Sunday, March 27, 2016

My New Romance Home

by Joanne Rock

Readers who have been following my books for more than a handful of years know that I like to write all kinds of books. I love all kinds of romance—from sexy and fun to emotional and complex, from historical settings to the Young Adult world. Falling in love is a wonderful and intriguingly complicated business no matter that age, no matter the era, and I’m completely fascinated with it.

That’s why I’ve been very lucky that Harlequin—and my readers!—have been so patient with me over the years as I dream up new ways to tell the Boy Meets Girl story. Before I ever sold a book, I wrote medieval historical romances. Those were the stories that first drove me to a computer, the stories that wouldn’t let me go and demanded I figure out how to be a writer. They are a core part of my inner storyteller, and I will always have another historical inside me even if I’m not actively writing them at this time. One day, there will be more of them.

But the readership for historicals was tricky to reach. Editors are mindful of trends in this smaller segment of the romance readership, buying more medieval books some years, and very few medieval
Available April 19
stories others. While struggling to make a first sale with historicals, I thought I’d take a closer peek at contemporaries to see why so many more people read them. Soon, I found a whole new world of books to enjoy.

Pinpointing Harlequin’s “red cover” books as something I quite liked, I tried to pen something in the style of then-Temptation authors Lori Foster and Stephanie Bond. I had so much fun I couldn’t stop writing them, certain I was closer to the mark. I sold two Temptations and got a request from my editor to try writing something even newer—a Harlequin Blaze.

At the time, Blaze was a miniseries within the Temptation series. But I thought I understood what the editor wanted for the new line. I quickly sold three Blazes and found myself busy writing for two lines. It was a dream come true for me since I was getting to tell lots of stories and could bend my voice in different directions for each series. Too soon, however, Temptation stopped publishing, leaving me with extra time and creativity to spare.

I promptly turned back to those medieval historical manuscripts. Didn’t I love them? With my new writing confidence, I revised them, editing and polishing. Soon, I sold two of them to Harlequin Historicals and happily went back to work for a second series, moving back and forth between Blaze and Historicals.

Harlequin welcomed the occasional other project, too. A Special Edition for a continuity. A few Special Releases and a Signature Select, other Harlequin programs that gave my Muse fun opportunities to tell still more kinds of stories. Things were rocking along just fine until book sales of all kinds started to fall.

I kept writing because I enjoyed it so much, but I had to work harder and write more to maintain the same level of income I’d made in prior years. Harlequin felt the squeeze, trimming some of their series from six books down the four books, streamlining their offerings. They worked to find better distribution for the books, moving some of the series to digital only. Publishers and writers alike wondered how to stay viable while the industry experienced massive growing pains.

I tried different things too. I did something totally new for me and wrote a series of Young Adult books under the J.K. Rock pseudonym with my sister in law, Karen. I tried writing for Harlequin Superromance and dug deep into longer, more complex stories. Maybe I was hoping by the time I finished one of those long books, the industry would be done with its growing pains and we could all return to business as usual.

As always, the writing sustained me, as did the readers. I started writing sexy books again, this time for Harlequin Desire, and I’m balancing this with the Superromances, keeping my Muse happily engaged and busy. My first one, His Secretary’s Surprise FiancĂ© was a March release and my second, Secret Baby Scandal will be available May 1 for download. By the time September rolls around, you can read the fourth book in my Heartache, TN series for Superromance, Whispers Under a Southern Sky. I’m having a great time. One day, I just know a medieval warrior will ride into my life and sweep me off my feet, demanding I tell his story. And I will. But for now, I’m lost in a world of rich and powerful billionaire heroes, and I couldn’t be happier to linger…

**What kind of hero is captivating you lately? Billionaires, cowboys or Vikings? Athlete heroes or sexy sheriffs? Share with me today and I’ll send one random commenter a copy of my first Desire, His Secretary’s Surprise FiancĂ©!


jcp said...

the cowboy or the actor who meets ordinary girl

I'm reading The Maverick's Bride by Catherine Palmer. Just finished Marry Me at Christmas by Susan Mallery.

alysap at yahoo dot com

dstoutholcomb said...

I love cowboys and regency rogues. An oxymoron of bad boys.


Laurie G said...

Firefighters Shannon Stacey's series Controlled Burn, Heat Exchange and Fully Ignited

Suzanne Enoch's wounded warrior A Lady's Guide To Improper Behavior

a movie star in One Night With the Best Man by Andrea Laurence

I also loved Charlene Sands 3/1 Napa Valley Vows featuring 3 brothers- Million Dollar Marriage Merger, The Billionaire's Baby Arrangement and Seduction On The CEO's Terms.

Joanne Rock said...

Hello my friends! I am late stopping by as I have been writing, writing, writing like a fiend and lost complete track of time for a week! I've only got a chapter or two left on a manuscript in progress, so I'm close, but I definitely fell into a time fugue. Tomorrow is one of my son's birthday, so I stuck my head out of the writing cave to shop and cook, then realized I'd fallen behind on my Whole Life ;-).

But jcp I'm so glad to know you read holiday stories even when it's not necessarily the holidays! Sometimes I wonder if anyone will pick up my Christmas reads later in the year and I'm heartened to think... maybe!

Denise, I need more Regency Rogues in my life. I haven't read enough historicals this year in general and I need to remedy that!

And Laurie, I was just thinking I should pick up Charlene Sands latest. She is such a lovely person. I enjoyed chatting with her different times when our paths crossed writing historicals and now-- seeing how beloved she is among Desire readers-- I realize I need to pick up one of her recent stories! I like knowing what everyone is up to.

jcp, you're my prize winner this time! I'm emailing you tonight, but you can always contact me for prizes (or nudge me if I've disappeared in a writing cave and you'd like to know where I've been ) at I always like hearing from readers and it's my pleasure to share books with you all whenever I can.

Until next time! xoxo