Sitting at a sunlit table with a manuscript in front of her, author Emily March recalled the moment she realized she had a future in writing.
Members of her Bedford-based public critique group laughed at some humorous scenes she had written. Confidence bolstered, March went on to to sell her first book to Bantam Books shortly thereafter. Three books later, with Sizzle All Day, she said she had found her voice.
Her 33rd book, Heartsong Cottage, debuted this month at No. 15 on The New York Times bestsellers list in its category. The story of Dan Garrett and Shannon O’Toole is the 10th installment in March’s “Eternity Springs” series.
“This particular series I feel like I’ve been working toward writing my whole career,” said March, who lives in Fort Worth.
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March is a native of Wichita Falls and an eternal Aggie. She holds a degree in marketing from Texas A&M University, and her husband and children are also Aggies.
Her “Eternity Springs” series rose out of a struggle with writing that March said prompted her “to quit.”
“I walked away in 2006,” she said.
She said the turning point came when she and her husband were on a couples vacation with fellow author Christina Dodd and her husband. The women were part of an authors’ plot group that would meet to discuss their work.
Dodd’s husband reminded March that since she had quit she could no longer come to plot group meetings. Then, March said her husband told her, “You were meant to be a writer.”
The encouragement was what she needed.
“I came home and wrote what I wanted to write,” she said.
She began the “Eternity Springs” series. Set in Colorado, the small town is “where broken hearts go to heal” — a requirement for all her main characters.
In Heartsong Cottage, Dan’s back story is particularly tragic. He was introduced as a secondary character in Miracle Road, so there was no changing his story, March explained.
“I like to write tortured heroes,” said March. “I think readers really respond to them.”
In talking about character development, March said she is not into super-alpha males.
“I’ve got to like them from the beginning.”
March, who describes her stories as “romantic women’s fiction,” says that two themes woven throughout her stories are family and friendship.
An early novel, The Bad Luck Wedding Dress, in the Western series “The Bad Luck Brides,” is set in historic Fort Worth. It is built around Trace McBride and his three young daughters, who are known as the “McBride Menaces.”
The characters who populate Eternity Springs chat as old friends would when they encounter each other.
March said her fiction allows her to “create the world where I wanted to live.”
Heartsong Cottage: An Eternity Springs Novel
- By Emily March
- St. Martin’s Paperbacks, $7.99