This week we are thrilled to introduce Harlequin DARE‘s newest author, Jamie K. Schmidt. Read on to learn about her journey to “Getting the Call” from Harlequin-
I had been submitting to Harlequin off and on since I was twenty-two, over twenty-five years. I just re-read the first manuscript I submitted in 1992. It was called Sweet Southern Revenge. I would’ve rejected it too. I still have the rejection letter. I laminated it.
I met my editor Patience Bloom when we were part of a Valentine’s Day panel in Connecticut a bunch of years ago. She was there with her book, Romance Is My Day Job (which is an awesome book—you should totally read it). And I was showing off my small press published romantic suspense novel. We bonded over Hershey’s Kisses and our mutual love for Duran Duran.
We met up again a few years later in New York when we were both presenting a workshop at a conference. She was doing one about working with an editor and mine was about writing a romance novel. I was so happy to see her, because she was the only person I knew there. As we ate dinner and talked about Simon LeBon, she asked me, “When are you going to write for Harlequin?” I was with Random House’s Loveswept line at the time, but I’m a prolific writer and I always have a project or two going on. I said, “Funny you should ask, I’ve got a proposal in consideration now.” Patience immediately began texting the editor who had it. Unfortunately, that proposal didn’t pan out. Over the next few years, I kept submitting, but without any luck. It wasn’t looking like I was destined to have a contract with Harlequin.
When Patience took on the DARE line, though, I knew this was my best chance. I had hit the USA TODAY Bestseller list with two high-heat, steamy romances. So I emailed her and said, “Hey, remember me?” and we started working together, finessing blurbs and bouncing ideas back and forth. Eventually, we came up with a concept that Patience ran by Kathleen Scheibling. A few weeks later, I got the email asking for my agent’s, Louise Fury’s, contact information. And my first Harlequin DARE book, Groom Gone Wild, will be out in July 2020. A bachelor’s party in South Beach heats up when the groom goes missing and the brother-in-law and the sexy vacation club’s concierge have to find him.
It all became very real to me at this year’s RWA National Convention when, for the first time, I was invited to the Harlequin party. This party is off the charts. They offer you purple socks with Harlequin’s logo on them so you can take off your pretty shoes and dance the night away. When they honored the writers who wrote twenty, fifty, and one-hundred books, I turned to my friend, Damon Suede, and said, “That’s going to be me one day.” I didn’t stop grinning from the moment I walked into the ballroom and accepted a congratulatory glass of champagne to the time I left, just before last call.