Today the Pink Heart Society is thrilled to welcome debut Harlequin Romance author Sophie Pembroke, who will share her journey to publication!
Slow, Slow, Quick
You know how they say that every overnight success has years of hard work behind it? My call story is most definitely like that. In some ways, everything happened incredibly quickly. In others… not so much.
I’d already been writing for years when I submitted my first chapter of (what was then called) Snowbound and Seduced to Mills & Boon for their Cherish Fast Track scheme in April 2012. I heard back within the allotted one month timeframe, and they asked for the first three chapters. A few months later, they wanted the whole manuscript. And then, after another few months (and the original requesting editor going on maternity leave!) I got an email from an editor asking if we could chat about Ben and Luce’s story…
We both happened to be in Bedford that November for the Festival of Romance, so we settled down with pots of tea in a local cafe and talked our way through the changes she was proposing. Luckily for me, she really got the story, and I knew her suggestions would make the book much, much stronger.
Unfortunately, I was already committed to another project, and knew I wouldn’t be able to make the changes until after Christmas. We agreed that I’d get the revised manuscript to her for the end of January, and I went off home very, very excited. For the first time, it seemed possible that my dream of writing for Mills & Boon might actually come true.
January 2013 brought with it the season of flu bugs, and I got knocked flat on my back for the first two weeks of the year. The nurse at the health centre said I was the hottest person she’d seen all winter – and sadly she didn’t mean it as a compliment. Still, once I’d recovered, I got stuck back into my revisions and, by Thursday January 24th, I was about halfway done.
This is where it gets quick. Very, very quick.
On that Thursday, while at playgroup with my daughter, I got a call from Richmond.
M&B: How are the revisions going?
Me: Really well! Should have them over to you by the middle of next week.
M&B: Um… any chance you could get them to us tomorrow?
Of course, I said yes.
The only slight complication was that Friday 25th January was my daughter’s fourth birthday. So, that evening, I made my husband wrap presents while I worked on revisions. I fell into bed at midnight, got up at six when the daughter bounced on my bed singing happy birthday to herself, made pink pancakes for breakfast, packed her off to nursery school and got back to the revisions. Over the course of that day, I revised in between trips to the supermarket for party supplies, taking the daughter out for a birthday lunch after nursery, preparing for my parents to arrive and helping to open a never ending round of presents.
But I turned the book in before close of business that day.
The next day, I threw a birthday party for ten children under four and their parents, took my family out for a special dinner, and then collapsed into bed for twelve hours straight.
And on the Monday, my editor called to tell me they wanted to offer me a two book contract. I squealed, said yes, and told my daughter.
She gave me a huge hug and said: “I’m proud of you all the way to the moon, Mummy.”
And right then, I didn’t care one bit how long it had taken me to get there, only that I had.
Eight months later, that book is finally out in the world as Stranded with the Tycoon, and I’m still just as giddy about it as the day I got that phone call. My second book, Heiress on the Run, will be out in February, and I’m hard at work on my third. My daughter has just started full time school and she loves telling everyone there that her mum writes books for a living.
Of course, I kind of love telling people that, too.
Sophie Pembroke has been dreaming, reading and writing romance ever since she read her first Mills and Boon as part of her English Literature degree at Lancaster University, so getting to write romances for a living really is a dream come true!
Sophie lives in a little Hertfordshire market town with her scientist husband and her incredibly imaginative four-year-old daughter. She writes stories about friends, family and falling in love, usually while drinking too much tea and eating homemade cakes. Or, when things are looking very bad for her heroes and heroines, white wine and dark chocolate.
She keeps a blog at www.SophiePembroke.com which should be about romance and writing, but is usually about cake and castles instead.
About the book:
Stranded with the Tycoon
The man who sees her beauty...
Ben Hampton is the last man in England that workaholic historian Luce would ever choose to be stranded with. Tall, dark and infuriatingly arrogant, he's also a reminder of her not-so-glorious romantic history - something she's spent the past few years burying herself in work to forget.
Hotel tycoon Ben knows there's fire behind Luce's buttoned-up exterior, and fanning its flames is an irresistible temptation. Luckily, getting snowbound in the countryside gives him the perfect opportunity to tempt out the real Lucinda Myles!