Amelia Autin’s Return to Harlequin Romantic Suspense!

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Amelia Autin

Amelia Autin

How do you get back into the habit of writing after being away? Amelia Autin wrote two very well-received books (RT nominated for best IMs each year!) in 1996 and 1997. GIDEON’S BRIDE and REILLY’S RETURN were emotional, dramatic and very compelling tales. But then she just stopped writing until this spring. Here’s her story…. 

It was as easy as turning on a faucet that had been turned off for sixteen years.

It sounds crazy, but that’s what it seemed like when I sat myself down at the computer in February 2013 and started writing romances again. After sixteen years away from writing fiction I thought it would be harder creating plot lines and crafting believable characters, but somehow it all came back to me when I began writing a new romance. Then another. And another. Six in eight months. All publishable quality? Maybe not, but still…six complete manuscripts in eight months. All while holding down a demanding full time job.

It helped that for the past six years I’ve done a lot of technical writing in my job with a major defense contractor, so it wasn’t as if I hadn’t written a word in sixteen years. And it also helped that I created a class on technical writing a few years ago, a class I’ve taught to engineers and others who had a burning need to write technical documents but didn’t have a clue where or how to start (writing is not a mandatory class in the math and sciences curriculums, although it should be).

In my technical writing class I stressed there really is no difference between non-fiction and fiction in one elemental way – they both tell a story. My non-fiction writing rule of thumb: not one word more nor one word less than is absolutely necessary to tell the story clearly and concisely. In other words, if it’s necessary to the story, leave it in. If not, delete it, no matter how beautifully written. And that’s exactly what I brought to my fiction writing when I started up again.

People have asked me why I stopped writing romantic fiction sixteen years ago. The answer is simple – fear. Fear of failure.

My first romance was a labor of love, and when I got “the call” that I had sold that manuscript I cried from sheer joy. I believe my second romance was substantially better than the first (I was starting to understand the craft of romantic fiction writing), but it was a product of fear. Fear of being a “one book wonder.” My pride was at stake – I had to sell a second romance, I just had to, or I’d never be able to hold my head up again with my writer friends. When I got “the call” from my editor that I had sold the second manuscript all I felt was an overwhelming sense of relief that I wasn’t a failure. No joy.

Fear is not a good incentive to write, especially not something as creative and personal as romantic fiction. Fear kept me from writing romance for sixteen years, until the faucet was turned on again when I realized I still had stories to tell, and the stories just gushed out. Stories that had been floating around in my brain all those years away from writing fiction. Stories I just had to get down on paper…for me. Even if I never sold another manuscript, those stories needed to be written. And that’s why I started writing romantic fiction again.

Yes, it’s great I’ve finally sold another manuscript to Harlequin after all these years, a “sequel” to my second book. I expect to continue selling manuscripts to them in the future because I want to share what I’ve written with the world, just as when I first started writing. More importantly, though, I discovered the joy of writing again…for me. Just for me. And joy is the greatest feeling in the world.

Thank you, Amelia for sitting down and writing again! We’re delighted you’ve returned to Harlequin and are going to continue to share your joy in storytelling with some really emotional, dramatic and tender stories. 

Readers–look out for CODY WALKER’S WOMAN (the sequel to REILLY’S RETURN) some time next year! And don’t forget to check out her first books in the meantime…

Leave a Comment


  1. What an inspirational story Amelia. It takes a lot of courage to acknowledge to other people what held you back.

    What line will CODY WALKER’S WOMAN be published under? That way I can keep an eye out for it.

  2. Erica Hearns

    What a hot cover for Reilly’s Return! Loved this article. Ms. Austin’s struggles with the fear of failure is very relatable, and I’m glad to see she was able to conquer it so successfully. I’ll be keeping an eye out for her new release.

  3. Amelia Autin

    Thanks, Erica. I just hope my story inspires someone else to never say never again, no matter how difficult it might seem at the time. Speaking of which, in a very important way I owe Cody Walker’s Woman to my editor, Mary-Theresa, who told me years ago that Cody was such a good character he deserved his own book. And when I re-read Reilly’s Return all these years later, I realized she was right. They say you should “write what you know,” so when I finally overcame my fear of failure, who better to write about? Cody’s story just seemed to flow across the pages, as real to me as friends I’ve known for years. And finding just the right woman for Cody was such fun I realized “I can do this again. And again. And again.” That’s when I realized anew why I love writing romance — I just adore happy endings!

  4. Betty Hensley

    I have looked and looked for additional books written by Amelia Autin. I just reread Gideon’s Bride and I sure wish you would do a sequel to that one. I’d like to see where Gideon and family are and Caleb needs to have his own story. Maybe he could find work and love at home again.

  5. Betty Hensley

    I am so happy to hear you are writing again. Reading is so important in my life and I so look forward to reading great stories by great writers. How can I find out when your new books will be hitting the market.

  6. Mary-Theresa Hussey (Exec Editor, Harlequin)

    She is fabulous and working on more projects! I’m editing CODY right now and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. She’s got some good ideas for Caleb as well… Stay tuned!

  7. Amelia Autin

    Thank you SO much for your kind words of encouragement, Betty. I wrote this blog post last year, so I haven’t checked it very often lately. My husband (my biggest cheerleader) pointed out your postings this morning, and I just had to respond. You have no idea how much your words mean to me. How can an author NOT continue writing when there are readers like you out there waiting for more?