Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Please Welcome Our Guest, Grace Burrowes

I'd like to introduce everyone to my wonderful, funny friend, Grace Burrowes. Grace and I met a little over a year ago at the New Jersey Conference. I was walking down the hall not really knowing where to go, when I heard my name called. I looked around and my friend Terri Brisbin grabbed my arm and dragged me into a conference room. She introduced me to Grace who had just received an offer for nine--count them, nine books.

Needless to say I was thrilled for her. After a few months, we started keeping in touch and eventually became not only good friends but critique partners. Her Debut Novel, The Heir just came out this month and has garnered critical acclaim with starred reviews in both Publisher's Weekly and Booklist and was named one of Publisher's Weekly's Best 100 Books of 2010. Please welcome my talented friend, Grace Burrowes.

It is a pleasure and an honor to blog with you today, also a way to procrastinate buffing the WIP that’s due to my editor in just a few weeks. When Robin issued the invitation to join you, I opened up Killer Fiction, and tried to figure out what’s doing here.

I saw romance, and humor, and mysteries (and the new girl, who has an Issue about her Birthday. Jesus and my mother were both born in December—in that order—does that help?).

I figured the best way I can fit in here is to recount the mystery of How I Got Published. There are no dead bodies involved, and no villains yet (all ye commenters, take heed: This story does not need a villain, but one can be appointed).

Once upon a time there was me, Grace Burrowes, a perfectly harmless practitioner of family law (I am not the villain either. Y’all just hush.) But the practice of law is Not Fun some days, so I coped by reading romance novels at the rate of about one per day. I began this habit when Junior High was Not Fun, and it has served me well through both motherhood and marriage.

Alas for me, the day came when Beloved Offspring fluttered off into the big world, which was at least partly a relief (we live in a very small house, know what I mean?), but it left me more time to read romance novels. I was reading a bestseller one night when I was supposedly working late, and lo, that pernicious, oft-thought thought popped into my head again: I could write one of these.

Right behind that that thought, a fellow strolled into my imagination, one Gareth Alexander, Marquis of Heathgate. He was very handsome, very naughty, and suffering just enough vestigial honor that when a friend’s will put him up to teaching a decent spinster how to run a brothel in ninety days, he attempted to make good on the obligation.

Oh, I had such fun. I had 206,000 words of fun. And then Gareth’s handsome younger brother wanted a book, and their cousin, and their cousin’s former fiancĂ©, and gads…

But, lo and behold, I woke up one morning and realized on that fateful day, I was turning fifty—you with me, Birthday Girl? I started going to writer’s conferences because I wanted to see if my stuff was Any Good.

A year later, I realized I was never going to do all that Goal/Chocolate/Whatever business and decided to start pitching. I rehearsed and practiced out loud, I thought of it as a closing argument (dumb idea No. 563), I paced around my hotel room pitching the air, and I went down to the bar and had two White Russians. While I was contemplating a hat trick, I noticed the woman standing beside me was one of the editors who’d participated in the kick-off panel—two White Russians had made me very astute indeed.

“Am I supposed to pitch you?”

Such patience was in her smile, such forbearance. She pulled a pitch out of me, and let me send her some manuscripts. The pitch letter began, “I am the buffoon in the bar at the RWA retreat who could not keep her heroines straight, could not look you in the eye, and could not stop blushing—and if that doesn’t narrow down the possibilities, your job is even harder than I thought.”

Now you see why the fact that I’ve been published is such a mystery, right?

My debut novel, “The Heir,” hit the shelves this month, and I am still pinching myself, squeeing in the kitchen, hi-fiving my horses’ noses, and generally being ridiculous with the fun of it all. This is a dream come true, the biggest birthday present life could give me right now, and the most fun I’ve had since I was a kid. Nobody tells you that when you’re rehearsing those pitches—being published is big, big fun. You get to play “let’s pretend” for twenty consecutive chapters, you get to dance with handsome swains, and hear all the confidences of lovely, headstrong women. You can give them all birthdays in December (I’m on to you, girl), and you get to blog with all kinds of interesting, charming people.

It’s Christmas, it’s the best birthday, and it’s time to go buff that WIP.

Grace Burrowes writes Regency romances for Sourcebooks Casablanca. Her debut novel, “The Heir,” was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Best 100 Books of 2010, and is the first novel in The Duke’s Obsession Trilogy. She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website: graceburrowew.com, or via email at graceburrowes@yahoo.com.


Robin Kaye said...


It's definitely not a mystery to me why you've been published. You simply write amazing books. Thanks for visiting us today. It's an honor to have you here.

Christie Craig said...

Hi Grace,

Thanks so much for guest blogging at Killer Fiction. I love your story, girl. It's magic.

Congrats. And here's to you being a huge success and I don't mean your pant size.


Grace Burrowes said...

Christie--You raise the question: Is there a positive correlation between pant size and publishing success? I suspect there is, given the admonition that we're to put our backsides nigh permanently into the chair, and the requirement to ingest much chocolate in pursuit of our art. It follows that if your backside gravitates naturally toward places to sit, you might have an advantage...
Oh, I do like a scientific mind.

TerriOsburn said...

If you write books as well as you wrote this blog, I'm in. LOL! I admit, I've been out of the loop and somehow failed to hear about this one. But I'm happy to know about it now and it is on the list.

Congrats on the debut and all the accolades! Perhaps I'll try the White Russian method in New York. ;)

catslady said...

Oh, you had me laughing out loud, especially by the time I read about your pitch letter!!! I'm guessing I'm going to like your books too!! Congratulations on being published and doing something to make your dreams come true!! (almost a December baby - Nov. 29th lol).

Grace Burrowes said...

You are a very lovely group of authors and I'd really enjoy blogging here again, but WHERE IS BIRTHDAY GIRL? (And don't expect us to believe that tripe about being on deadline.)

Kathy Bacus said...

Really enjoyed your 'I sold but I'm not quite sure how' story, Grace. I suffered a number of star-struck, drooling idiot moments at various conferences before (okay and after) I was published so I can definitely relate.

I also soon will have an empty nest to adjust to and it is, in parts, terrifying and exciting. Good thing I have a healthy roster of characters to keep me company!

Thanks again for guest blogging here at Killer Fiction. Best wishes for great success!