The Pink Heart Society is delighted to be welcoming Harlequin Love Inspired author Jill Kemerer with her call story today!
I’m so excited to see the fuzzy pink phone next to my name today! I’ve been reading PHS for years (Hugh Jackman in a towel, anyone?), so sharing my call story is a dream come true.
In February 2013, I noticed Harlequin Love Inspired was holding a pitch contest called Happily Editor After. Writers who signed up could choose their dream editor and pitch their books online. I read the guidelines, noticed Shana Smith (now Shana Asaro) liked the same things I enjoyed, and signed up to pitch to her. But I wasn’t holding my breath, and here’s why.
Way back in 2008, I received form rejections from Harlequin Romance on two of my novels. So I studied the writing craft, switched to writing inspirational romance novels, and submitted to Love Inspired Suspense twice before realizing suspense isn’t really my voice. In October 2010, I landed my wonderful agent, and she submitted that book to Love Inspired. My voice wasn’t quite right for them at the time, but I tried again with a Christmas book only to be rejected. My heart was broken. I decided to take a break from writing category romance.
I spent the next two years writing full length contemporary romance novels for the inspirational market, gaining recognition as a finalist in two well-known contests and doing everything I could to write the best books possible. I continued to face rejection. When I saw the Happily Editor After contest, I was truly, honestly desperate.
After I signed up for the pitch contest, I plotted the book and wrote the first draft. In May 2013, Shana requested a proposal based on the online pitch. My agent submitted the proposal, and we waited. In August, I was asked to revise and resubmit the proposal. Yes! Then in November 2013, Shana requested the full manuscript. I dared not get my hopes up. They’d been dashed too many times before.
On May 20, 2014, I got the call I’d been waiting for since I submitted my first novel way back in 2007. Harlequin Love Inspired bought my book!! It was the tenth book I’d submitted to publishing houses, and the thirteenth book I’d written.
Since then, I’ve sold two more books to Harlequin Love Inspired. I’m living the dream. And I couldn’t be happier! If you’re an aspiring writer trying to get published, take heart and keep writing!
Have you also struggled with writing one genre, only to succeed when you return after trying something different? Join the discussion in the comments!
Jill's first book for Harlequin Love Inspired, Small-Town Bachelor is available now:
When Reed Hamilton arrives in Lake Endwell for a family wedding, he expects to do his part as best man then head back to the big city. But when a tornado postpones the wedding, the town is in shambles and Reed is injured. Thankfully maid of honor Claire Sheffield offers him one of her cottages to recuperate in.
Dedicated to her family and her dream job at the zoo, Claire is all about roots. She's this city slicker's opposite, yet as they help the town rebuild, Reed is captivated by her stunning looks and caring ways. He can't ask Claire to leave the life she loves for him, but he also can't imagine ever leaving her behind…