Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Symmetry in Writing: How to Keep the Flow Moving

Author Donna Alward
by Donna Alward

In 2006 Harlequin Romance bought HIRED BY THE COWBOY.  I’d been trying for nearly 5 years to sell to Harlequin; after a lot of rejections and nearly-theres, I finally put a twist on a popular trope and nailed what they were looking for.

HIRED BY THE COWBOY is a marriage of convenience story, and Connor and Alex decide to get married because of her baby. The “twist”, as such, is that the baby isn’t his. But he’s willing to step up and help. Of course, the initial intention isn’t to be married forever, and fatherhood isn’t really considered a permanent situation.

Until it is.

Hired by the Cowboy
I loved writing that story. I loved how they slowly fell in love, and how the planning of the wedding brought them closer together—and further apart.

That book has proved one of my most popular to date.

I’ve recently switched gears into writing longer, single-title books, and so my last for Harlequin is out in January 2016 – ten years after I sold my first. THE COWBOY’S CONVENIENT BRIDE is…you guessed it. A marriage of convenience story. And the hero is willing to marry the heroine because of her baby. Whoa!

Granted, the baby in the story is already born and cute as a bug’s ear. But she’s not his (in fact, he’s a paramedic and helped deliver her), and he’s not really looking at fatherhood as a long-term thing.

Until he is. You know what happens next.

The Cowboy's Convenient Bride
I love the symmetry between the two stories—my first and my last for Harlequin. It gives me a neat sense of closure, like I’ve come full circle. I honestly never thought I’d stop writing those shorter romances, and who knows? Maybe one day I’ll go back. I’m focusing on longer works now, but I know that I’m going to miss going home to my small-town ranchers and cowboys.  I’ve done 29 of them, and writing one feels like putting on comfortable shoes and walking around for a while. And while I love the full-circle aspect, I have to tell you that getting to 29 and not a nice, round 30 is a little grating. It feels unfinished somehow.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned for sure about publishing, it’s that nothing is ever written in stone. So who knows?

Here’s the blurb for THE COWBOY’S CONVENIENT BRIDE:

FOR HER DAUGHTER

Laura Jessup is used to the rumors—everyone in tiny Gibson, Montana, thinks she’s a home-wrecker. And Laura can handle that if it means protecting her daughter from her sweet girl’s father. Only hunky EMT Tanner Hudson seems immune to the gossipmongers. The solution he proposes—a marriage in name only!—might just be crazy enough to work…if only Laura can keep her heart out of it.

Tanner wasn’t sure Laura would accept a platonic marriage, even though it would stop the rumor mills and get his own family off his back. But as the wedding draws closer, Tanner worries that his plan is working a little too well. He’s falling for Laura, hard. They thought they were ready for marriage, but are Tanner and Laura prepared for real love?

Donna Alward loves to hear from fans. You can reach her via her Website, follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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