I’m honored to welcome Valerie Bowman to this week’s In PRO-suit of Publication, a blog series celebrating Beau Monde Members who have finished and at least one manuscript and have met the requirements for PRO status as defined by Romance Writers of America.

Valerie is not only a PRO, she is a professional technical writer and editor. In 2010, she founded a network of writers known as the La La La’s-who support one another in their mutual goal of excellence in romance writing (and getting published, of course!). 

As if these achievements were not impressive enough, her Regency historical, Secrets of a Wedding Night has been lighting up the 2011 RWA contest circuit with finals in the Washington D.C. Romance Writers Marlene contest, the North Texas Romance Writers Great Expectations contest, the Valley Forge Romance Writers Sheila contest and…drumroll….the Regency Category of the 2011 Golden Heart!

Thank you so much for being a part of the Valerie, I’m so excited you agreed to be interviewed!

To start, what’s the twitter-pitch (140 characters or less) of your favorite finished manuscript?

Wow! This was difficult. 140 characters isn’t enough! But here goes:

Lily is rumored to have written a scandalous pamphlet. Secrets of a Wedding Night has scared the ton’s young ladies from the marriage mart. Recently jilted Devon issues her a challenge: write a retraction or prepare to be seduced.

OOh, sounds fabulous! Oh, and just to let our readers know, this is the manuscript that caused a Marlene final round judge to gush: “I loved every minute of reading this and am eager to get more.” So you have contest judges hooked–but what do you love most about that story?

I began dating my boyfriend shortly before writing Secrets and I love that I was able to put a little bit of our courtship into the story. Lily can take care of herself, for sure, but Devon rescues her from a spider (which she detests!). Guess who else hates spiders? Right before our first date, I was trapped in my living room by a giant, brown spider. When my boyfriend arrived, I was forced to ask him to dispatch the blackguard for me. Luckily, he was good with that! Note: He let it loose outside.

Oh! *sighs* brave and valiant–the perfect hero.  It sounds like life has added spice to your writing–would you describe another ah-ha writing moment and its trigger?

Pretty much everything in Dwight Swain’s book The Techniques of the Selling Writer was an ah-ha for me. Luckily, I read it early on. If you haven’t read it, read it. It’s difficult to read, but worth it.

I agree. I brainstorm from worksheets inspired by his thoughts on scene and sequel structure, and I always find ways to strengthen hooks and transitions I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

So often we aspiring writers are told ‘write what you know’–which is, of course, important. But we wouldn’t have chosen this genre if we did want to ‘write what we love.’ So, what’s your favorite Romance and why?

The incomparable Judith McNaught’s Once and Always. I’m sure I’ve read it at least 50 times. She has such great tension and dialogue and Jason Fielding just has to be one of the hottest heroes of all time. Plus, I’m a sucker for a story that involves a pet dog, or wolf, as the case may be.

I haven’t read it, but you can bet I’m going to pick it up now! Would you like to share any other thoughts/advice on pursuing publication?

There is no rush or time limit on getting good enough to land that publishing contract. Take your time. Learn. Study. Read every book on craft you can. Take workshops. Ask questions. Read all sorts of books to learn from other writers. Know what your ultimate goal is and keep your eye on it. Oh, and one more thing: spend time on your query. Let someone else read it. It’s really important!

So true, and so easy to forget! Every moment feels so essential–but it is so important to remember that time is really on our side.

Thanks so much for being here!

Readers, the randomly chosen winner of this weeks comment contest will win an e-copy of Ann Lethbridge’s The Gamekeeper’s Lady, which they can download from the e-bookstore, All Romance. Check back tomorrow morning when I’ll announce the winner!

50 Responses to In PRO-suit of Publication with Ms. Valerie Bowman

  • I love the premise for Secrets of a Wedding Night, Valerie. I don’t write historical, but I enjoy reading it, and you can bet yours will be on my TBR list when it comes out.

    I couldn’t agree more about Swain’s book too. I’m in the middle of it right now, and wishing I had found it two years ago when I was just getting started.

    Love the spider story! Boyfriend sounds like a keeper. 😉

  • Can’t wait until Secrets of a Wedding Night is on the shelves!  What a great idea!  And as a Judith McNaught fan I was suprised to find one I hadn’t read – thanks for the introduction.

    Was there one favorite lesson you learned from Dwight Swaine?

    p.s. the boyfriend sounds like a keeper!

  • Secrets of a Wedding Night sounds like so much fun – can’t wait to read it.  And thanks for sharing Dwight Swaine’s book. I need to go out and get that one!

  • Thanks, Linda!

  • Thanks, Linda!

  • I’m like everyone else. I can’t wait until your book comes out, because I so want to read it.

  • Thanks, Aislinn! Ditto for yours!

  • OMG. You haven’t read Once and Always? It’s my favorite. Though Whitney My Love is arguably the *very* best. I’m also a HUGE fan of Lisa Kleypas. I met her at RWA Nationals last year and she was just so lovely.

  • As for Dwight Swain, his scene/sequel action/reaction information is priceless imo.

  • Thanks so much, Gwen. Hope you enjoy Swain. Honestly, I had to stop and re-start more than once but when I finally got in the groove, I was on board. Another great, fun book about writing (that’s extremely EASY to read) is How Not to Write a Novel by Mittelmark/Newman.

  • I love the spider story.  And I love that it ended up in your manuscript.  

  • Ha! Thanks for stopping by, Abigail. There’s also a bit about a dog that looks like a raccoon in the story. My newly adotped rescue dog looks like a raccoon. I discovered there are no raccoons in England so I had to change the wording to, “She looks like that animal the Americans call a raccoon.” It cracks me up every time I read it.

