Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Riva/Presents Extra author Heidi Rice talks about the trials and tribulations of writing at home with two teenage boys (with bottomless stomachs) in the house!

Any kind of working from home requires discipline, not just from you but from your kids (and if you have one, your partner too)..

Unfortunately in our house, neither me nor the kids have much of that. If we did I'd probably be writing five books a year instead of two, and my sons would know how to cook a lot more than just pasta with Dolmio sauce! All of which probably explains why I didn't actually start attempting to write for publication until my boys were both well and truly ensconsed in school. Prior to that I worked at home as a film journalist, watching and reviewing movies  three days a week between the hours of 9 and 4 (while my younger son was at nursery)... And I would write my great British romance whenever I had some spare time — which might explain why it took me approximately four years to finish my first manuscript.

By the time I did finish it, my oldest son was already in Secondary School and the younger one was six, well able to cope on his own while I locked myself in my study and wrote (only venturing out if the constant bickering involved bloodshed!). The film review work was drying up so I needed to re-invent myself and get a new career and that moth-eaten ms needed to finally be sent off to 'someone'. One gut-wrenching rejection from Sihouette Special Edition and another (not quite as labouriously written) manuscript later and I had a two-book contract with Modern Heat (which has since morphed into Riva). Needless to say, when that happened the "OMG! This is Awesome" Moment was quickly followed by the  "Oh Crap! I now have to produce another book in SIX MONTHS without killing the kids" Moment!

Now I'd like to say at this point that I finally got a whole lot more sensible and focussed and productive and the kids learned to do their own laundry and make three-course meals.... No such luck. I did write that ms in six months, but it involved lots of shouting, panicking, slamming of doors, the boys eventually learning how to nuke a bottle of Dolmio sauce without totalling the kitchen, my husband knowing when he married me that domestic chores get split 50-50 in our house (and he has to do most of the cooking!) - and the very convenient fact that my sons have never gone to a school that has a uniform (ironing? forget it! Not gonna happen.)

Six years down the line and the domestic chaos is still all part of my writing process - the house is frequently a complete tip, doors still get slammed quite a lot and Dolmio is often on the menu. The good news? I've written 13 published books, my husband and I still laugh a lot, the boys haven't killed each other (or died of pasta poisoning!) and the oldest one now knows how to iron his own shirts).

All of which just goes to prove, that if I can make a career as a write-at-home mum, anyone can do it!! Discipline? Ha!

Heidi's latest Harlequin Presents Extra One Night So Pregnant is due out later this month in the US, and her first Kiss novel Too Close for Comfort is scheduled for a June release. She also excited to announce her first Entangled project. Tis the Season to Go Shopping, which is part of the brilliant Baby Its Cold Outside anthology of Seasonal novellas she has done with fab fellow authors Amy Andrews, Kate Hardy and Aimee Carson. Find out more on her blog & her website.


  1. Phew! I'm exhausted just reading this! Go Heidi I say! ;o) Caroline x

  2. Cheers Caroline... Sheesh, now so am I!