Getting the Call: Meet Seana Kelly!

by Deirdre

Meet Seana Kelly, our newest author with Harlequin Superromance!

seana-kellyMy call story is a little different than some of the others here. My manuscript was a finalist in the Contemporary Romance category in RWA’s 2016 Golden Heart® contest. On the Wednesday before RWA’s national convention, I was told that a Golden Heart® judge had requested my full manuscript. The final judges in the GH are top secret. Even if they request your manuscript, you have no idea who they are or which publishing house they represent.

One week later, I got a call from Canada. I was sitting in the airport waiting for my friend and critique partner C.R.Grissom to join me on a flight to San Diego for the RWA convention. I was sure it was a sales call, but I harbored a niggling hope that it wasn’t.

Harlequin Superromance editor Karen Reid was on the phone. Senior Editor Victoria Curran was the GH judge who had requested my book, and she loved my story about a woman who moves to Bar Harbor for a fresh start and finds love unexpectedly with the local police chief.  Victoria had called Karen into her office intending to read the opening line to her, but couldn’t stop until she’d read the first full page aloud.

HSR Logo-Banner

They wanted to buy it! Karen and Victoria were flying to San Diego for the convention too, and asked if I could meet with them in person to discuss a contract offer.

After hyperventilating and missing most of what Karen was saying–the white noise roaring through my head was fairly deafening–I agreed to meet with them, said my thank yous, and sat numbly in my airport seat, surrounded by strangers.

When my friend arrived a few minutes later, I jumped up, hugged her and told her I had good news. She took one look at my stunned, teary face and dragged me to the nearest lounge. We ordered drinks, she grabbed my hand, and said, “Okay, tell me.”

Much hugging and celebrating ensued!

I texted my good friend and fellow GH finalist Kim MacCarron to tell her Harlequin wanted to buy my book, turned off my phone and boarded the plane. When I landed I had several messages that quickly degenerated from excitement to outright threats when I hadn’t responded with the deets. Another wonderful GH friend Tara Sheets told me later she had to pull her car over to the side of the road when she got the news because she was crying and laughing so much she was a danger to herself and other motorists. Laurie Benson (Harlequin Historical author and fabulous GH friend) began blasting Twitter with celebratory tweets.

And that, right there, is one of the greatest gifts of the romance publishing world–the incredibly supportive posse gathered through entering contests and attending workshops, meetings and conferences. I have two groups of GH finalists (2015 & 2016) who are firmly in my corner. If I need advice or a shoulder to cry on, a dozen people respond immediately with wisdom, sympathy or a much needed joke. Having a support system makes pursuing our dreams less frightening.

So, to everyone who has helped make the unimaginable attainable, THANK YOU!

Watch for Seana’s Harlequin Superromance debut in 2017!

For more about Seana, visit her website: www.seanakelly.com

Or visit her on Facebook and Twitter

And read more inspirational stories about new Harlequin authors on our archive!

Leave a Comment

Comments

  1. Prisclla Oliveras

    What a thrill!! To get the call just as you’re headed to RWA National and can celebrate with so many who “get” how much it means…AWESOME!

    I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to order your debut novel! WOW! Cool words to say (type). 🙂 All your hard work and dedication has paid off!

    Congrats, Seana!!

    XO, Pris

  2. C R Grissom

    Seana, your call ranks as a top bucket list memory for me. Being one of the privileged few who has read Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher, I’m able to tell others about the fabulousity (yes, it’s now a word to describe your book) of your story! An amazing read by an incredible author. Well done, Seana!

    • Seana Kelly

      Best. Critique. Partner. Ever! You’re the first person with whom I share all writing news–good and bad. That morning will be long remember as a very good one! ❤️

  3. Tara Sheets

    Oh, I love your call story, Seana! It still makes me smile when I think about how I had to pull my car over because I was so thrilled for you. 🙂 I feel the same way about our amazing GH group and writing friends. I count myself so incredibly lucky to have you in my corner and I can’t wait to read your book! <3

  4. Elaine Watkins

    I am so thrilled and excited for you Ms. Seana Kelly! I love romance novels and am so looking forward to reading the story of a woman who finds true love in an unexpected but beautiful place as Bar Harbor. Stories like this take me away to places I have never been and the romance gives me a blissful feeling of hope and happiness. Much success to you. Looking forward to more super romance from Seana.

  5. Elizabeth King

    What a great call story and how super exciting to get it on the way to RWA – there couldn’t be a more perfect place to celebrate the call (and the margaritas in San Diego were amazing!). Congratulations Seana. Looking forward to release day!!

  6. Laurie Benson

    I love this story! Not being able to tell people you were going to be a fellow Harlequin author was SO hard. You know I wanted to scream it from the rooftops as soon as you told me. Here is my official welcome to the Harlequin family. First we were Golden Heart sisters and now we are Harlequin sisters. How cool is that? There is no getting rid of me now. Wishing you oodles of success, my dear! I can’t wait to read this book!!

    • Seana Kelly

      Thank you, Laurie! You’ve already helped me to navigate the Harlequin wilds. AFS what now? 🙂 I’m proud to be any kind of sister to you. Have a mentioned how much I love your Secret Lives of the Ton series. <3

  7. Sara Portman

    I’m so excited for you, Seana and can’t even imagine what a whirlwind San Diego must have been for you, getting the news right before you boarded the plane! I’m thrilled to be your GH sister and can’t wait to one-click your debut release!

  8. Asa Maria Maria Bradley

    I’m in the GH14 class, so right between yours–but we share Kim as a classmate and friend. Plus I got to meet you at RWA. 🙂 I love this story because it shows the sisterhood of the GHs and how incredibly supportive the romance writing community as a whole is. Congratulations!

  9. Tracy Brody

    So excited to see another Dragonfly take flight. Love that you got the news before RWA, but, dang, had to be hard not to break into song and tell the whole world. Congrats and can’t wait to read Katie’s story.

  10. Kimberly MacCarron

    Seana! My wonderful friend and uber-talented CP and dragonfly/mermaid sister!! I can’t wait to read this book once more–the published version. 🙂 It was such a pleasure to have read it, and that opening paragraph will make me smile no matter how many times I read it.
    I’ll never forget that text you sent and how you kept me hanging for the details. I don’t think I quite threatened you or anything, but I know I wanted to. Although I do admit to maybe a bit of bad language. Sorry about that. 🙂
    Harlequin is lucky to get you aboard. Congrats again, Captain, my Captain!
    Viva la Dragonfly!

    • Seana Kelly

      Viva la Dragonfly! Thank you for being an amazing friend and CP!! I was bursting with excited and pride when you and then Tara won the Golden Heart this year! It is sooo richly deserved!!
      Code Name: Iridescent Wing

  11. Chris Buono

    Talk about an “all hands on deck” support system, Seana. Awesome! And what a nail-biter that secret GH ms request must have been for you…waiting…to…learn…which…judge/house…asked…for…it. lol.

    Fab, entertaining call story. Congrats!

    • Seana Kelly

      Yes, Chris, that’s a great way to describe it! All hands were on deck to support and celebrate. You’re right. The not knowing thing is a killer. Thankfully I was only kept in suspense for a week. 🙂