Thursday, June 07, 2007

Writers Wednesday with Jennie Adams

This week we here at the Pink Heart Society bring you a lovely Aussie newbie who has already appeared on the Waldenbooks bestseller list! Here's Jennie Adams!


Australian author Jennie Adams began her Harlequin career with the publication of her first two Harlequin romance stories in 2005. Jennie’s strong heroes and feisty, determined heroines have warmed the hearts of readers all over the world, with her books being translated into numerous foreign language editions. Although she fights the impulse, Jennie still tries to decipher each foreign edition when it arrives in the mail. Italian, anyone?


In a way, my Harlequin ‘call’ story started one day in 2003 on a morning walk with my husband. I’d been submitting manuscripts to publishers for several years by then but Harlequin Romance (then called ‘Tender’) was my dream goal. I told my husband I intended to keep submitting until the company either bought me, or I died of old age with my hands on the keyboard, preparing my latest submission.

I plotted a story with a heroine under the thumb of a blackmailer, and pulled out all the stops to make it as good as I could. In Nov 03 I sent the partial and synopsis of ‘Marriage: Business Style’ to HM&B. Three months later, the full manuscript was requested and I sent it in.

On the 18th June 04 I sat at my computer after a day at work and discovered an email from editor Kimberley Young, requesting revisions to my story. My brain fell over. Totally and completely. I sat there staring at the email, reading it but not comprehending, not really believing I’d got this wonderful contact, a chance to try to improve the story – I remember thinking before I opened the email, ‘Oh, they’re saving money now and rejecting their overseas submissions by email’.

While I was in that state of utter shock, the phone rang. It was Kimberley Young. She wanted to check that I’d received her email, and to discuss the revisions, see if I felt I could do them, and when I might be able to hand them back in. Wow. Was I dreaming? The family were very excited for me. This was ‘the next step’. We all hoped it would end in a sale. I worked my tail off over a three day weekend, and emailed the revisions on Monday night. Then I got on with my work and pretended everything was okay and went very blue in the face secretly holding my breath while I waited to hear something. I guarded the phone like a hungry piranha. Other people in the house had lives to conduct, calls to make? Not then, they didn’t!

Wednesday evening, to take my mind off myself, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies. The last tray was in the oven when the phone rang. It was Kim Young. The line was dreadful. I couldn’t hear her! I think we tried three times before finally being able to hear properly. After some chat, Kim told me she was happy with the revisions, they wanted to buy the book which would go on to be titled ‘The Boss’s Convenient Bride’. Cue second brain collapse here! I relapsed into this super calm state that was actually a cover for utter shock. I said thankyou a lot. I wish I could relate the rest of the conversation. I made notes and they’re probably still around somewhere, but truly? It’s a complete blur. It took days for what had happened to sink in, and I know I’m not exaggerating the way I reacted during that phone call. I have the proof – when Kim Young called to tell me my second book, ‘Parents of Convenience’ had been accepted for publication and I, well, I think I sort of shrieked a bit, she said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, NOW she gets excited’ .

'The Boss’s Convenient Bride’ was #10 on the Waldenbooks Bestseller list its first week out in America. My most recent four books have been bought by my current editor, Joanne Carr. And I still get excited with every single book sale, but nowadays, I try not to let my brain fall over.

Jennie’s fourth Harlequin Romance, ‘Memo: Marry Me?’ was a May 07 release. Buy it online at, or as part of the ‘Winter Warmer Collection’ in stores and at in Australia in June.

To read excerpts, check out Jennie’s website at . While you’re there, visit the ‘Breaking News’ page and enter her latest contest draw!


  1. Hi, Jennie,
    I remember reading and enjoying your debut book! I love a call story and so does Jennie. She very kindly made me a lovely mug that says 'author' to celebrate my debut book.

  2. Jennie,

    What a terrific call story. I am wondering, though, what happened to those chocolate chip cookies? Did anyone save them or did they burn in the oven?

