Today, we have romance author Jennifer Hayward on the blog! Welcome, Jennifer, and thank you for joining us!
AN: How did become a published author?
JH: Well, ages ago I wrote three chapters and submitted to Harlequin/Mills & Boon in London. A senior editor at the time said she liked my writing, but not to resubmit that particular story. Over the years I went to conferences and did online/offline courses that helped me immeasurably. I also read a lot of craft books. I had a few rejections on partial manuscripts from Harlequin during that time. The rejections hurt but I had some amazing mentors along the way and it kept me going, that and my love of writing. I finally had success when I submitted to a Harlequin pitch competition and finalled in that competition and was asked to submit three chapters. That manuscript was sitting on my editor’s desk when I entered and won Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write in 2012 for my first contract.
AN: What was that like when you got “the call”?
JH: The call was amazing because it was when I won So You Think You Can Write. The whole journey of the contest was a roller coaster ride and I was so excited and happy to win amongst all that amazing competition. The book I won with, The Divorce Party, is so close to my heart. The timeline for me getting published is hard to quantify as I started writing years ago but sporadically off and on. When I went freelance almost four years ago and really focused on the writing, I sold The Divorce Party about a year-and-a-half after that. It was the third full manuscript I’d finished.
AN: Tell us what a day for you is like, in terms of writing.
JH: I have always been very disciplined about writing. Even before I was published I would sit down and write for a whole afternoon or morning whenever I had my other work finished. Now I sit down with a cup of coffee in the morning and write until five or six or if I’m on deadline, maybe again at night. I generally write seven days a week when I’m writing a book as my head is so deep into it and I don’t like to lose the flow. I take breaks in between books. My husband built me a fab little desk in our sunny living room – I write there. I used to write in coffee shops but I got so caught up in what was happening around me I wasn’t so productive. Not sure it’s a quirk but I really LOVE coffee when I write. Oh and when I won So You Think You Can Write I had a lucky orchid on my desk so I always keep flowers on my desk!
AN: Was the publishing process what you expected it to be?
JH: I think it was really. There’s always things you learn as you go, but I think I had good mentors that gave me the inside scoop beforehand.
AN: Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for my readers hoping to publish a book? If you could go back and talk to yourself when you were just starting out, before you had any success, what would you say?
JH: My number one piece of advice is to allow your voice to shine. I didn’t sell when I wrote the books I thought my publisher wanted. I sold when I wrote with my full personality and love of the book engaged – I just put all of me down on the page – wrote the book of my heart. I didn’t get self conscious, I just lived those characters as if they were next door. Yes some lines have required elements but you have to be an individual within that line, bring something new to the table to sell. I would also say go to as many conferences, courses you can- learn as much as you can, take what works for you and let the rest go. There are so many great resources out there.
AN: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest/upcoming release?
JH: My new release is called The Italian’s Deal For I Do. It’s the kick off book for Harlequin Presents Society Weddings series. I truly don’t think I’ve ever had such a fun time writing a book and getting to work with other great authors in the series. There is such a soulfulness to this book for me, I just love Rocco and Olivia so much. I think the back cover blurb says it best:
The Irresistible Italian: Married for Business
He’s conquered global markets and immeasurable hearts, but to regain control of the fashion empire that’s rightfully his, Rocco Mondelli must prove his playboy days are over. His secret weapon? Supermodel-in-hiding Olivia Fitzgerald…and the power to ruin her if she refuses to play his loving fiancée!
But returning to the world stage revives Olivia’s old demons, and instead of walking down the aisle toward her gorgeous groom—she flees! The world holds its breath: Can the indomitable Rocco get his wayward bride to the altar on time?
The world’s sexiest billionaires finally say “I do”!
If you’d like a taste of the Society Weddings series I’ve written a prequel story that’s free on Harlequin’s website called Society Wedding Secrets. It’s a fun, debaucherous romp I hope you’ll enjoy!
You can find Jennifer Hayward’s latest book here:
You can find out more about Jennifer Hayward here: