Lissa Morgan’s debut Mills & Boon novel, The Welsh Lord’s Convenient Bride is out on May 26th and is perfect if you love enemies-to-lovers and brooding heroes.
Lissa joins us on our blog to chat about her journey to becoming a published author and her advice for aspiring writers!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Wales but have travelled around a lot, including to South America, where I taught English. I’ve had too many jobs to count, though history has always been my first love and I’ve been fortunate to work in that field on various projects over the years. Currently, the day job is in freelance web design and project management – and writing, of course! I’m trying to be a vegan, though I lapse far too often, and I consume way too much coffee while I’m writing.
Why did you want to become a romance writer?
I actually never thought I’d be any sort of writer! I’ve read voraciously since my childhood, and historical fiction and romance have always been my favourite genres. Despite that, I started out writing contemporary romance having literally woken up one morning and discovered I wanted to write for Mills & Boon! Once I’d started, I found I really enjoyed creating complex characters that, despite all the obstacles I could throw at them, would eventually fall deeply in love and live happily ever after.
What were the major steps in your journey to becoming a published author?
Attending writing courses and retreats, and joining the RNA’s New Writers Scheme were definitely major steps. Immersing myself in the world of writing and connecting with other writers, published and unpublished, and making fabulous and supportive friends along the way. Taking the decision to write every morning, no matter what, and setting myself deadlines to finish and submit every book. Adopting a pen name made my writing ‘valid’ and was a real psychological reason to keep on going even when I sometimes felt like giving up.
Was this story the first manuscript you submitted?
No, the twelfth! I began writing in 2007 and submitted almost every year after that to Mills & Boon Modern. I received a lot of encouraging and constructive feedback from the editors but couldn’t quite make it through to publication. Then I had a one-to-one with Linda Fildew, at the 2020 RNA online conference, the first summer of the Covid pandemic. While gently rejecting my latest contemporary manuscript, she asked if I’d ever thought of writing an historical. Everything just fell into place and The Welsh Lord’s Convenient Bride almost wrote itself – I just put the words down!
What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Do what feels right for you as a writer, trust your own voice, believe in your characters, know where you are aiming, and write from the heart. Set yourself achievable deadlines and do something for your writing every day, even if you can’t face putting actual words on the page or the day job gets in the way – do some research, make notes or character bios, anything that keeps you connected to your story. I read that on somebody’s blog, way back, and it’s my go-to rescue remedy when the writing process gets tough, which it inevitably does.
What did you do when you got the call?
I was so stunned I can’t actually remember what I did immediately I got off the zoom call with Linda. I floated around in a state of disbelief for a week and didn’t tell anyone, not even family or friends. I hugged it to myself, afraid the bubble would burst, and I’d wake up and find it all a dream. Then when it eventually kicked in that I really had been offered a contract, that the editors at HM&B really did like and want my story, I told everyone who would listen! Though I still have to pinch myself from time to time!
The Welsh Lord’s Convenient Bride by Lissa Morgan
Hiding a disfigurement, Eleanor de Vraille is already lacking confidence when she arrives at her future husband’s cheerless Welsh castle. And Rhun ab Owain’s open disapproval of her does nothing to make her feel at ease. Their union is to seal peace between their families, nothing more. But Eleanor’s heart rebels – is she a fool to hope for any affection from this strong-willed, nobleman with the glittering, dark eyes?