Cover art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved.
In October, 1987, I received a phone call from a close writer friend, Sally Hawkes, who still lives a little over twenty miles away from me. “I was just in the Waldenbooks close to my apartment,” she said excitedly. “Your book is on the shelf!”
Even though it was their bedtime and we had only an hour before the store closed, my husband and I bundled our two little girls (our son wasn’t born yet) into the car and drove that twenty-plus miles just to admire my very first book, a Harlequin Temptation entitled HERO IN DISGUISE, on display among the other books for sale that month. I had been ecstatic when I’d made that first sale, and had already sold two follow-up books (HERO FOR THE ASKING and HERO BY NATURE), and I had already received my author copies, but seeing the book there on the shelf with the other published authors finally made it sink in for me. I had achieved my lifelong goal of writing and publishing a novel. It was a thrilling moment for me — but a scary one, too. All those strangers would be reading my story. What if they didn’t like it? What if the reviews were bad? What if I never sold another book?
Twenty-one years and ninety-some-odd books later, those same feelings come over me whenever I visit a bookstore and see one of my titles on the shelf. There’s still the joy of having a career I love, and the hope that my stories will be well received. And there’s still a little of the fear. I make a firm habit never to seek out or read reviews (except good ones people send to me), but I know that not every book will appeal to every reader. Still, there is so much of myself invested in each story that it’s hard to open myself to criticism each time.
A few days ago, I received my copies of my upcoming February Silhouette Special Edition, THE TEXAN’S TENNESSEE ROMANCE. As I ripped into the box to examine the cover I hadn’t yet had a chance to see, I realized that I still get excited whenever one of those shipments arrive. I love adding that new title to the bookcase I bought just for my own books (it’s pictured on my bibliography page). And I still cross my fingers hoping my readers will enjoy my latest story.
Someone (hi, Heather!) told me recently that she was buying some of my titles for her new Kindle reader. That, too, is exciting — and scary. A new format, a new technology … as resistant as I am to change, it’s intriguing to be a part of publishing’s future. What other changes will we see in coming years? Will I be able to keep up? To change with the times? I’m certainly doing my best. I can’t imagine not telling more stories, no matter what form they’ll take in the future — paper, electronic readers, or a medium I can’t even imagine yet.
I’ll have four releases coming out in 2009. The first is THE TEXAN’S TENNESSEE ROMANCE. For those of you who’ve read my Family Found series, the hero is another Walker cousin — and you’ll find a few familiar characters in the story, even though the book stands on its own for new readers.
In June, I’m part of a Harlequin anthology entitled FROM THIS DAY FORWARD, along with bestselling authors Candace Camp and Allison Leigh. To celebrate Harlequin’s 60th anniversary, the three of us collaborated on connected stories about a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. My story, featuring that couple’s granddaughter and her military hero, is called ALWAYS THE GROOMSMAN.
In August, I’ll begin my new Silhouette Special Edition series, DOCTORS IN TRAINING, with a book entitled DIAGNOSIS: DADDY. I’ll tell you more about that series later.
And finally, to wrap up the year, I’ll have a Christmas story in the next Harlequin NASCAR holiday anthology. (I’m not sure of the title yet. I’ll let you know as soon as it’s finalized).
As each of these books arrives on the shelves, I’m sure I will experience the same excitement/nerves I always feel with a new release. And in the meantime, I’ve got more projects underway. I hope you’ll enjoy the stories I’ve written for you … and that you’ll let me know if you do. I love hearing from my readers.