Day 28 HelenKay Dimon – Romancing My Own HEA

Life-Changing Romance

I was not one of those people who always wanted to write. I sit on author panels and hear fellow romance authors talk about writing their first booksLongWayHome-1 by the age of five. That’s amazing but it’s not me. I’ve always loved to read.  The sensation of falling into a book, of being so hooked that I can’t put it down or do the “just two more pages” thing before bed is one I’ve enjoyed all my life. My mother has always been an avid reader (and collector of books, something which I may have inherited). Reading, going to bookstores, talking about books were ways for us to connect even through those tough teens years when connecting could be…shall we say, difficult.

Books sustained me through so many difficult times. I was not the popular girl in high school. I didn’t love participating in sports. I was the drama club girl and for me books truly were an escape from some of the harsh realities of what was happening around me.  And that love continued and grew as I got older. I went to college and brought my love for reading with me. I went to law school and when it came time to study for the Bar Exam the only thing I made time for between Bar Review classes and working was reading. I set aside an hour each day. Now, of course, once I started reading I would try to give myself “just ten more minutes” and often did before picking up the study flashcards. But each morning I looked forward to that time I knew I would have with a book right after dinner. At this point I’ll thank Jonathan Kellerman for helping me survive those days because I read his backlist during that summer.

Then I need to thank Julie Garwood, Jayne Ann Krentz and Linda Lael Miller.  See, with all that reading I had never read a romance. Yeah, I know. I didn’t put down the genre, I just never bothered to pick up a romance novel…and shame on me.  By the time I came to romance at around thirty I was working full time as a lawyer. I specialized in contested custody cases. Think about that for a second. So much nastiness. Then one day a fellow attorney who was leaving the practice handed me three romances – The Bride by Julie Garwood, Daniel’s Bride by Linda Lael Miller and Perfect Partners by Jayne Ann Krentz – and a fan was born. I raced through those books and then through the authors’ backlists (and with those three that was a lot of books). Then I branched out and read more – Linda Howard, Nora Roberts, Carla Neggers…the list goes on and on.

Through all that enjoyment, I remained a reader.  Writing a book was never something I aspired to, not consciously and not at first. Maybe I Mercyassumed I couldn’t do it and never let it be a dream. That’s possible. I think we often limit ourselves by believing the things we want are just too big or too impossible (or not a solid way to make a living) and don’t let our minds go there. But then one day Lori Foster held a contest on her website – write three pages and she would pick her favorites and pass those onto her editor, Kate Duffy. I tried writing and I got hooked. The genre that gave me so much reading enjoyment turned into a hobby and then an unbelievable dream, and finally a career.

I can honestly say reading romance changed my life. I was a partner in a law firm and had set career goals. Then everything changed. Picking up those first three books set me on a path and now I do what I love for a living. How many people can say that? I write about love, which for me is really about hope and acceptance – two things that mean everything.

So, thank you to all who came before me. To the authors I mentioned here, to the writer friends I’ve made, to the authors I read and devour the day the books come out, and to the readers. You make everything possible. Thank you.

Recommendations:

There are so many authors I love but two of my favorites have releases right about now.  You should snag a copy of It’s In His Kiss by Jill Shalvis. I got an early read of this one and it’s terrific. I also had the chance to read Lauren Dane’s The Best Kind Of Trouble early and adore this new series.  So, if you want contemporaries, go check these two out!


Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

Probably taking those first few steps and realizing that I wanted to write for a living. I had so many years of schooling behind me (and the student loans to show for them). I had made partner in my law firm. Things were going great in my career and I stepped away from all of that to do what I loved – writing. Not huge money for me…not much at all at first. But I’ve never been happier. I think it’s a testament to trying the thing that scares you because maybe, just maybe, it will work out and be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

My journey is pretty much highlighted in my essay. I mean, really, how many people can say they decided to become a romance author by being a divorce lawyer?  I’m betting I’m one of the few.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

So many books have meant so much to me. There’s a list that stretches from childhood where books provided an outlet and taught me about survival (without ever telling me that’s what they were doing) and books I read later in life that helped to shape what I believe and who I am. But I’ll go back and highlight the very first romance I ever read – The Bride by Julie Garwood. It’s funny and smart. The heroine is brave and the hero is tough but has that melty inner core, a softness and love for the heroine that brings out his decency. I remember reading it and thinking, “wait, this is what romance novels are like?” and realizing I’d been missing out. The Bride was my entrance into reading romance and starting a new life I never expected. And now I need to go re-read it for the 100th time…

HelenKay is generously giving away a winner’s choice of one of her Harlequin Intrigues in the Corcoran Team series, or if the winners like something a bit naughtier, MERCY, her erotic romance from Berkley Heat. One book for a U.S. reader (entry below) and one for an international reader (enter here).


helenkay-1HelenKay Dimon is a former divorce attorney turned full-time romance author. Odd transition, right? She has sold over thirty novels, novellas and shorts to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin and Penguin, Samhain and Carina Press. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. But the best part of the job is never having to wear pantyhose. You can learn more at her website,  www.helenkaydimon.com.

 

 

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