Kate has not only sold her work to Ellora's Cave, but she's also been with Kensington Aphrodisia, Cleis Press and Virgin's Black Lace/Cheek lines. (Oh, and like Tuesday's guest, Lorelei James, Kate can write some pretty hot nekkid cowboys too!)
So since Kate started me on this path, I'm thrilled that she gets the last word.
When Leah asked me to write something for her birthday blog bash I was, quite frankly, terrified. What the hell could I say that hadn’t already been said before by all these wonderful contributors? So I thought about it some more, and decided I’d tell you how I ended up being an erotic romance writer quite by accident.
In the beginning, I made up stuff, lots of stuff, so much stuff that my school reports were full of the sort of comments that make parents worry about their child’s future. And I didn’t care. I knew I could pass the exams, I just didn’t bother to show during the school year that I actually had the ability. But I passed them anyway and somehow, to everyone’s surprise, (except mine) I ended up at university doing an honor’s degree course in history.
Along the way to adulthood I’d considered several careers: ballet dancer, singer in a band, actor, Donny Osmond’s girlfriend, nurse…and of course made up wonderful imaginary lives for myself doing those things. The irritating thing was that everyone around me told me to stop day dreaming and get with the program. They brought up disagreeable subjects like, ‘work’ ‘money’ leaving home’, and ‘taxes’ and I hated it.
College was fun and I came out with an excellent degree-in a field no one wanted, so I ended up working for the government in the local IRS office. First off, I can’t add up and secondly, I can’t add up-my math is truly appalling and yet, there I was, giving out tax advice to the unsuspecting public and feeling like I’d taken the wrong path and was rapidly disappearing down a long dark tunnel. And of course, the amusing thing is that after I worked for the IRS I could get lots of other jobs-as long as they were in finance.
I tried to write but I wanted to be Jane Austen and I wasn’t good enough and all those years of everyone telling me not to daydream and to get on with reality started to beat me down. Until I moved to the USA and discovered the huge romance section in my local bookstore (about 2 hours after we arrived) And I had the perfect excuse not to go back to work-I had no work visa! I was finally free to try something new! But what? Part of me yearned to return to academia and fulfill that particular dream of becoming a professor, but the rebel in me said “Hey! Write a book! You’re always making stuff up, it’ll be easy!”
It wasn’t easy but, God, writing that first book was the most thrilling and exciting thing I’d ever done. I loved every word I created, I loved my characters and somehow the straightforward historical novel I thought I was writing morphed into a romance novel of truly epic proportions (140,000 words of epic) And you know what else happened? Suddenly all the vague floating parts of my peculiar reality made sense. Writing was the missing link. No longer could anyone tell me off for day dreaming, I was a writer.
I still love that book-“Mosaic” a thrilling piece of unpublished fiction about Dark Ages Britain and the fall of the Roman Empire. (note to others-apparently that isn’t a very popular time period with editors, who’d thunk it?) And of course, once I’d written one book, I had to write another one, didn’t I? This time, with a bit more knowledge about the market thanks to RWA, it was a Regency. Doesn’t everyone have a Regency and a medieval tucked away somewhere in their writing closet? I know do.
And the other thing that happened, was that my books kept getting sexier and everyone kept telling me they loved that. So eventually after 2 agents and 5 full rejected manuscripts and a sense that I needed to do something, I sat down and wrote a short erotic historical called Eden’s Pleasure. I was so shocked at my own naughtiness that I promptly hid the manuscript under my bed. I only took it out when coaxed by a mentor back in 2004. it was published by Ellora’s Cave in 2005 and there I was, an erotic romance author, quite unexpectedly.
At first I was slightly embarrassed by myself, but that has worn off. I’m proud of that label now and proud to have just published my tenth erotic romance between three different publishers. I’ll be writing historical paranormal romance for NAL next year as well (Tudor Vampires anyone?) but I’ll always write my erotic novels as well
So tell me-how did you get started writing or reading romance? I’d love to think that I’m not the only day dreamer out there
One commenter will win a copy of my latest book, Simply Shameless from Kensington Aphrodisia.