I’m happy to welcome award-winning, Soul Mate author Sofie Darling. Today, Sofie shares insights from her writing journey and her debut novel, Three Lessons in Seduction.
Today, I’d like to talk about my journey to publication. In 2015, my friend and critique partner, Kate Ramirez, won the Writers’ League of Texas’ Manuscript Contest in the romance category. Her win gave me good incentive to finish the book I was working on and enter the contest the following year, even though I was somewhat hesitant to do so.
I’d entered a contest before—that’s right, one contest—and it didn’t go anywhere. I took this “failure” as confirmation of my deepest fear that my writing wasn’t connecting with anyone, even though my critique partners were telling me differently. But they liked me. What did they know?
Still, in 2016, I entered the WLT’s Manuscript Contest, and I won . . . to my utter and complete surprise.
In addition to the WLT win, I received a pitch session with the agent who selected my entry as the winner. We had a good chat, and she requested the full manuscript. Ultimately, she passed on it, but she did give me some good advice. In regards to getting the manuscript ready to send to her, she looked me straight in the eye and said, “Be ruthless.”
Buoyed with a bit more confidence after the win and full request, I moved past my fear of contests and entered two more. I finaled in both, and in two categories in one. While this led to conversations with editors, I was still having no agent luck. I made it pretty far down the road with another agent, but she, too, passed.
The process of querying agents and either getting rejected or ignored led me toward a bold decision: I researched every single romance publisher who accepted direct submissions from authors and submitted to all of them. Out of the twelve publishers I queried, I received five requests for more material. Within five months, I’d connected with an editor who was truly enthusiastic about my work and had a signed contract with a publisher.
I still think about the agent’s words, “Be ruthless.” It applies to the writing, of course—adverbs can be pesky little irritants—but it also applies to the career of the writer. It wasn’t until I decided to take my fate as a writer into my own hands and stop waiting for an agent—any agent, please!—to accept me as a client that I was able to forge the beginning of the career I’d been dreaming about for years.
The path toward publication is going to look different for every writer, and my journey won’t be the right fit for everyone. In retrospect, it’s clear that conquering my fear and taking those first few steps was the most difficult part of the process. Each step forward on the path toward publication was easier than the last as my confidence grew, and with the release of Three Lessons in Seduction last fall, my dream became reality!
Paris, September 1824
Lord Nicholas Asquith needs his wife. Too bad he broke her heart ten years ago.
Can he resist a second chance at the love he lost?
When Mariana catches the eye of the man at the center of an assassination plot, Nick puts aside their painful past and enlists her to obtain information by any means necessary, even if it means seducing the enemy agent.
Even if the thought makes his blood boil.
Only by keeping his distance from Mariana these last ten years was he able to pretend indifference to her. With every moment spent with her, he feels his tightly held control slipping . . .
Can she trust the spy who broke her heart?
Mariana spent the last decade forgetting Nick. Now she has the chance to best him at his own game, an opportunity she can’t resist, even as her view of him begins to shift. Increasingly, she wants nothing more than to seduce her own husband . . .
It’s only a matter of time before mad passion ignites, a passion never convincingly extinguished. A passion that insists on surrendering to the yearning of the flesh and, quite possibly, of the heart.
“A girl like you is a girl one could marry,” he murmured. They were heedless and dangerous words that fell from his lips, and he couldn’t understand why he spoke them.
“A girl like me?”
“One could marry?”
“Careful,” she whispered into the space between their lips. It was the only space that mattered in the universe. “I might hold you to such words.”
“I might hope you do.”
Again, words fell from his mouth of their own accord, and he’d proposed to her. There had been no biting it back.
And he hadn’t wanted to.
At least, not for another five seconds.
He’d proposed to Lady Mariana Montfort, a girl he didn’t know.
That wasn’t precisely true.
In the ways that mattered, he knew her.
Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.
When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.
Where to find Sofie…