Author Sylvia Day has sold more than 16 million copies of her romance novels in just over a decade. But the story of how she first got published goes all the way back to her childhood…
“I knew I wanted to be a romance novelist when I was 12. It was firm in my mind when I was very young, and it stayed with me the entirety of my life, I’ve been very lucky about that. When people ask me what I was reading when I was in junior high and high school, I say Sweet Valley High. I loved that series, however, it was when my mother handed me an adult romance novel [I decided I wanted to write romance].
“I was 12 years old, I was sitting at the dining table, I was doing my homework. And, she walked in and she set this book on the table next to me and she goes, ‘I want you to read this, and then I want you to find a man like that.’
“I was like, ‘Wow, OK.’ Of course, at 12 years old I’m not looking for any sort of man. But you know, it was laying there next to math homework, so it was like, ‘Math…? Sexy romance novel? Math…? Romance novel…?’ So I sat down and read that. And that of course, takes it to a whole other level from something like Sweet Valley High. And I was completely hooked.
“Obviously, I didn’t start when I was 12, just had the belief. It was 2003, and I sat down and I wrote my first novel. I completed it in a little less than two months, and then I immediately started a new project, and so forth. From October until about June of 2004, I was just writing and building up a collection of finished works.
“Then an author named Lori Foster, in the United States, held a contest via her publisher where she would take submissions through her website, she would pick 20 of her top submissions, and then they would go in front of her editor. Her editor would read them and offer a critique or whatever. But, of course, there was this possibility that she might like what you wrote, and then offer to read more or perhaps offer publication.
“I was fortunate that that is what happened with me. Lori selected my entry as a finalist and went before the editor, and she offered me a contract.”
And the rest is history!
You can listen to our entire interview with Sylvia (or browse the transcript) right here.