drops her wrench. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that she'd become a princess!
Independent Izzy struggles with exchanging her oil-stained overalls for silken gowns, let alone becoming responsible for an entire country! Yet her attraction to Prince Niko tempts her further into the fairy tale. And then two small surprises change all the rules of the game....
Sounds great! Thanks for stopping by, Melissa!
****Side note: The winner of Friday's book giveaway, A Billion Reasons Why, is....
Cindy R. Wilson!!***** Congrats!!
Monday, February 28, 2011
Good Morning, all!