I first met Donna Alward on the eHarlequin boards, and I was so pleased when she sold her first novel to Romance. And I’ve been privileged to meet her in person at an M&B lunch – she’s exactly the same in person as she is online, as warm as her books. Again, we have lots in common. Dogs, books, wine, food (and Donna has been a cheerleader on the Kate Unlardy project, giving me encouragement and great tips). And as soon as I switched lines to Romance/Cherish and Liz Fielding had got me added to the author loop, she was one of the first to welcome me and add me to the author website – making me feel immediately at home.
Over to Donna:
I wanted to write a story about a First Responder for a long time. I am a total sucker for a uniform – not just the sharp look of it (though it only takes one look at Richard Gere in Navy Whites to understand the attraction), but the commitment and bravery it takes to be in those professions. Be it soldiers or cops or firemen or paramedics – I’m there. But it took me quite a while to figure out what form those stories would take, and how they’d fit into my writing and publishing schedule.
I published a few books with Samhain Publishing early on in my career, but then Harlequin Romance was keeping me pretty busy and I hadn’t sent Samhain anything for quite a while. I got a note from them, though, saying my previous editor was leaving and my friend Jenna Bayley-Burke suggested I send something to her editor there. I did. She bought it. We did two books together and I enjoyed the process immensely. When I finally realized I wanted to write OFF THE CLOCK, I had the idea to do it as a series of novellas, and my editor thought it was a great idea.
It was really great to have a change of pace. I LOVE writing my cowboys and ranchers for Harlequin, and I plan to keep on doing that for a long time to come. But with the FIRST RESPONDERS, I got to play. I got to indulge my love of a uniform; I got to set the stories in Nova Scotia (where I live). I got to play with a shorter format (around 30,000 words instead of 55,000). I got to write slightly more sexy than I do for the Romance line, while still focusing on the warm, emotional story that I try to deliver to my readers with each book.
The second book in the series, IN THE LINE OF DUTY, released just a few days ago. I really loved writing this one. I know I love a man in uniform, but this time I made the hero an ex-soldier and the heroine an RCMP officer. Who doesn’t love a Mountie, no matter what the gender? Add in the fact that she and Jake already had a run-in in the past – when she had to arrest him for being drunk and disorderly – and I swear the story nearly wrote itself. Jake’s sexy and, in Kendra’s eyes, a bit of a bad boy, but really he’s hiding some dark pain about his time in the Middle East. Kendra’s against everything he stands for – or so she thinks, until she gets to know him better. And of course, falls in love.
The third book is coming in November – INTO THE FIRE. Anyone care to guess what this hero’s job entails? I indulged my love of animals in this one too. And the fourth book, BENEATH THE BADGE, should be on cybershelves in 2013.
I’ve had a chance to talk about my new release today but really – this isn’t my party. It’s Kate’s – to celebrate the publication of her 50th book. FIFTY. I’m not quite even half way to that point and getting to fifty is SUCH a huge achievement! Congratulations, Kate, on such a fantastic milestone. Here’s to many more stories with your special brand of emotion and evocativeness that keeps readers coming back again and again.
To help celebrate, I’m giving away a copy of IN THE LINE OF DUTY! Just leave a comment in the comments section! ☺
You can find out more about Donna at her website www.donnaalward.com or on her blog at www.donnaalward.blogspot.com
Or talk to her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Donna-Alward-Romance-Author/114558931895535?ref=hl
Or follow her on Twitter@DonnaAlward