Saturday, January 5, 2013

Muriel Jensen, here.

Hi, Romance Writers and Readers!

I'm so happy to be here with you.  This time last year I was preparing for tax season in an accounting office.  (That's a painful stretch for the jumbled brain of a basically creative person!)  I owe this moment to a broken leg and a timely call from Victoria Curran.  But I digress . . .

I sold my first book, Winter's Bounty, to Debra Matteucci on March 9, 1983 at age 38.  (I can hear you all doing the math.)  I had a husband, three teenagers, and a full time job managing a bookstore/Hallmark shop here in Astoria, Oregon.  Ron (husband) had read in The Wall Street Journal that Harlequin was opening a New York office and looking for manuscripts about American women, written by American women. (That was just a happy accident.  We do not have one stock or investment and he was just waiting for a friend.)  Having written madly for myself since second grade, I always had a manuscript of some sort under way. 

Retail in Astoria is pretty quiet during the winter, so I wrote a novel between customers, on a portable typewriter that I carried back and forth with me every day for about four months.  I took the call from Harlequin telling me I'd made the sale at the bookstore one rainy morning and came close to cardiac arrest.  Thankfully, I survived, and went on to write 88 novels and novellas over the next 21 years.

In 2004 I felt the need to escape my office and got a job in an accounting firm.  I enjoyed the people, if not the numbers, until last March when I broke my leg while walking the dog.  What seemed like a nasty event coincided with a call from Victoria, asking me to submit an idea for the new Heartwarming line.  I was thrilled to be invited home to Harlequin and to have something to do while I was in a cast!  After a revised effort (I seldom do anything right the first time) I made the sale!  It was as thrilling as the first time.  And here I am with a wonderful band of new friends and fellow authors.

My as yet untitled book comes out in August and deals with an artist-heroine who is in remission from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and a CPA-hero who runs a business and has just inherited his two nephews after his brother's death.  It's all about beating down our monsters (or making friends with them) and BELIEVING that we're stronger than our situations, and that love will not only help us to endure, but to prevail.

I'm delighted to be among this group of writers and editors, and to have the chance to gab with all of you!

I apologize that there is no photo, but I'm techno-challenged.  Pamela offered to walk me through but by the time I realized I needed help, it was midnight and she's a time zone away.  (Actually, no photo of me is not a bad thing.)

Muriel

16 comments:

  1. Muriel, I was thirty-eight when I sold my first book! Loved your story, would like to meet Ron. My husband's contribution to my writing is, "You have to go write again."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi, Pamela! Ron is a brick - did everything for me while I did the revision that sold that first book. That's why I know about love and romance! Thank you for all the help.

    Muriel

    ReplyDelete
  3. Muriel, I'm so happy there is someone here who started writing before me! I had a daughter in junior high prior to my starting--she and her friends were consuming Harlequin books and actually were the ones who said I should write one.
    But I also wanted to mention that I was born and raised in Oregon. Not on the coast, but in Yamhill valley. Did you have a book in a made-for-TV movie? If so tell us about that. So sorry you broke your leg, but maybe it was serendipity and you're back doing what you most love. Roz

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh it's so great to hear you will be writing for Harlequin again and for Heartwarming!

    I LOVED your Men of Maple Hill series for SuperRomance. I have all 6!!

    I even have "Husband in a Hurry" from 1996.

    You mentioned typewriters - I loved my first manual typewriter. In a way I wish I still had it. Maybe not to use though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, Roz! Hi, Marcie!

    Roz - aren't daughters wonderful? Ron and I tried for five years to have a child, finally filed for adoption, and ended up with a family of three siblings - one of them, a girl! I thought I'd never have a daughter - or a published book - but it's all about believing.

    We lived in McMinville for three years in Yamhill County. That was about '71 to '74. Such beautiful country.

    I do not have a made-for-TV movie. You're not confusing me with Debbie Macomber, are you? We did a lot of conferences together, and sold our first books at about the same time. She certainly is a romance genius.

    The leg is fine. No loss of motion or any problems. And I think serendipity describes it perfectly! I'm so grateful that it brought me here.

    Marcie - thank you for the kind words on the Men of Maple Hill. I was born and grew up in Mass. so felt really comfortable with the setting.

    It would be fun to have a typewriter to put flowers in, or something. I wrote my first two books on a typewriter and all I can say is God Bless the Delete Key on Computers!! Remember White-Out? I went through cartons of it! When I was writing like a fiend in the 80s and 90s, I could do an extra book a year because I didn't have to correct and retype.

