Friday, May 29, 2009

Sometimes It Pays To Listen

Although I blog every week on a site relating to my alternate persona as a mystery writer, I found myself stressing a wee bit over what I should do for my first-ever blog with these amazing authors from Harlequin American.

And then I decided I should just introduce myself, maybe tell why I ventured into the romance waters...

Many of the ideas for my stories come from snippets I hear on the news--interesting little facts that take root in my mind and make it hard for me to sleep. Eventually, I start twisting and twisting the snippets until I have a workable novel.

Anyway, it was about this same time of year (two years ago) when I heard a story about a letter that had slipped behind a table in a post office only to be discovered forty years later.

I heard that and I was done. D-O-N-E. I couldn't tell you anything else the D.J. said before he finally got back to playing music. I was completely and utterly captivated by the notion of what the letter might have said...whether the sender and/or recipient were even still alive.

As the snippet continued to grow in my mind, I knew it wanted to be a story. And so I tried to create a murder plot around this misplaced letter (as that's what I wrote until that moment). For three months I tried to kill someone off in the mental plotting phase, yet none of the characters forming in my mind had any intention of dying.

What they wanted was to be part of a love story...

All fine and dandy if I knew how to write a romance. Which I didn't.

I did my best to fight with the voice in my head. I even tried to forget the story start. But I couldn't. So I stopped fighting for a moment and started thinking...about a romance I'd read that was written by Shelley Galloway (Cinderella Christmas, Harlequin American) a year or so earlier. I loved the feel of that story. The hope. The characters' growth. The overall tone.

Hmmm. Maybe I could do it.

I began reading more...all Harlequin Americans. In fairly quick fashion I became hooked on the line and the authors, finally deciding to listen to the characters in my head and give it a go.

And as I wrote, I fell in love with the genre as a writer, too. In fact, of all the books I've written to date, Kayla's Daddy (January 2010) is my favorite. Why? First and foremost, it's a beautiful story about second chances and the mountains love can climb. But that's not all. That book will always represent (for me) what can happen when I simply believe in myself enough to try.

Here's to those voices that nag you to listen...

~Laura Bradford


Heather Webber said...

Congratulations on your new book, Laura! My guess is you'll have a long, fabulous career at HA!

Laura Bradford said...

Thanks, Heather. As for the long career, I certainly hope so!

Marin Thomas said...


What a neat story! Can't wait to read your book. And welcome to the American line!


Lynn said...

Voices. I thank god for my writer friends who understand when I say the characters took me a different way or they kept talking to me.

Although I was reading Janet Evanavich's How I write and she says she's in control. Voices don't talk to her.

But I'm glad that you didn't let this story die. Looking forward to reading it in January!

Laura Bradford said...

Thanks, Marin and Lynn.

And, Lynn, I'd be lost without my voices.

Jennifer Faye said...

Huge congrats on your first HAR!!! That's great and your book sounds very interesting. Can't wait to read it.

If you don't mind sharing, what was your call story like for HAR?

Laura Bradford said...


I submitted 3 chaps and a synop which they liked. But, since I wasn't a romance writer, I was told they wanted to see the whole thing. Four months later (maybe longer, not sure), I got the call from my agent! I've since sold one more to the line as well.

I adore my editor as she's been very supportive.

I have a history with Harlequin as my first three mysteries were reprinted through their World Wide imprint.

Estella said...

Congrats on your first HAR. I an looking forward to reading it.

chey said...

Great post! Can't wait to read the story about the lost mail!

Laura Bradford said...

Thanks, Estella and Chey!

shelley galloway said...

Hi Laura,

We moved last weekend, so I'm only just now reading your post. Hugs to you for mentioning Cinderella! That book was my first for maybe it was a fitting book to guide you to writing for the line.

I already love your mysteries. I can't wait to be on the shelf with you in January!!