Over the years that followed, I read hundreds of Harlequin novels. The lines changed, the heroines became stronger, and the heroes were less sardonic, but there was always a happily ever after. When I decided to turn my lifelong dream of being a writer into a reality, I knew I wanted to write one. First I had to figure out which of the many Harlequin lines was best suited for my voice and style, so I tried my hand at writing books that might work with the Presents line, then Superromance, then romantic suspense for Intimate Moments.
As I accumulated one rejection after another, I also started to final in (and sometimes win!) writing contests, including four finals in the Romance Writers of America’s ® prestigious Golden Heart Award. But I still hadn’t found an editor to buy one of my books, because I still hadn’t figured out where my stories belonged.
I grew up an only child with a large, close-knit extended family. Many of my earliest memories are of raucous family dinners with my parents, aunts, uncles and cousins sitting around my grandmother’s kitchen table. As I continued to write, I gradually realized that even my romantic suspense novels had a focus on family. Huh.
Maybe there really was something to that old saying, “write what you know.” What I know and love is family. My writing style is lighthearted with lots of sexual tension and little splashes of humor, and at the centre of all my romances are a hero and heroine surrounded by family and friends. So I started to focus on Harlequin’s Heart and Home lines, and was thrilled to finally find my writing home with American Romance.
Here’s what the writing guidelines say: “American Romance features heartwarming romances with strong family elements. These are stories about the pursuit of love, marriage and family in
today. A sense of family and community is essential.” How perfect! America
I’m currently working on my seventh book, and the third in the Ready Set Sold series. The first in the series, The Christmas Secret, was a November 2011 release and the second book, The Daddy Project, will be out in December 2012. The third book is Daddy, Unexpectedly (working title, release TBA). The heroines of these three books—a carpenter, an interior decorator and a Realtor—run a business called Ready Set Sold. If you like HGTV shows about home renos and decoration, then I hope you’ll love these stories!
American Romance is a perfect fit for me, and after all these years I’m still hooked on Harlequin. I love to read them, and I now I love to write them, too.
The Christmas Secret:
A Christmas Present With A Hidden Past
AJ Harris needs to leave town, before his past sneaks up on him in the form of a tool-belt–wearing beauty who also happens to be the mother of his child. Fate has other plans when AJ inadvertently hires Samantha Elliott to renovate and sell his grandmother’s old house. Now he has to hide the truth—he secretly adopted the child Sam abandoned three years ago. Only, AJ can’t prevent the bond between mother and child. When he learns the selfless reasons behind Sam’s actions, including his own father’s deceit, AJ’s secret becomes a burden he can’t keep. But will Sam forgive him for having their son all this time? Or will one little boy’s love bring together a family…just in time for Christmas?
About Lee McKenzie:
From the time Lee McKenzie was ten years old and read Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, she knew she wanted to be a writer, just like Anne and Jo. In the intervening years she has written advertising copy, magazine articles and an honors thesis in paleontology, and edited conference proceedings, educational material and technical publications. Along the way, her imagination demanded a more creative outlet, and she soon discovered the world of romance. Becoming a four-time Golden Heart finalist and a Harlequin author are her proudest accomplishments yet.
Lee and her artist/teacher husband live on an island in the
Pacific Northwest, and she loves to spend time with two of her best friends--her grown-up children. To find out more about Lee and her books, readers are invited to visit her at http://www.leemckenzie.com/. Lee’s titles are also listed on her author page at Amazon.com.
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