Posted On June 9, 2017 by Print This Post

I Did It My Way – by Andie Brock

Happy Friday, RU Crew! Today, author Andie Brock shares her solo journey to publication and why she believes Harlequin Presents is a good fit for her stories.  

Welcome to RU, Andie!

I did it my way!

To become a published author is a dream for many people. It was certainly a big one for me – and the reality didn’t disappoint. Seeing the first copies of my debut book was every bit as thrilling as I’d imagined. I remember having a quick flick through, just to make sure it was real – that they hadn’t switched my story with one by someone who actually knew what they were doing – someone who was a real author.

Part of my astonishment was due to the fact that this was the first full manuscript I had ever written (okay, it needed massive rewrites once my editor got her claws into it, but let’s not take the gloss off now!). But more than that, once I had ‘entered’ the world of romance writers I realised I was unusual in that I was a complete outsider.

By that I mean that I had never sought any literary advice from anyone, never engaged with any other would-be writers. I didn’t belong to any sort of writing group or association. I have never attended a literary workshop, or done an online tutorial or a writing challenge. I’ve never been on a writers retreat or done NaNoWriMo. I have never even read a book on how to write romance!

Don’t get me wrong, I believe all of the above are really valuable tools and have been the key to success for many authors. It just wasn’t the route I took. I am wholly self-taught.

How did I do it? By conducting my own extensive research, that’s how. I’ve always known that I wanted to write for the Harlequin Presents line, so that helped. I find the constraints of writing series books works really well for me; the strict word count limit, the focus almost solely on the hero and heroine, the fact that it’s all about the emotional conflict so once you’ve got the framework in place you don’t have to think up clever plot twists or gasp-with-shock endings (although it’s still nice if you can). Other advantages of Harlequin are that they are always actively looking for new authors (that was a big plus for me, as someone who has about as much self-confidence as a gazelle at a watering hole full of crocs), you don’t need a literary agent (ditto, the thought of having to find one of those would have scared the pants off me) and their books sell. Much as I enjoy the writing process, remunerative reward is important too.

So, my sole preparation before putting fingers to keyboard was to read loads of Harlequin Presents novels. Not just read them but pick them apart, dissect them, analyse them. I dug around to see how the author set up the conflict, introduced that first kiss, the first sex scene. I studied how the back story was fed in, when the POV was changed, the style of the dialogue, the build up to the denouement. By reading lots of different authors, mostly current ones, I quickly learned what Harlequin was looking for, and more to the point, what their readers expect.

There’s a common misconception that Harlequin books are written to some sort of formula. That we are told what to write and where. Complete nonsense, of course, but there is no doubt that when our wonderfully loyal readers shell out their hard earned cash they know what they want. The stories must focus on the hero and heroine, there has to be drama and passion, but above all, it’s about the emotional conflict and the way that carries them towards their happy-ever-after.

All the books share these core elements. And as writers, it’s our job to deliver. In my opinion, the best way to learn how to do this is to study the work of the masters that have gone before. It’s all there in their carefully crafted stories, their skilfully created characters. All you need to do is read and learn!

That done, you are ready to sit down and write one yourself. And once you have started, make sure you carry on. Keep ploughing your way through the stodgy bits and the muddled bits, the bits where you’ve lost the will to live, until you finally get to The End. Now go back and revise. Then revise some more. Be critical of your work, really critical. Beat yourself up about everything that is niggling you and then drive yourself crazy putting it right. I never said it was all fun!

At this point I know lots of people use critique partners, or beta readers. It probably won’t surprise you to know that I’ve never had one of those either! Some writers find sharing their work with an informed second party, or even a third party, invaluable. But not me. I prefer to trust my own judgement, or to put it another way, thrash around and try and sort out the mess myself. I’m not saying that’s right – it’s just me.

So there we have it, my advice, for what it’s worth. Feel free to take absolutely no notice and do it your own way! That’s what I did and it worked for me. J

What organisation or resources have you found to be the most useful on your road to publication?

***

THE GREEK’S PLEASURABLE REVENGE  [Harlequin Presents – June 2017]

The last person Calista expects – or wants – to see at her father’s graveside is arrogant billionaire Lukas Kalanos. Five years earlier, after an affair that took her innocence, Lukas betrayed her family and disappeared, leaving Calista with much more than a broken heart…

Seeking vengeance on the Gianopoulous family for framing him, Lukas finds Calista ripe for his seduction. She will pay for past wrongdoings – between his sheets! But discovering that Calista has had is child is a surprise that changes Lukas’s pleasurable plans for revenge… into a hunger to make her his own!

***

Bio: Andie Brock has been inventing imaginary friends since the age of four. In those days they tended to be of the sparkly fairy variety whereas now she loves to conjure up gorgeously sexy heroes and spirited heroines and wait for the sparks to fly!

Married with three children, Andie lives in Bristol in the south west of England. The family share the house with Pete and Ned, two boisterous young ginger cats.

When not writing, or plotting her next romance, or stopping the cats from tearing the sofa to shreds, Andie likes to wander around the local flea markets in search of a bargain or walk along the beautiful beaches of south Devon where she grew up.

Connect with Andie via Twitter and Facebook or visit her website.

Similar Posts:

Share Button

Category Romance

Discussion

8 Responses to “I Did It My Way – by Andie Brock”

  1. HI Andie – your journey is so very interesting, thanks for sharing.

    I often advocate for new writers to join a professional organisation like Romance Writers of Australia. find a crit partner and/or writing group.

    You are very unique to have been self taught and to have your first mss published.

    That’s brilliant and well done 🙂

    PS – looooooove the cover of your latest!

    Posted by Joanne Dannon | June 9, 2017, 5:20 pm
    • Hi Joanne. Thank you for your comments and kind words! I agree that there are lots of different ways to achieve the same end. I think a good splash of luck helps too! And yes… that cover is gorgeous, isn’t it?!

      Posted by Andie Brock | June 12, 2017, 9:03 am
  2. Go you! Your story is a good one and encouraging to so many who want to write also but who don’t have a clue how to get an agent or approach a publisher and who don’t want to go the route of self-publishing either. Congratulations on your book contract. I hope it’s the start of a long career for you if that’s what you want. I’m betting you’re itching to write another one.

    Posted by Anne Hagan | June 9, 2017, 7:06 pm
  3. Hello Andie,

    Writing is really a solitary venture even if one joins writers’ groups or works with critique partners. While there’s plenty of information (and misinformation) on writing and publishing available on the internet, I think it’s important for writers to follow their gut instincts. It’s served you well!

    Congratulations and thanks for joining us today.

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | June 9, 2017, 9:01 pm
  4. Congratulations, Andie! That’s quite an accomplishment and I think it’s pretty rare for anyone to scale those heights on their own.

    Harlequin and Mills & Boon first got me hooked on romance, and Harlequin Presents, Blaze and SuperRomance were the lines I liked best. I subscribed to them all for many years. If there’s a formula, it’s one I like.

    Best of luck for a long and successful career!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | June 9, 2017, 9:49 pm
  5. Aww, thank you Becke. So glad you are such a fan of Harlequin M&B and many thanks for your good wishes.

    Posted by Andie Brock | June 12, 2017, 9:15 am

Post a comment

Upcoming Posts

Subscribe

2013-2016

100-BEST-WEBSITES-2015

2014-2015

Follow Us