Message From The Author

Author's Message

DOUBLE DARE: TWICE BURNED by Pamela Burford and TWICE THE SPICE by Patricia Ryan

"I'll bet I can sell a romance novel before you do."

"You're on."

This bet occurred on New Year's Eve, 1992. Never mind that neither of us had actually written a romance novel; as of that moment, the race was on.

As identical twins, we've enjoyed our share of bets and challenges for...well, for more years than either of us wants to own up to. But we never could have predicted the impact this one casual wager would have on our lives.

Pam quickly wrote a category novel, and received an offer from Meteor Publishing. Thus, she won the bet...sort of. As we all know, Meteor essentially closed up shop in the summer of '93, and Pam's book was one of those that never saw print. (Of course, that didn't stop her from collecting her prize: Pat had to pay the hotel charges for a year's worth of writers' conferences.)

But lo! What's that whooshing sound coming from behind? Why, it's Pat, sprinting past the finish line, fists raised in victory. While Pam's bubble had been inflating, then rapidly self-destructing, the "loser" in this bet had written a category novel called The Return of the Black Sheep, which went on to win multiple awards, including the Golden Heart for Short Contemporary in 1994, by which time it had been snapped up by Harlequin Temptation.

Eventually Pam caught up, and we're now both happily ensconced in Deadline Hell. Pam writes for Harlequin Temptation and Intrigue. Pat, in addition to her Temptations, writes medievals for Topaz. Would our careers have taken off if we'd never challenged each other? It's hard to say. Without a doubt, the process would have taken a lot longer.

Competition is a loaded term, rife with negative connotations even when prefaced with a qualifier such as friendly or healthy. But let's face it. Feelings of rivalry are unavoidable, a natural part of the creative process and the drive to succeed. When we ignore them, or try to repress them, they tend to emerge as bitterness and jealousy.

By acknowledging those competitive urges, we can turn them to our advantage. The distinction between "healthy" competition and cutthroat one-upmanship hinges on camaraderie with, and respect for, our fellow writers...and a sense of humor doesn't hurt, either.

By channeling our natural competitiveness in a productive way, we can bring out the best in ourselves, and in our writing "sisters" (whether related or not!)

The twins wrote Harlequin's Double Dare, a miniseries featuring twin heroines: Patricia Ryan's TWICE THE SPICE (Apr. '97, Temp.) and Pamela Burford's TWICE BURNED (May '97, Intrigue). Pam will also have two Temptations out this year: the award-winning A HARD-HEARTED HERO, July, and JACKS ARE WILD, November. Pat's medieval-set SECRET THUNDER (Topaz) will be out in May.


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