April 4 sees the release of my… 47th title since 2006. It seems really surreal that in just over ten years I’ve written that many books, and that there are more on the release schedule for this year. This newest release is the third book in my Darling, VT trilogy from St. Martin’s Press. I loved writing this new series. I felt as if I finally got my “single title” legs- after years of writing short – 50-55,000 words – it took a few books to really get into the groove of writing 80,000+. Somebody’s Baby is the story of Rory Gallagher, a veterinarian with a secret broken heart, and his best friend’s little sister, Oaklee, who has a broken-heart secret of her own. But a stray dog brings them together, and shows Oaklee that taking a chance on love is worth it.
My quest to authordom began in third grade, when I co-wrote a Christmas play with some friends and we performed in front of the class. But then I got into poetry. Fun poetry in elementary and junior high. Angsty poetry in high school. A bit more literary in university… really, I wanted to be a writer, but I’d never tried anything longer than a short story. I got married. Got a job. Moved with my husband, and we started our family. I read…and read…and read – mostly Nora Roberts and LaVyrle Spencer (over and over again) and then, after my second child was born, I got hit with Post Partum Depression.
My sister suggested I write a book instead of whining about having cabin fever – just after my daughter turned a year old. So I did. I wrote “A Sister’s Destiny” and sent it off to Mills and Boon, sure they’d want to gobble it up.
It was promptly rejected (rightfully so) and so were my next…eight books. I just loved the process so much I knew it was something I wanted to do. I learned with each book. And getting that “category romance” voice is challenging and not for everyone. I knew I was getting close in 2006. I was getting detailed rejections, and the writing was stronger. And yet…they were still rejections. One evening, I was sitting on the sofa with my husband, crying and wondering if I would ever sell a book.
The next morning an offer was in my inbox.
I sold two books to Samhain Publishing and then sold Hired By The Cowboy to Harlequin Romance a few months later, and I haven’t looked back.
I wrote for both publishers for many years – 29 books for Harlequin, and 9 for Samhain. I wrote a lot of Westerns, because as a farm girl I loved writing cowboys and ranchers. But I always knew that eventually I wanted to write bigger books – more complex stories with subplots and secondary characters. There’s a real talent to writing those shorter focused books, and it felt “comfortable” to me. Trying something longer took me out of my comfort zone and stretched me as a writer. It presented its own challenges, but I think overall it’s made me a better writer, too. St. Martin’s Publishing bought my Jewell Cove series, and now we’re in the middle of a new contemporary series set in Vermont.
If I were to give writers advice right now, it would be to slow down and make sure the work is ready before you publish. When I started, self-publishing wasn’t a thing. So much has changed in the past ten years! There are options we never had before, and that can be a great thing – but the number one responsibility is always to reward your reader with a well-crafted story. And just keep writing and enjoying the process. Because that’s what will get you through rejections, a tough market, and a lot of life’s ups and downs.
Thank you to Donna Alward for sharing her quest to Authordom! If you haven’t checked it out already, she has a new series out starting with Somebody Like You. These are fun contemporary romances set in a small town where everyone knows everyone, and sometimes that can lead to something more. The third book in the series, Somebody’s Baby, is out April 4, 2017, and I think it might be my favorite of the three so far!
by Donna Alward
Series: Darling VT #3
Published on April 4, 2017 by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Romance
Veterinarian Rory Gallagher chose a different path from his brothers, both of whom became first responders in the lovely little town of Darling, Vermont. Rory's always had an affinity for animals--and the ladies. Known for his impressive track record in breaking hearts, Rory never meant to hurt anyone; he's just never been in a hurry to settle down. It's not as if he needs to pay a visit to the town's famed Kissing Bridge to magically find love. He'll know The One when he sees her. . .right?
Oaklee Ferguson is the kid sister of Rory's best friend--and, even now that she's all grown up, remains immune to the pet-doctor's charms. When she shows up at Rory's clinic late one night--devastated after hitting a stray dog with her car--Rory's so-called -bedroom eyes- are the last thing on her mind. Still, his care and kindness toward the dog, and his concern for her feelings, catches Oaklee by surprise. . .and soon the two (and rescued dog makes three!) begin to share a deep connection that neither could have ever imagined. Could it be that love has been waiting for them by the bridge all along?
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