I Sold My Book: Meet Bella Bucannon!

Our newest Harlequin Romance author, Bella Bucannon shares her excitement about getting “the call”!

Harriet web4Saturday, November 14th 2015. I reread the email. After eight months of encouragement and support while asking for seemingly endless revisions and rewrites by email, surely Flo Nicoll wouldn’t want my phone number just to request more.

I knew that, with her guidance, my novel had become more polished, the emotion strengthened and my characters given more depth. Was it now good enough to be published?

That wasn’t something I considered eight years ago when I first starting putting the stories in my head into my computer. I’d lived with those stories from childhood and never shared them with anyone. My writing was for me alone.

Joining South Australian Romance Authors and Romance Writers of Australia, I found friendship and support from those who understood the way characters can monopolize your mind. They encouraged me to pitch at the RWA annual conference—part of the learning curve, and still a daunting experience.

Feedback from submissions and contests entries taught me a lot, and having an entry in the 2013 RWA yearly short story anthology was thrilling. Being included in 2015 under my author name was equally memorable.

HR Logo-Banner

I’d pitched to Flo at the Sydney conference in August 2014, and in November I held my breath, closed my eyes, and sent her my partial and synopsis.

A positive reply in early March put me on a high for days. She liked my voice and the story and asked if I’d consider some changes to make it a better fit for Harlequin Romance. Drastically cutting characters and scenes I’d given so much thought and emotion to wasn’t easy, but I could see that the revisions increased the romantic tension and honed the focus on my hero and heroine. And I now have a special file of unused scenes, any one of which may one day be revised for a future story.

“We’d like to offer you a contract.”

“We’d like to offer you a contract.”

I was speechless at first and still can’t remember my reply or the rest of the conversation. My words were going to be printed. I‘d be able to hold a book in my hand that was all me!

My very supportive husband was standing by when I hung up and was as excited as I was. We both wanted to tell the world. But part of me felt the moment was so special I wanted to hug it to myself for a few days.

Signing a contract changes so much. No longer can I say “I’ll write tomorrow” or close down my computer and do something else when I’m stuck for a word or phrase. I’m an author. I have a deadline. Possibly the scariest and most inspiring word to any writer! And sometimes I still  can’t believe it applies to me.

I’m so happy and proud to be part of the Harlequin family.

Welcome to Harlequin, Bella!

Look for Bella’s Harlequin Romance debut novel, Bound by the Unborn Baby in July 2016!

And visit Bella at bellabucannon.com.