I’ve known I wanted to be an author since I was in the third grade. Growing up, I dabbled with everything from horror (my first novel was called Mummies by the Lake—don’t ask) to fantasy and historical romance. In college, when I stumbled upon my first Regency romance, I decided that was where I’d focus my passions. In late 1996, the Regency special interest chapter of Romance Writers of America reported that Kensington had a hole in its publication schedule and was rather desperate for Regency romance manuscripts. I sent in The Unflappable Miss Fairchild and was offered a two-book deal, with the stipulation that the second book be set at Christmas.
“You can write a Christmas book, right?” my new editor asked.
Of course I could. Couldn’t I?
I didn’t have an idea. I wasn’t even sure how Christmas was celebrated during the Regency. I remember a squirming feeling in the pit of my stomach. I ignored it. I was going to be published, and I had been given the chance to write Kensington’s Christmas Regency. I could do this.
And I did.
After considerable research, I submitted the manuscript for My True Love Gave to Me eleven months before the intended publication date of December 1998. My husband proclaimed it the best book I’d ever had published (since it was only my second, I’ll take that with a grain of salt). To this day, he still laments it was never made into a movie. But the Sales Department at Kensington thought my title wasn’t romantic enough. They retitled it The Twelve Days of Christmas. It entered the world and quietly sank like a stone tossed into a snow-shrouded pond.
You see, I didn’t know much about promoting in those days. I was an unknown author. The cover was anachronistic and didn’t even have the right hair color for the characters. No review magazines deigned to review it.
But to this day, it is one of the books my readers love most.
I’m delighted to report that I’ve buffed it up (I have learned something in 35 books); returned it to its original title; given it a new, more accurate cover; and reissued it for Christmas this year. I hope those who love it will remember why, and those who haven’t had a chance to read it will enjoy it.
And who knows? Maybe it will be made into a movie someday.