Megan Kelly read her first Harlequin Romance as a teenager and became an avid reader. She dreamed of writing those exciting and moving stories she loved. After years (and years) of writing, she finally sold to Harlequin American Romance in 2007. She’ll see two books published in 2008, Marrying The Boss and The Fake Fiancee. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children and is well-known at her local bookstore and library.
And remember, one lucky commenter will receive an autographed copy of Marrying the Boss. We’ll post the winner tomorrow, so be sure to check back.
And now, here’s Megan!
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Hello! I’d like to thank Lee for the opportunity to guest blog today. She’s a real sweetie. If you ever get a chance to meet her at a booksigning or event, you should try to get there.
As Lee mentioned, my first book, Marrying the Boss, hit the bookstore shelves on Tuesday. I don’t have words to explain how excited I am, but maybe hearing about the journey I took to get published (long and circuitous!) will help you understand.
I fell in love with romances as a teenager, but back in those days, all the heroes were alpha males and treated the heroines badly. Many of these books hit the wall (because I threw them), leaving me dissatisfied. I started imagining scenes which would have made each book better. Soon I knew I wanted to write romances for a living. I was seventeen.
Now I’m not.
Oh, still need more? Okay. I went to college, got married, bought a computer, had children, and then started to fulfill the need to write. It wasn’t until I found the local chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA) that I got serious. I went to a conference, met a Silhouette editor who requested my story, and I went home and wrote like crazy. It got rejected, and thank goodness! That’s definitely my “learning book,” dear to my heart, but never to see the light of day again. It’s that bad.
But I kept at it. I went to conferences and our local RWA chapter’s monthly programs and kept learning. I joined a critique group and entered contests for feedback. I worked at my craft and tried to pick up the business stuff, too. I finaled in a few contests, and then won the Maggie, which is heralded as the number one RWA chapter contest, put on by Georgia Romance Writers. I submitted that ms to NY and went to work on another. And another. And… you get the idea.
One day, I didn’t have the heart to write anymore. I figured I’d never get published and my stories would never entertain anyone but me. I was a mess. The “people in my head” not only stopped talking to me, they vanished. (You have to be a writer to think that’s not crazy.) I kept writing, half-heartedly. I had a ms I couldn’t finish, so I’d start something new, then go back to it, then work on the other thing, then go back… I still entered contests and even finaled in the Emily from West Houston RWA (third most prestigious).
And one day, because I kept writing and was open to the experience, the people starting walking around in my head again. I don’t know where they’d been or why they returned. My family noticed I was much happier. I started a new book, not really believing I could get published but wanting to try. And, no, it didn’t happen right away. That would be too Hollywood for my life.
The story didn’t gel at first. It was about two brothers vying for the family firm. One day, a different heroine took over, insisting this was her story. She was right. I finaled in the Maggie then won the Molly from Heart of Denver RW, the second most prestigious contest.
I submitted the ms to Harlequin American Romance after the senior editor ran an article in Romantic Times magazine, asking for new authors. I sent a partial because that’s all I had written, and I still didn’t have much hope of selling, so why spend the money? She requested the full. Oh, boy! So I said goodbye to my family (just kidding) and once again wrote like mad. I gave myself a deadline of six weeks, and off it went. About four months later, the senior editor called and asked to buy it! That book is Marrying the Boss.
And that horrible, monkey-on-my-back manuscript I couldn’t finish? It’s my July release, The Fake Fiancée, which still tortured me, but I loved finishing it. My favorite quote for writing is from Winston Churchill: “Never, never, never quit.”
Whew. Any questions?