Welcome to the first entry in our Behind the Book series here on Entangled in Romance! So many wonderful things have happened over the last 2 1/2 years here at Entangled. It’s been a whirlwind, and now we’re so happy to be able to share our author’s stories with you. Every week, we’ll be sharing another Behind the Book entry… a cinderella story, of sorts, from the author’s perspective.
We hope you enjoy these entries!
And now, here’s Behind the Book with NY Times bestselling author Katee Robert…
A whole lot can change in a year. Like insane amounts. You look back and wonder how the hell you transitioned from THAT to THIS. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s less so.
This is one of the good ones.
We just came up to the year anniversary of my Brazen book, WRONG BED, RIGHT GUY a few short weeks ago. It was the book that changed everything for me, though I never could have guessed it going in (and I still have to pinch myself sometimes because HOLY ZOMG THAT HAPPENED).
So lets rewind a year—no, six. Let’s go back to the beginning.
Six years ago, I twenty, living in a foreign country where I didn’t speak the language, and mother to two children under two. Sure, I could go onto the military bases to get a little social interaction, but I was well and truly cut off from any support system (as any mil-spouse can tell you… The military isn’t particularly concerned with your mental healthy or emotional wellbeing).
So, to keep myself from losing my mind completely, I started writing. Yeah, I totally understand what prompted Nora Roberts to putting those first words to page (though I am SO not anywhere near Dame Nora’s level of awesome).
I wrote a book. It was terrible. So I wrote another. And another. And another.
Fast forward a few years. I’m back in the States and now a single mother, working full time and trying to make ends meet. I went back over a book I’d rewritten half a dozen times and decided to clean it up because… Once again, I needed something for ME. Desperately.
And then, much like I had eight times before, I started subbing it. The book was QUEEN OF SWORDS, a sci-fi romance. And, unsurprisingly, no one wanted it. It’s a niche market. These things happen.
One of my best friends recommended that I sub it to this new publisher that was already making waves. I did a little research, and decided I really liked what Entangled Publishing was saying, so I sent it to them.
And, ZOMG, they wanted it.
When Heather Howland, who’d end up being my editor of awesome, called me, I almost burst into tears because this was really happening. Someone actually wanted my book, and was as excited about the world and characters I created as I was. She GOT the story, and her ideas for making it better were brilliant.
So we went on to become rich and famous and loved worldwide!!!
QUEEN OF SWORDS did okay. Most of the people who read it enjoyed it. I had a book I could hold in my hands. I also had to face up to reality—I was never going to be able to pay my bills on the money coming in from it.
They were pretty intense bills. Raising kids is no joke, especially when you’re doing it by yourself. I was drowning. Every time I’d pay down a credit card, some emergency would happen and that would be that. I created a tiny nest egg of money, and then it disappeared when I got screwed over leaving the apartment I shared with my sister. I got a $.25 raise and suddenly I made too much money to get state assistance with childcare. Then the laws changed, but I was paying $500 instead of $65. Sure, $500 is a great bargain for two kids, but not when you’re making barely above minimum wage and those kids have to eat, and be clothed, and have a place to live.
The long and short of it was that I was going under and it didn’t seem to matter how hard I tried or worked or how high I climbed the tiny little corporate ladder at my day job, because I got kicked in my teeth every time I turned around. It’s life, and sometimes life sucks.
So, when Heather called me one day and asked me if I wanted to do this writing thing full-time, I nearly climbed through the phone and tackled her through sheer HOPE that this could actually happen. Sure, it’d be months and possibly years before I saw enough of a profit to beat back the debt smothering me, but at least there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
We worked together on a proposal and submitted it to Entangled’s Indulgence line, which was doing spectacularly well with Jennifer Probst’s The Marriage Bargain.
They rejected it.
So Heather and I had another long chat and hashed out a book that was zany and kind of kooky and a whole lot of fun, and created a new proposal. It was during this conversation that she mentioned loving the “wrong bed” trope—aside from the fact that the majority of books that follow this plot line revolve around infidelity. I told her I’d write her one of these books without that factor.
I enrolled in Candace Havens’ Fast Draft course—draft a book in two weeks. Crazy, right? But this book was beating around inside my head, demanding to be told. I could barely type fast enough to get it all out.
I sent it in to her, not really expecting a whole lot. I mean, I hadn’t heard back on the Indulgence proposal, and they hadn’t exactly been impressed with the first one (rightfully so. It was a hot mess).
After that, things happened quickly. Suddenly I was hearing about a new imprint—Brazen. It was sexy and fun and category like Indulgence… And they wanted my book to be part of the launch in July.
I was thinking, “Okay, cool. Let’s do it.” I sure as hell didn’t expect things to happen so quickly after it released. People were snatching it up. I was seeing strangers on twitter talking about it. Those voodoo that are Amazon and B&N ranks were climbing.
But I still didn’t get it. I’m just like, “This is cool. People seem to like it. That’s awesome.”
Then I got the call telling me I hit the USA TODAY’s bestseller’s list. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I thought, “No way could it get better than this.”
And then I got another call. Mother-freaking NYT list!!!!
Now this was somewhere around mid-August. And, while it was amazing to be hearing these lists and stuff, I was still so stressed about money, I was losing my mind. School was coming up, and I had about $4 in my bank account and maxed out credit cards, and no way to pay for school lunches—let alone the clothes my growing kids desperately needed. There was a lot of weeping and praying and “How the hell am I going to make this work?” as well as a nervous breakdown or two.
Then I found out exactly what kind of numbers we were looking at—and what sort of income. After I got off the phone with Liz Pelletier, I called my mom and started bawling. The first words out of my mouth? “I can buy the kids school clothes.”
It wasn’t all magically easy after that. There have been ups and downs and a few sideways rolls. But there have been more blessings than I could possibly count up, and I am so damn thankful that I can actually spend my evenings with my kids instead of holing up with my laptop to write after working all day.
The long and short of it is that I feel well and truly blessed to be in the position I am now. I love my job, and I have time for my family, and it was WRONG BED, RIGHT GUY that shoved that dream into reality.
So thank you! Thank you to everyone who read it! Thank you to the team at Entangled who made this possible! Thank you to Heather Howland for taking my books and helping me make them into the stories they were meant to be!
Just… THANK YOU!
Aww, I’m such a sucker for happy endings–in books and how-I-got-published stories like these! Congratulations, and all the best!
What a wonderful story!
This is beautiful, Katee. Congratulations and well done.
Oh, Katee, what a wonderful story. I got teary eyed when I read about you calling your mom because you could buy the kids school clothes.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I wish you much more success!!
What a great story. Congratulations on your success. I loved WRONG BED, RIGHT GUY. Such a fun read. Best of luck to you!
What an awesome story!!! Glad everything worked out for you and the family.
Great story, Katee, brought tears to my eyes!
*Squee* Katee, this is so inspirational and wonderful. Thanks for sharing!
Wonderful story Katee!!!!
Congratulations on all the success!!!
Love hearing your story. Congrats on your success!