The Story of MARRY ME
Remember how I said the book I sold (MARRY ME) is a clear picture of God’s Plan? Here’s what I mean. (If you missed that previous post, here’s the link to it…)
First, I have a confession…I never thought I’d write an Inspirational romance. I had (a perhaps unfair) impression of Christian romance as overly sappy or preachy, with awkward conversations about women’s Bible studies. The covers always featured some Amish girl or a girl who looked like she’d just climbed out of a wagon bound for Little House on the Prairie. Now there is nothing wrong with books like that, and judging by how many I see in bookstores, they must have a substantial audience of readers. But that wasn’t the kind of book I wrote or read. My books had snark and humor and sassy heroines.
Then came this idea for a book. At first all I knew about the story was that my heroine would be a woman who never wanted to get married – and who in fact hated weddings – who wound up having to run a wedding planning business. Don’t ask me where the idea came from. It wasn’t some hang up from my past. I don’t have an unnatural loathing of weddings and while I am single, I don’t hate the institution of marriage. I simply thought the idea was funny.
Armed with this funny idea, I then spent a long time trying to figure out “…the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say. I had to ask myself a lot of questions…
Who is this woman?
Why is she so cynical about marriage and why does she hate weddings?
Why is she running this wedding planning business?
What would compel her to do it?
And the big question…who could be the love interest?
I went through many possibilities. It would have to be someone she’d run into a lot while she was planning these weddings. Then one day I stumbled upon the answer…a minister!
Then an amazing thing happened. The story practically came together in an instant like Athena jumping out of Zeus’ head dressed in full on armor. Suddenly, I knew exactly who my heroine was, I knew her past, why she would take on the business, I knew his past, too. Along with the plot came an entire fictional Southern town called Covington Falls. (that name is actually my grandmother’s maiden name my mom’s side.)
And with the idea to have the hero be a minister, came another bolt of lighting. I could have a faith element in the story. I could take a heroine who was cynical about everything (love, God, religion) and have her not only go a romantic journey, but a spiritual one as well. I could write a Christian romance that was funny and sweet and snarky, but still had an ultimate message about God’s love. I could write an inspirational story I would want to read and that hopefully others would, too…even if they weren’t religious.
I wrote MARRY ME (formally called Here Comes The Wedding Planner). Rewrote it a couple of times, taking it from a first person point-of-view book to third person (that’s a whole other story, too). It finaled in the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest in 2010. My agent sent it out to publishers…and it didn’t sell.
MARRY ME sat in my computer until this year when I decided to dust it off and try again. You, see in the last couple years the entire publishing industry had undergone a seismic shift. The rise of ebook publishers, Amazon & self-publishing changed everything. Then in April I pitched the book to two editors on a website called Savvy Authors. I got two requests for full manuscripts…and two offers!!! Yes, that’s right…TWO!!! Within a week! I accepted the offer from Astraea Press.
You see how His Plan worked? Just needed the right time, place, editor for everything to come together. I have a special place in my heart for this book because it helped me figure out the kind of writer I wanted to be. And I am so completely smitten by my hero and heroine, Julia and Seth (especially Seth because frankly I believe he wrote the book so I blame it all on him). And I’m so glad everyone will be able to FINALLY read their story.