Exactly 20 years ago on this very day, 8/8/88, I began my first day at work at Harlequin, the romance publisher. I was a very fresh-faced 22-year-old from New York City and had never seen a horse close up. Most people think women read romance novels for the romance, but I read them and loved them for the ranches and farms and cowboys. When I first started reading category romances for work, 75% of them were set on farms or ranches, and I was crazy for that setting. I have no idea if cowboys in real life are like the cowboys in Harlequin romances, but I hope they are.
I worked for the Silhouette Books division from 1988 to 1998, then left to be the editor of the New Adventures of Mary-Kate and Ashley ("We'll solve any crime by dinner time!"), then became the editor of Sweet Valley University (Jessica and Elizabeth were in junior high, high school and college simultaneously), and then I wrote my own novel, SEE JANE DATE, which Harlequin bought for their Red Dress Ink imprint in 2001. They bought six more, including my latest, QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE MARRYING, which was published this past June. All these years later, I am still working for Harlequin as a freelance copywriter and editor. If you're reading a Harlequin book right now, turn it over to the back cover–there's a good chance I wrote that.
Anyway, it's hard to believe it's been 20 years since that first day. That was a lucky day of 8s, and now this is another. We'll see what happens. At this very moment, I am writing a back cover for a Harlequin NASCAR romance, then will start chapter 8 of my new novel, THE LOVE BUS, which will start my new life with Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books (THE LOVE BUS–and I'm not sure if we'll keep that title–will be likely published late 09). I like how it feels to have one foot in the familiar comfy world of Harlequin and one in the shiny new. A good way to start 8/8/08.
Happy 8/8/08 to you.