You Always Remember Your First

Having recently finished a manuscript, I decided to take a bit of a break and reflect back on some other things I’ve written. What an interesting catalog of unpublished work in the Kerri Library. 

I found the romantic suspense manuscript that had plenty of romance but lacked even an ounce of suspense. There was the lovely little jewel written half in first person and half in third. And of course, let’s not discount the manuscripts that were so eerily similar to already-established authors I’m actually embarrassed by myself.

That brings me to my very first manuscript. After turning twenty-one and reading a couple Nora Roberts books, I thought, “Doesn’t seem that hard to write a romance novel. I can totally do that too.”

Hence, my first attempt was born. I planned it as a series about quadruplets, three girls and one boy. I referred to them as “The Quads.” They came from a Kennedy-esque family, born in privilege in Boston, moved to Chicago where their parents had a bitter and public divorce and then off to Hawaii to grow up with their father. Each of them lived in a different state and struggled with issues stemming from their mother, a wealthy and uncaring socialite who paid off judges and got plastic surgery.

But the first book belonged to Maddy. Ah Maddy.

My chief complaint about romance novels at the age of twenty-one was the too-young heroine, someone in their early twenties who achieved way more than the typical person of that age. So when I sat down to write my first heroine, I remember thinking she needed to be worldly and experienced. No way would I make her too young to get married and have a fabulous job. I made a very conscious decision that she would be old.

She was twenty-five.

Also, her job at the age of twenty-five was a secondhand historical biographer, which is a career I made up. (It’s someone who interviews people who experienced a historical event from a distance, but weren’t necessarily involved in it, in case you’re wondering.) And yes, Maddy had many, many published works.

Good thing she lived in a two-bedroom studio apartment on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown. Obviously, I did not understand what a studio apartment consisted of – or not consist of – such as bedrooms. Also, the fact that a twenty-five year old could afford to live on Wisconsin Avenue in a two-bedroom speaks volumes. Of course, if she already had several best selling published books, I suppose it makes sense.

Yes, it all makes sense. Somewhere in the far recesses of twenty-one year old Kerri’s mind the whole story came together. I loved Maddy and her completely insane story. So imagine my shock when Harlequin turned it down. Clearly, they didn’t know what they were missing.

Clearly, I didn’t either.

Do you remember your first pass at writing a romance novel?