    I'm also wondering about your titles. They really catch the imagination. Are any of them yours?


  3. Hi, Jen. I'd like to know about the cookies as well. In fact, I'd LIKE a cookie, fullstop, and I know there are none in my cupboards (or likely to be made) so if you happen to have some spares, please cyber-toss my way.



  4. Hey Jennie, great story - I can just see you with your hair gone grey, wizened hands at the keyboard, stray cobwebs ....

    it was a great first book too, I really enjoyed it. I'm saving Memo:Marry Me? for the weekend, hot chocolate and biscuits. With a bit of luck it might rain!

  5. Hi Jennie,

    What a great call story.

    I need some winter warming today - it's freezing here - so I'm off to find the Collection. A chocolate chip cookie would go nicely with it...


  6. Hi everyone, and thanks for dropping by!

    Fiona, a first book sale is such a special moment. I'm glad you enjoyed the 'author' cup. My own sale to Harlequin kind of ties in with what Helen said -- a part of me expected to be that grey-haired lady with the cobwebs in the hair still hammering out proposals. Selling was a bit of a shock, but I love celebrating with fellow sale-ees.

    Annie and Bron, I pulled the last tray of cookies out of the oven on auto-pilot. It's probably the only coherent thing I did at the time. Annie, I kept the title I'd suggested for my third book 'Her Millionaire Boss', but I've been pleased with all the titles to date. Next one up is 'The Italian Single Dad' and after that, 'To Love and to Cherish'. Can I be biased and say that last title is my favourite to date?

    Now for a confession - Bronwyn will get this one as she knows I'm a Vistaprint addictee, and I suspect there many be some other stationery addicts among us. After months of resisting the call to go to the Office Works that opened up in my town, I gave in first thing this morning, and came home with the following haul:

    Cork board and packet of clear pins (for colour coded story plotting), package of coloured paper clips in all sizes, just because they were pretty, six different colours of printer paper (for the cork board), and best of all, a foot rest for under my office desk. The latter is going to be great. I have one at the other job, and it really makes a difference to how comfortable you are when you're typing.

    Helen, hope you enjoy your read on the weekend. Hot chocolate and biscuits sounds good!


  7. Hi Claire! We cross-posted. It's cold here, too. I bought up on books on the weekend. There's something about June and the approach of the end of the tax year that convinces me I should spend lots of writing-related money. And it's so much fun.


  8. Great call story! and I'm a vistaprint stationary addict too.

  9. Hi Jennie great story! Can absolutely see you there, dying for the phone to ring and trying to keep busy, isn't it the most amazing feeling when it does come!!!
    x Abby Green

  10. Great call story, Jennie, and wonderful heartwarming books that deserve to be on the bestseller lists. Keep up the good work! And the cookie baking. [Getting in line behind Bron for a cyber-batch]


  11. Lovely to hear your story Jennie-- and I really like the bit about taking notes on the call! Did you think you might come off the phone and forget that she'd said YOU SOLD YOUR BOOK!!!

    Congratulations on all your very well-deserved success!

    India x

  12. Hi Nell! Yes, Vistaprint is tempting, particularly when you only have to pay postage on a lot of the items. Yes Abby, even though I waited just a couple of days after emailing those revisions, it felt like much longer. On the flip side, if there’s a deadline looming to complete a book, time goes very fast!

    Waves to Valerie. I still make the same cookie recipe. I consider them good luck, so eating them is almost compulsory. At least, that’s my justification and they have oats and honey in them as well as chocolate chips, so they have to be healthy, right? And thank you for your kind words about my books. They means a lot to me.

    India, you have it. A part of me needed proof the call was real. The other part was scared I’d forget whatever I’d been told and have to ask for a repeat of the info. I have improved with time, but I still make notes during editor calls. I don’t want to forget anything important!