  • Valerie,

    I love your story about your boyfriend rescuing you from the spider (and the spider from you)! 🙂 Congratulations on burning up the contest circuit. Will you post here when you book sells so we’ll know when and where to buy it?

  • Great interview Valerie!  Loved the spider story and how real life can slip into our pages. LOL. Oh, I am a HUGE fan of Judith McNaught. I got hooked on romance years ago with her a few others! I’m a Kleypas fan too! Completely wonderful! Your book is on my list to buy the second it hits the shelves! So keep us posted on the sale! Big hugs lala sis!

  • I can’t wait to read Secrets of a Wedding Night!  And I also just ordered the Swain book. 

    Best of luck with the Golden Heart awards this year!!

  • Wonderful interview. This is my first visit and I will be back!

  • Wonderful interview. This is my first visit and I will be back!

  • I love Lisa Kleypas too, both her historicals and contemporaries. I also love Joanna Bourne. I’ll have to check out Judith McNaught.

    Gwen (Not sure why this has me as gm.hernandez. I thought I set it up to use my Google account earlier. Oh well.)

  • Yep, the spider and I were equally unanamored with each other! I think I’ll post everywhere when my book sells! : ) Seriously, Wendy’s blog is fantastic and she’s so great to interview me today. I’d love to come back, espeically if I have a sale to announce! 🙂

  • Thanks for stopping by, MPS!

  • Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for stopping by and for wishing me luck in the Golden Heart. I’m extremely humbled to be a finalist. Hope you enjoy Swain!

  • Hi Valerie,

    My oldest has a spider phobia too. There’s a commercial out now where a guy has a spider as a screen saver on a phone (like a droid or an i-phone). anyway, the woman at the table sees the spider, screams. Another guy beats the crap out of the phone. And the guy who owns the phone looks bewildered. Made me laugh!

    Wishing you the best on your journey to publication. With all those contest finals you’ll soon be running circles around the rest of us.

    Maggie Toussaint

  • Congrats on all those contest wins, Valerie.  Are you going to be in NY to celebrate your GH final?  Your story sounds fun and I’m very curious to know what’s written in that pamphlet!

  • Thanks, Melba!

  • Hi Maggie! Thanks for stopping by. I have one sister who is scared of sharks and another who is scared of snakes. I somehow ended up with spiders which I’ve always thought was unfair since they are much more common! : )

  • Hi Karen,
    Yep! I’ll be in NYC. And Tuesday June 28th is my birthday so even more fun!

  • Valerie and Wendy, great interview! Love your back and forth banter as you shared insights and perspectives on writing. Valerie’s already a winner in my book but home she brings home the GH award. Good luck! Lalala!!!

  • Great interview!!! I love that you got your courtship in the book. What a fabulous way to always remember those cherished feelings!!



  • Thanks, Madeline! My boyfriend says it was a big, nasty spider too. He was very brave! 🙂

  • Hiya, Jaye. Thanks for stopping by. As far as I’m concerned the GH is like the Oscars. I don’t care about winning, I was just so happy to be nominated! : )

  • What a nice interview and I was so happy to take care of the spider!  My biggest worry was not finding it, but the poodles and a flash light helped locate it hiding under the rug. 


  • Ooh, it’s my boyfriend, Marcus. Hiya!
    Ladies, he is TDH (tall, dark, AND handsome). Le swoon!

  • Ooh, one more thing, I almost forgot! When I met Marcus, I told him he had the same name as one of my heros. He said, “I’m just glad I’m not the villain.” I’m finally back to writing Marcus’ story which is called To Catch a Viscount. So excited about that one.

  • Marcus gets a hug from me, too.  I hate spiders but killing them is bad karma and I need all the good karma I can get, so I man up (for the record, I’m female) and figure out a way to brush that sucker out the door/window.  Great interview and a great blog!   

  • Valerie, what a cute story about your boyfriend and the spider.  Your book sounds fabulous!  Can’t wait to read it – once it’s published of course!  Good luck in the Golden Heart.

  • Queen Valerie – thanks for bringing together the lalala’s and good luck in NYC.  Bring home a golden heart! 

  • Wendy and Valerie,
    Fantastic post and I loved getting to know Valerie a bit better,
    Plus, I’m also a huuuuge fan of Judith McNaught’s books! Even though you know her heroes are going tumble off their high horses and fall head over heels in love with the heroines, she keeps you in suspense until the last moment as to how it will work out.

  • Yay! And congratulations, Abigail!

  • Hi there, Suzi. Just wanted to tell you I *adore* the great Beau Monde history posts. I read them constantly.

  • Thanks, Lena!

  • Lynn, Thank you for stopping. Win or no win, I can’t wait for NYC!

  • Wendy,
    Thank you so much for having me. I had a fantastic time!

  • Sounds like a great plot, Valerie! I can see why it’s a winner.

  • Thanks so much, Delle.

  • Valerie,great posts and I so have my fingers crossed for your Golden Heart entry. Thank you, and Wendy, for giving away the Gamekeeper’s Lady too, what a great  complement.

  • Squee! Thank you SO much for stopping by, Ann. 

  • I enjoyed The Gamekeeper’s Lady. I was lucky to win the hard copy, which I’ll treasure. Since I have a Beau Monde theme going–who better to celebrate? 🙂

  • Hi Valerie,
    Wishing you the best of luck in your career!  Because of you, I got to meet Lisa at Nationals last year, which was the highlight of the conference for me.  Can’t wait to see your book on the shelves!! 

  • Hi Miranda! Wasn’t meeting Lisa the best? It was the highlight for me, too.

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