Tell Us Your Back Story with Jacqueline Hayley
I picked up my first Mills & Boon when I was 14; it was passed around my dorm room at boarding school and we were all a little scandalized by the risqué sex scenes which, in hindsight, weren’t very explicit at all! But having read that first book, I found it very difficult to go back to Sweet Valley High.
As far as writing romance, I only decided to give that a go earlier this year. Having studied journalism at university and worked on several newspapers and magazines, I started my own magazine for regional women back in 2006 and I didn’t give that up until my first daughter was born in 2012.
Funnily enough, the business behind running a magazine meant I had very little time to write myself, and instead relied on an amazing team of freelance writers. I commissioned one of those writers, Jennifer Rae, to write an article on romance writers in the bush, interviewing Bronwyn Parry and Kelly Hunter. Jen then went on to have Confessions of a Bad Bridesmaid and Sex, Lies and Her Impossible Boss published with Harlequin.
It wasn’t until my little family made the move from Central West NSW to Brisbane earlier this year that I really sat down and thought long and hard about what I wanted to do with my life (cue chocolate consumption and binge-watching The Walking Dead).
I was talking with my husband one evening and we asked what each of us would do with our lives if we only had a limited time left to live – slightly morbid, I know, but that’s when I admitted I’d always wanted to try and write a romance novel. My husband being the ah-may-zing man he is, said to go for it.
So I did. My first book, Anything But Love, was smashed out in a couple of months and I excitedly submitted it to every publisher I’d ever heard of. After a couple of rejections I enlisted the services of Word Witchery to do a manuscript assessment – best money I’ve ever spent. Amy Andrews is, of course, a truly brilliant writer, but she’s also bloody excellent at working with manuscripts.
Her insight and experience were invaluable. She (rightly) called bullshit on many, many aspects of the novel and because of that, the book is 10 times better than it could have been.
Because I’m impatient and thrive on instant gratification, I didn’t re-submit to the publishers and instead opted to self-publish. I read a lot (a lot) of different blog posts on the pros and cons of self-publishing, and decided that with my graphic design and marketing background I should give it a shot.
Having said that, I’m half way through writing my second book – Not Just Skin Deep – and I’ll pitch it to traditional publishers before self-publishing.
My girls (four, and almost two) are in daycare two days a week and that’s when I squeeze in as much writing as I can, in between freelance writing and graphic design for various businesses.
I’m aiming to have Not Just Skin Deep finished early in the New Year. It’s set in Bondi and features a delicious bad boy who owns a tattoo studio. Tattoos have always fascinated me (not that my husband will oblige me with some of his own…), and I’m thinking I might get a little one myself! Surely it would count as a tax deduction? * wink wink *
Anything But Love
When Sophie’s ex-fiancé pulls a disappearing act and Sydney’s underworld come knocking, she has no choice but to escape to the outback farm of her ex’s brother. Thrown headlong into farming life, Sophie struggles to find her feet… and deny the sizzling attraction to a man she shouldn’t want. Her life is in turmoil, especially when an unplanned pregnancy is thrown into the mix…
Robert is looking for love, but city girl Sophie is not what he wants. Or needs. They’re from two different worlds and with his brother placing the family farm in financial jeopardy he can’t trust her. Besides, as his brother’s ex, she’s off-limits. He certainly doesn’t expect to be captivated by his brother’s girl and, after a night with her, he’s not sure he’ll be able to let her go.
They promise each other their sexy affair can be anything but love. But amidst the aching beauty of the Australian outback it becomes hard to resist the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime love…