    Now all I need is a handyperson to help me put the little eyelet things into my cork board so I can hang it with all my coloured bits of paper. Dh can turn a computer inside out, but I think we loaned our drill to a brother in law oh, about a decade ago. So far, we haven’t missed it. Hmm. Maybe I’ll just prop the cork board up on the filing cabinet. This will be a new way of tackling the story progress for me, and I’m looking forward to giving it a go. Fiona Harper is responsible – she had a great cork board picture up on her blog a while back.

    Happy to try new ideas.

  13. Hi, Jennie.

    Wonderful call story. Love your determination to stick with it until you met your goal, or died of old age at the computer. Great visual.

  14. Great call story--I'm now tempted to go to Staples and buy a corkboard and coloured paper--I usually just have scribbled bits around my desk and lose the crucial ones...

  15. Totally relating to the 'published or die' brainwave. Glad you made it to the 'published' part first.

    *raises hand* Also could be a VistaPrint addict. Veeery tempting.

    And I love Call stories. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Great story, Jen. I loved Parents of Convenience and Memo: Marry Me. They were both great!

    And, chocolate chip cookies are a weakness of mine, so I don't let myself make them much anymore.

  17. Great story, Jennie! Tenacity means so much in this business, doesn't it? Before I started writing, I always considered myself a flighty, "spontaneous" (i.e. uncommitted) sort of person. Deciding to become a published writer really tested my mettle, that's for sure. Right before I got the call (from Kim Young too! Isn't she lovely?), it occurred to me that I'd been trying for seven solid years to break in, and that if instead of writing manuscripts I'd gone to medical school, I'd now have a "Dr." in front of my name. But since I faint at the sight of blood, it's probably best I stuck with the writing.

    I think it's the decision we made to keep going no matter what, to submit to Harlequin until our cold dead hands are pried off the keyboard, that finally forces the universe to give us our dreams.

    (And as I'm still trying to diet off the last of my standard 60 postbaby pounds, I must chime in with Bronwyn and the rest about the chocolate chip cookies. I can't stop thinking about those poor orphaned cookies that were in the oven when you got The Call, that--tragically--almost certainly went uneaten and forgotten. How I wish I could have given them a good home!)

  18. Visitors while I was sleeping. Thanks!

    Waves to Laura! Now if I could just apply that same determination to eating less chocolate…….

    Hi KateH. The cork board didn’t cost much. I figured it was worth a try, and I am looking forward to having my different coloured bits of paper up there and maybe putting a big tick through each one as I write it into the story.

    Gives Shara and Denise a floofy hug each. I don’t get the cookies as often now, either. My daughter used to cook them a lot for us and she’s only home in uni breaks now. I find it hard to make time for that sort of cooking (probably just as well, see above comment about chocolate consumption), but now and again I do some baking.

    Jennie L, I like your doctor analogy. Someone asked me the other day what credentials I’d acquired to qualify me to write novels, but a lot of it is about heart, isn’t it. A love of books, of story telling, of happy ever after.

    Thank you all for dropping by. I really appreciate it.


  19. It's still Wednesday in my time zone, though the Thursday column is already up. Sorry I'm so late.

    Lovely story! I haven't gotten that call yet, but I did final in a contest that was very very important to me, and I remember opening the email about 50 times over the next 2 days to make sure it was real. I can imagine taking notes during "the call."!!!!

  20. Hi Grace!

    I loved sending out contest entries. It gave me goals to work toward and feedback on my writing. I hope you have more contest successes on the way to your own 'the call'.



  21. Well, Jennie, I'm late - again. I'm just glad the last 3 weekends are over and the bathroom renovations only need some painting to be finished. Just had to say how much I enjoy your books, but above all your commitment to persevering with your writing. The years have slipped by so fast since we first made contact through RWA's Isolated Writer's scheme and became good friends as a result.

    Your phone call that day telling me about your call certainly didn't lack any in excitement that time! I wish you many more such calls - although nothing will ever be quite like that very first one.


  22. Hi Mary!

    Thank you for your kind words. I'm looking forward to meeting up with you in person again at Aus conference in August. Can't wait!