Message From The Author

Author's Message

Dear Reader,

Last month I announced that Grand Central Publishing re-released Love Is in the Heir from my Featherton Sisters quartet. But the news has gotten even better—all of the Featherton Sisters stories are being re-released as e-books, each for the very special price of $2.99. This month, the focus is on Rules of Engagement, the very first book I ever mean finished.

Rules of Engagement wasn’t one of those effortless dream books that seem to write themselves. What first book is? At the beginning, I kept writing the first three chapters over and over until finally a critique partner of mine challenged me to actually finish the book I was attempting to write for the Romance of America’s Golden Heart Contest. 

I was passionate about the story. It was about two elderly aunts who mistake a military strategy text, “Rules of Engagement,” for a how-to manual for getting engaged and they employ the guide’s war tactics to see their nieces married. So, I accepted the challenge. I entered the book in the Long Historical Romance category and was lucky enough to win. An editor asked my agent for the book. 

Time to break out the champagne, right? Not even close. Now it was time for me to learn a huge lesson. During the months between entering the book in the Golden Heart and winning the contest, I had given the book to my critique group and to several bestselling authors. Everyone gave me great advice, and so I rewrote large portions of the book. I swear, all told, I probably had five versions of Rules of Engagement

Finally, when the editor read the book, she rejected it flat out. She told me what she had read for the contest was a romantic comedy. What my agent had given her was a dark mystery. Then, she gave me the best advice of my career by telling me to stay true to myself and my vision of the story. 

I knew she was right. I had always known this, but until I heard it from her, I hadn’t had enough confidence to trust my gut. Now, I did. I dusted off the first draft of the story, my version, polished it up and gave it to my agent. Right away there was an auction situation and the book went to Warner (now Grand Central.) 

No one’s path to publication is the same. And there are going to be potholes along the way. But if you stay true to yourself and your vision of the story, you will have greatly improved your chance of seeing your book in print.

And if you’re lucky, you might even see it as a re-release years later too.

Happy Reading!

- Kathryn Caskie

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