Several years ago, I decided I needed to write the characters that kept popping into my head. I wrote a 75k paranormal that went nowhere. It is pretty much a showcase for all the mistakes new writers make. It even starts with a dream sequence and immediately moves to the main character describing herself in the mirror. Yikes…
After I wrote myself into a plot corner (or several), I needed a break. So, I wrote a random scene to get my creative juices flowing. I kept adding to that scene every time I hit another wall in my paranormal mess. A few months later, I realized I had written half of a historical romance and loved every minute of it.
I was a romance author! I wrote a historical that went through a few revision rounds before it was rejected. I took the encouraging feedback I got to heart and started taking all the craft courses I could find.
Then Harlequin announced the Medical Blitz. Two of the medical authors are in my local writing group and suggested we all try it. I plotted and brainstormed with my sister – a devote follower of the medicals and then wrote and rewrote my submission before holding my breath and hitting the submit button.
When the request for a full manuscript came in, I was over the moon. After doing a round of rewrites, Julia Williams asked for a few more revisions. I turned those around quickly, and one of the authors I knew told me not to worry if it took a while to get a response back because that might mean it was with acquisitions.
Exactly a week later, an email popped in a little after six in the morning. It was a Monday; I was already at the office. I thought this was the “nice try, but your still not quite there rejection.” I figured Mondays stink anyway, may as well read the email, and move on. Instead, it was Julia asking to talk on the phone. I knew what that meant from reading other call stories.
I gasped – really loudly, and all of the guys in my office came running. They thought something bit me – not outside the realm of the possible because my office has been invaded by wasps and spiders. But those are stories for another day.
I’d only told a few of my female colleagues that I was writing romance. Which meant all the gentlemen in my office found out I sold my book before my wonderful, supportive husband, and my family. And discovered that I was a romance writer at the same time!
I wish I could tell you about my actual call with Julia, but the truth is that after she told me Harlequin was offering me a two book deal it all became a blur. I do recall that when I got back from talking with Julia, the guys were all discussing which one of them would be the best cover model for my book. It was lovely and heartwarming – and I am pretty sure I was the cause of no work getting done that day.
I am thrilled to be a Harlequin Medical author. And I doubt very seriously there will ever be another Monday quite so good!
Now, hear from Juliette’s editor, Julia Williams…
One of the joys of working at M&B is discovering new writers, especially through our regular blitzes. So I was thrilled last year to discover Juliette Hyland through last year’s Medical Blitz. From the very first chapter she sent in I was hooked by her voice and her interesting take on a medical. The story involves a celebrity medical doc taking time out in a small practice in Alaska run by an ex-child actress turned doctor. It felt like a breath of fresh air to read a story not only set in such an unusual setting but with both the hero and heroine having interesting conflicts that mirrored one another and caused tension between them. It’s been a delight working with Juliette to craft this story into publishing form, and I am so happy to be working on her next book which promises to be just as good!
Look out for Juliette’s Hyland’s debut title for Harlequin Medical Romance: Unlocking the Ex-Army Doc’s Heart, available May 2020!