How to Be Both: Harlequin Kiss Author Lucy King’s Journey to Writing for Harlequin Presents

My Harlequin writing career began in 2009 with the imprint that ultimately became KISS. I wrote ten books for that series and adored the fun-loving heroines and irresistible heroes, the banter that batted back and forth and the bumpy but exhilarating journey to their happy ever afters.

So its closure in 2014 came as a huge blow. I was gutted, and also a little bit stumped. What was I going to do next? Well, my last KISS book was the first in a duet about two property developer brothers and Brother 2’s story was itching to be told, so how about adapting it to fit into another series, I thought, and how about Presents?

I’ve always loved reading the Presents line with its high stakes romance and pulse-racing emotional intensity. The gorgeous alpha heroes and the strong heroines that bring them to their knees are utterly compelling, and I find their often very complex issues fascinating. Add in the glamorous settings and sizzling tension and I’m totally hooked! In fact, when I first started writing, aeons ago, my initial attempts were aimed at Presents, and I’d been told my KISS stories already contained traces of the series, so it seemed like a very happy next step.

Unfortunately, though, the transition wasn’t quite as smooth as I’d hoped. The KISS-esque characters and conflicts of my Brother 2 book didn’t work for a Presents and my attempts to mould the story into something it wasn’t were a disaster. As a result my confidence plummeted and my writing ground to a halt. This all coincided with the decision in 2015 to move from Spain, where we’d been living for ten years, back to the UK, and much of my head space was taken up with finding somewhere to live and a school for my two small children. Writing-wise, all I had room for was a few short stories and a lot of ideas.

But gradually things settled down and I worked on a couple of other projects, while still keeping in touch with the incredibly patient and generous editors at Harlequin. At parties and conferences I would have conversations along the lines of:

HQ eds: ‘How’s the writing going?’

Me: ‘Oh, well, um… I’d really love to be able to send you something soon.’

HQ eds: ‘That would be great. If you want to have a chat about anything at all, do get in touch.’

This went on for a while until it occurred to me that unless I actually did what I said I was going to do the offers of support would dry up. So I knuckled down and started on what would become A Scandal Made in London.

Many months of writing, revising and working with the wonderful Flo Nicoll taught me so much about what makes Presents the fantastic series it is. About the importance of digging deep and exploring every aspect of the characters’ conflicts. About ramping up the tension and excitement to create the emotional hit that as a reader I love.

The book took a long time to finish, but it was definitely worth the effort because getting ‘the call’ a second time round was no less exciting than the first. In fact, it might even have been better because there was also a whole lot of relief in there too!

I’m so thrilled to be writing again for Harlequin, and in particular for Presents, and hope existing and new-to-me readers love my books as much as I do.

Lucy King’s debut book for Harlequin Presents, A Scandal Made in London, is on-sale now!

A Scandal Made in London