Getting the Call: Meet Julie Danvers!

Ever since I was young, I’ve wanted to be a writer. I grew up in a rural area, and books provided the adventures I craved. I dreamed of writing the kinds of books I loved to read: sprawling fantasy novels, suspenseful thrillers, and mysteries with irresistible twists.

Romance didn’t exactly make the list. I liked stories with action and excitement, stories set in places I dreamed of traveling to, someday. How could stories about relationships and their obstacles possibly be interesting?

At this point, any self-respecting romance reader should be rolling their eyes at my naiveté. When I look back, it seems clear that romance and I were made for each other. Excitement, suspense, a window into another time, place, or profession – it’s all there, in the middle of a rollercoaster love story with multiple plot twists. If I could meet my younger self, checking out a stack of books at the library, I’d add as many Harlequins to that stack as I could carry.

I discovered medical romance because I was trying to write a thriller. I was working on building suspense in my writing, which led me to take another look at romance. A romance novel is just as suspenseful as a thriller or mystery, I thought. Maybe even more so, because the happy ending has to seem impossible.

I scoured the internet for advice on writing romance, and that’s how I found Harlequin’s website. Not only did I discover a wealth of romance writing tips, I learned that there was an ongoing Medical Romance Blitz, with almost two weeks left until the deadline.

I dashed off a first chapter and synopsis (and by “dashed off” I mean I agonized over every word). I didn’t think my submission would be accepted, but I hoped that I might get some good feedback from an editor.

A few days later, I received an email from editor Charlotte Ellis, requesting additional chapters. I sent those in, expecting to receive a polite rejection in response. Instead, suggestions for revision came in. I sent in the revisions, and then a request for the full manuscript came. I sent in the manuscript and made more revisions…and more revisions…

The guidance that Charlotte provided was invaluable. Every one of her suggestions was spot on and helped me grow as a writer. Submitting to Medical Romance was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

When Charlotte finally emailed me to set up what would turn out to be The Call, I was a bundle of nerves. Maybe they just want to let me down gently, I thought. They’re probably going to say that they appreciate the work I’ve done, but it’s just not coming together.

So it was amazing to hear Charlotte say that she loved the story and that Harlequin was offering me a two-book contract! I was absolutely over the moon. I did a little dance in my office before calling my partner, and then my mother. I was at work, and my office is right on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. I had a break before my next meeting, so I left and took a walk down the Magnificent Mile. I had this huge smile on my face; I think I was probably the happiest person in the city that day.

And I am thrilled to write for the Harlequin Medical line, because it has everything I’ve always loved in a good story. Excitement, plot twists, smart characters having adventures in unique settings – all with an underlying message that nothing stops love. How could I resist falling in love with medical romance?

 

Look out for Julie Danvers’ debut Harlequin Medical: From Hawaii to Forever, available in June 2020

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Comments

  1. Fred A. Stupp

    Dear Julie, Loved your history. I was born and raised in Chicago and had a very interesting walk down Michigan Avenue near the Tribune Tower. Much different circumstances. My story, “FROM RATS to CADILLACS” is also about romance — but my first love ended in heart break. I was raised in a rat infested Chicago neighborhood and in my late teen years we moved to the poor outskirts of Elmhurst. There I met and fell hopelessly in love with a kind soft spoken rich girl. With me coming from a very poor and violent childhood with a father who beat him and his mother, I was too naive and too infatuated to the impossible difference in our social stratification. But Like Stephen King said, “People think first love is sweet, and never sweeter than when that first bond snaps. You’ve heard a thousand pop and country songs that prove the point; some fool got his heart broke. Yet that first broken heart is always the most painful, the slowest to mend, and leave the most visible scar. What’s so sweet about that?” So —Julie do you ever have an interest in a broken heart love story? I carried that hurt for a long time. Kindest regards, Fred Stupp

  2. Congrats, Julie! Lovely call story. I particularly enjoyed the part where each next request for more surprised you! It does take you by surprise, doesn’t it?

    I’ll be on the look out for your debut title June! Congrats again.