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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Megan Kelly

Hello, everyone! Today, Megan Kelly is guest blogging here at The Writer Side of Life. Megan’s first book was released on Tuesday, so of course a little party was in order! So glad you could join us!

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!

* * *

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?

Megan

12 comments:

Marin Thomas said...

Megan

Congratulations on your first book hitting the store shelves! Your road to publication sounds a lot like mine, accept that I could never afford to attend any conferences to meet editors or agents.

You mentioned you're a stay-at-home-mom, how old are your kids and what is a typical writing day like for you?

Marin
www.marinthomas.com

Megan Kelly said...

Thanks, Marin. I have two kids who were toddlers (one not even walking) when I went to that first conference. They're teens now, which gives you an idea how long it took me to sell. I wouldn't say I have a "typical" writing day, but I tend to write in spurts. I'll do a chunk, then torture it into shape until I'm happier with it. Then I start on the next part. I show my ms to my critique partner as I go, so each chapter has to be something I'm proud of, or so confused about I really need help!

Linda Warren said...

Hi Megan,
Congratulations! It's a wonderful feeling, isn't it? I have Marrying The Boss and plan to read it as soon as I finish my present book. The first paragraph had me hooked so I can't wait to get back to it.
Wishing you the best of luck.

My brain is sometimes out to lunch, but did we meet last year in Dallas, outside the ladies room?
Linda
www.lindawarren.net

Megan Kelly said...

Linda, I remember meeting you, but not where. Might it have been at the HAR coffee? Thanks for the comments on my first paragraph. I hope you like the book.

Anonymous said...

Megan, thanks for sharing the story of your writing road. I take such comfort in tales of other writers' potholes, and isn't that a sad statement about my psyche?

However, I'm thrilled that your stories are finally out there to entertain the rest of us.

Thanks!

Rachel

Lee McKenzie said...

Megan, congratulations again on the release of your first book! And thanks so much for being here today and for sharing your story. You're an inspiration!

Lee

Megan Kelly said...

Rachel, I hope the story of my journey inspires you to keep at your writing, no matter the pot holes along the way.

Lee, thanks for having me as a guest today.

Sheryll Gallagher said...

I am so-o-o late with this. Blame this dratted cold I have which leaves me feeling like something close to a wilted dishrag by the time I get home from work. Congratulations, Megan! How well I can relate to the frustrated feeling you had. And good on you for not quitting and writing through it! I look forward to reading your book!

Sheryll

Megan Kelly said...

Thanks, Sheryll. Had I given up I wouldn't have started writing again later. It's a hard road to publication.

Gillian Layne said...

I'm sorry I'm so late to the party! It's a great interview, and as a SE Kansas girl I'm always thrilled to see a midwest gal make it big. :)

Best of luck with your release and looking forward to many more!

Lee McKenzie said...

Megan, thanks again for sharing your writing journey with us. You are an inspiration!

Megan Kelly said...

Gillian, It's okay to be late. I was born in KC and I've set my July release in a fictional town just north of there! The next two I'm writing are set in the same "town." Don't know that I've made it "big" but I like the idea. Thanks for commenting.