This year I attended the RWA conference in New York. It was a great experience; I networked, made new friends and connections, and learned a lot. One thing that shone out to me from several different speakers is the idea of accepting the inevitability of change.
It’s easy to get comfortable as writers, to stick to what we know. But the industry moves a lot – it shifts as trends come and go, it demands that we continually learn, grow and adapt.
In 2014 I found out the line I had been signed to write for (Harlequin’s KISS line) was being closed down. I wasn’t ready. I had more stories planned in my Melbourne Ballerinas series (of which there are now only two) and I loved the fun and flirty vibe of KISS. It suited me and I was comfortable there.
But I didn’t have control over the change, so I had to think about where I was headed next. I knew I wanted to keep writing for Harlequin. I knew that I liked sexy stories and that I prefer writing heroes who are strong and capable, but are still capable of a range of emotions.
Trying to find a new line to write for was a daunting task. I had to come up with a concept to pitch, something that would catch the eye of a new editor who didn’t know me. I had to go through the process of submitting and waiting which felt like starting from scratch.
It was a terrifying few months. What if they hated my proposal? What if the new editor thought my writing sucked? What if they only had space for one more author in their line and they preferred someone else? What if, what if, what if…
It’s easy to let the fear overwhelm you. But writing is my life, so off my proposal went. And I waited. I wore the F5 key off my laptop refreshing my email over and over.
When I got the call from Harlequin’s Blaze line I was thrilled. This was back in February this year. Now, my first book has just come out (it’s called A Dangerously Sexy Christmas – isn’t that a fab title! Sadly, I can’t take credit for come up with it) and I’ve just handed in the final edits for a Blaze second book. I’ve also signed on to do four more books over the course of the next year and a bit.
The whole experience has taught me a lot, namely to:
- Expect that change will come and that it might knock you down at first. That’s okay. It’s perfectly normal to feel frightened by change. But don’t let the fear stop you from moving forward.
- Be willing to try new things and take feedback. Changing lines (or publishers or genres or anything else) will require you to adjust elements of your writing. The people who listen and who can strike the right balance between accepting advice and staying true to their stories, are the ones who will succeed.
- Be okay with not knowing which way your path leads. I often wished I was one of those people who had it all figured out. But the more experience I get, the more I realise that even the most successful authors have doubts.
Aspiring jewelry designer Rose Lawson doesn’t want a bodyguard. Especially the hot, muscle-y one her father hires after a break-in at the jewelry shop where she works. It’s only when her home is also ransacked that Rose realizes the sexy (but infuriating) bodyguard might come in handy…especially on a cold winter’s night.
Max Ridgeway is a former Aussie cop who’s got something to prove in New York. He’s convinced that someone dangerous is behind the robberies and that Rose needs protection. His protection. But what’s even more dangerous is the sexy tension between them—because a hot little fling could compromise their lives…and his heart.