Need a little romance in your life?
Turns out, sometimes we find it in the most interesting of places.
Well – paint me surprised with I learned she was a fiction writer too. And, she focuses on my favorite genre – ROMANCE! (Yes, I have read every single Jackie Collins novel ever – thankyouverymuch!)
So, this #MediaMonday, I simply had to ask her to share her story.
Arlene – time to share! Tell us about your passion for writing fiction AND your recent honor as a result!
What do you want to tell the blogosphere about yourself today?
Let’s see: I’m a card-carrying member of Romance Writers of America, and this spring I was part of an exclusive group: The 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalists. It’s the highest honor an unpublished romance author can receive, and I was one of eight finalists in my category, contemporary series. Ultimately, I didn’t win — but I’ll still always be able to say I’m a 2011 Golden Heart finalist.
I’d love to say it was an overnight success — but that’d be a tale worthy of another fiction-writing award. I’ve wanted to be a writer since second grade. Even then I wrote romances of a sort. Okay, they usually involved little girls falling in love with stray puppies and convincing their mothers to let the puppies stay — but that’s a love story in its own right, right?
In high school, I had a sudden attack of practicality. I said to myself, “Self, writing won’t pay the bills until you sell a novel. And selling a novel isn’t easy.” (Even then, I knew.) My teenage self came up with the perfect solution: “Major in journalism so you can make money writing while you work to sell your book.”
Off I went to college, pleased as a puppy with a piece of rawhide with my plan. I’ve worked in newspapers since 1994, first as a reporter and then as a page designer. I completed my first manuscript, “Operation Snag Mike Brad” in 1995 or ’96, although that original draft wouldn’t recognize the story it’s become. I started attending Northern Arizona RWA meetings in 2001, after winning a radio contest where the prize was dinner with a romance writer. That writer, Rita Rainville, was a member of NARWA, and I started going to the group’s meetings right away. The things I’ve learned at those meetings are the reason my first story wouldn’t recognize itself.
My Golden Heart finaling MS, “Beauty and the Ballplayer,” is the sixth I’ve completed. The blurb: With her so-called boyfriend long gone, Meg Malone doesn't count finding herself knocked up at thirty-two as much of a victory. Minor-league catcher Matt Thatcher is no stranger to winning on the baseball diamond, but his love life is so disastrous that he hides his identity from Meg to make sure she's not another groupie. When their secrets are revealed, will these two overcome their prejudices and insecurities to win at the ultimate game of love – or will they strike out one more time?
I’m not sure it’s my favorite manuscript, but it is garnering me a lot of attention, and for that I’m grateful. After learning I finaled, I started work on a related story. Tentatively titled “Diva in the Dugout,” it focuses on a teammate of Matt’s who discovers — five years later — there were consequences to a one-night stand with a barely legal Texas babe. I’m less than 5K away from finishing the first draft.
You can find out more about Arlene and her manuscripts – as well as learn about what she is reading herself these days – by clicking here.