Saved by the Monarch_Dana Marton
Saved by the Monarch by Dana Marton

Many years ago, I had a job as an afternoon receptionist at a company. The morning receptionist was a Harlequin reading maniac. We shared the same desk and every drawer was filled to the brim with Harlequin novels. Since work was slow, I began reading those little books in between answering the phone. (Romance writers must learn to multitask.) Soon I was reading them faster then I could find them. Then one day in the library I came across Kathryn Falk’s How to Write a Romance. I suppose I haven’t considered the authors until then. They seemed mythical creatures born with this extraordinary knowledge. But the very existence of Kathryn’s book suggested that romance writing could be learned! That was a stunningly new concept to me at the time, almost too good to be believed.

So I took How to Write a Romance home and read it, and began to write a historical romance set in Ancient Egypt. I had a couple of hundred pages when the floppy disk that held my only copy got corrupted. I just didn’t have the heart to start all over again. When I overcame the disappointment of losing my early masterpiece, I began a sci-fi romance. This one I even sent to a publisher! (Optimism is very important for a romance writer.) I got a very nice letter back, but they weren’t interested. The next book was an inspirational romance. This time the publisher (a different one) loved the partial and asked for a full. Sadly, no sale. Then I wrote a straight romance. Then a western historical. (Romance writers need lots of resilience.) Then a romantic suspense that actually won a couple of writing contests. I might have meandered along like this endlessly if I hadn’t found Seton Hill University and their Writing Popular Fiction program. (Romance writers ask for help when they need some.)

I tried more romantic suspense there along with epic fantasy. I was told by knowledgeable people that I had a category voice and romantic suspense was my strength. Only one publisher publishes category romantic suspense so, yay, I had a target. Harlequin Intrigue was one of my favorite lines anyway. I started reading even more of them. And wrote a novel specifically with them in mind. And sold it. Just like that. After only thirteen years of trying! Piece of cake. (Romance writers don’t give up. Ever.)

Holding that book in my hands was so much fun that I have done it since again and again and again. I have twenty novels so far and my books are published in eleven countries in eight different languages. Some have been turned into audio books, some you can download to your phone chapter by chapter. One was even turned into a comic book in Japan! I’m a Harlequin author at last. And I’d like to think there are some receptionists out there with my books in their desk drawers. (Romance writers are optimists. Oh, right. I’ve already said that.)

-Dana Marton
May 2009

Dana Marton’s TALL, DARK & LETHAL is a Rita finalist this year. You can find out more about her and read excerpts from her books at Her most recent release is SAVED BY THE MONARCH.

–Forget kissing frogs. Meet Prince Miklos of Valtria. And if the crown fits….--

Email me at with the subject MONARCH CONTEST and include in the body the names of five other Dana Marton novels, your name, and your address by 12:00 PM EST on May 14, and I'll enter you in a random drawing to win a signed copy of SAVED BY THE MONARCH.


  1. Great blog! I love hearing how other authors get started!

  2. Thank you, Lisa, so do I. It leaves me hopeful and inspired.

  3. Thank you Lisa for stopping by. And thank you Heidi for having me here. I love your blog! Dana


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

SFFS: Snippet #2 from Atomic Zion

SFFS: Snippet #1 from Atomic Zion

NEWSLETTER: Small Space Big Life Vol. 7 - A New Honor