    Happy Weekend both of you! Thanks for chatting.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Muriel, I'm so happy that have you a new book coming out! I've read your books for years, studying them to figure out how to write a romance because I figured you were the best. I think I tracked down every book you've ever published and read them two, three, twelve times. Super excited for August to come and read your book. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Syndi! Could you make a tape of that post so that I can listen to it every morning when I sit down at the computer to work? You're very good for my ego! Unfortunately, I don't think it ever gets easier than the first one is. I love coming up with an idea to make it work, to take a million notes to see where it'll go, but the actual making characters real, their struggles genuine, then plotting a good outcome is really an ordeal for me. And I hate to think of how many editorial hours it took for all the people who've worked on my books to make it seem as though I'm polished and knowledgeable. But, thank you! Looking forward to reading yours, too!

    Muriel

    ReplyDelete
  8. A new book for my reading pleasures. I have a whole shelve with just Muriel Jensen books on it, friends wonder why I have so many books from the same author, I proudly reply,
    " because she's my aunt and she the best story teller" I often wish we lived closer so we could share stories. My love for writing I believe came from you and I'm always grateful for that. (*o*)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Tammy! Thanks for checking in. I'm so glad I was able to share something with you even though we've been on opposite coasts for most of your life. I think you'll like all the Heartwarming books because they're about love, family, and all the good things that shore up our lives. Thanks again, Sweetie. Muriel

    ReplyDelete
  10. Muriel, it's SO good to have you back in the book world! It's the numbers world's loss, but I'm not crying for them. You belong here, creating wonderful stories for your many fans. Be sure to let me (us) know what your August title is when it's decided. I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ginger! Thank you for the welcome back and all the kind words. Will never forget the long weekend in San Francisco with you and Carol Wagner and Marsha Z. plotting the second round of Tyler books for Special Projects. We made a good team. Maybe focusing on love and romance makes a good team of everyone collected for the purpose. Looking forward to my time with Heartwarming. I love it all! Thanks again, Gin.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, how could I not jump in at this point?
      Muriel, Victoria and I are SO happy you're back with us in Harlequin Heartwarming, and I also often think of that magical week in San Francisco plotting our second round of Tyler books! It was great fun and a wonderful experience! And those books are still being reissued, so I think we managed to create something that will stand the test of time....just as the Heartwarming books will!
      Lovely to see both you ladies on this blog!
      Marsha

      Delete
  12. Hey Muriel!!! I'm so glad you've come back to your passion! I have missed your writings something fierce. Like Tammy above I have at least 65 of your books. I might have missed some of the earlier ones, but have definitely read them as I had borrowed them from another Muriel Jensen reader. I can't wait for this new book!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh, Muriel, I'm so glad you're back! I still have the cup and saucer you sent me when I sold MY first book (when I was 48). It's one of my most cherished possessions. It was because of you that I first knew what good friends other writers were.

    I can't wait for the book.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What an inspiring post, Muriel! I loved your story of how you began your writing a career- typing in between customers- WOW- and we beginners think we have it rough! I'm so glad for the genius of Victoria Curran in reaching out to you for a story and bringing your talent back to Harlequin. How lucky for Heartwarming :) I feel so honored to write in the same line with you! And it touches me that we both conceived of a love story with characters overcoming cancer. I can't wait to read your beautiful love story!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi, Diane, Liz, Karen!

    Okay, you other members of this blog, this dear, flattering letter from Diane Dezielle could only have been written by MY SISTER! Thank you, Di! You know you have the inside track on a copy of the book. Thank you for taking the time to find me and to post. Love you.

    Liz Flaherty is not my biological sister, but a sister of my heart, who once wrote me about one of my books and her writing efforts and we've been fast friends ever since. Thanks, Liz. Am blessed to be your writing friend.

    Karen - my new writing friend. It's odd, isn't it, that though there isn't an idea warehouse in the sky like Roz talked about, there does seem to be a common cosmic pot of ideas and sometimes two writers can grab the same thing at the same time. My working title had been Finding Forever, very close to your Forever Wish. I'm happy that you're enthused rather than upset because it's interesting to see how differently two people can see the same subject. Anyway - thanks so much for the warm welcome and the kind words. If only I can live up to all this delicious flattery!

    What a fun day this has been. Muriel

    ReplyDelete