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Meet 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Christina Britton!!

It’s another big week with the Rebelles, with Rebelle guests today, tomorrow, and Thursday. Today we’re welcoming 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Christina Britton, whose manuscript WITH LOVE IN SIGHT is nominated for Best Historical Romance!

Christina Britton developed a passion for writing romance novels shortly after buying her first at the tender age of thirteen. Though for several years she turned to art and put brush to paper instead of pen, she has returned to her first love and is now writing full time. She spends her days dreaming of corsets and cravats and noblemen with tortured souls.

She lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area. A member of Romance Writers of America, she also belongs to her local chapter, Silicon Valley RWA. Her Golden Heart manuscript is going to be her debut novel: WITH LOVE IN SIGHT is set to be released by Diversion Books in early 2018.

Here’s a blurb for WITH LOVE IN SIGHT:

Miss Imogen Duncan has had her London Season, but her desperate shyness destroyed any chance for a match. Now an aging spinster, seeing ahead of her a life of servitude to her overbearing mother, she believes her chances for excitement are well and truly past. But a case of mistaken identity and an unintended kiss brings an excitement into her life that she never dreamed of.

Burying the guilt he suffers from his brother’s death a decade ago beneath a life of debauchery, Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge is content enough to meet willing widows in dark gardens to numb the pain. But he is wholly unprepared when an innocent miss stumbles into his life, turning his superficial world on its head.

 Drawn to the quiet, kind girl, Caleb forms an unlikely friendship with her. Soon, however, desire for her begins to invade their time together. Refusing to let Imogen be tainted by his demons, he does everything in his power to fight the growing attraction. But when friendship turns to passion he finds there’s more to Imogen than he first thought. Can Caleb convince Imogen to give him a chance – and to perhaps heal his soul in the process?

 I’m so excited that this will be published soon!! It sounds very romantic (I love mistaken identity and unintended kisses)! Congrats, Christina!!!

It sounds like WITH LOVE IN SIGHT FORCES the heroine Imogen out of her comfort zone. Christina’s here today to talk with us about how she learned to do that herself, with her writing career.

Take it away, Christina!!

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Getting Out of Your Safe Space

For me, becoming a published writer is a dream I’ve had for two and a half decades. Which basically means my dream is a fully mature adult who’s been legally able to drink for several years. It was carefully nurtured in my youth when it was just a seed of an idea, made big and robust with grandiose goals and visions of success. I scribbled away whenever I could, even hiding away in the back room at work. I finally managed to finish my very first manuscript. And then…

Nothing.

That manuscript lay moldering in a box for years. The physical remnants of the faint wisp of a dream. Why didn’t I do anything with that hard-won book? Why did I abandon it?

Life happened, I suppose: work, marriage, children. But I can’t blame my failure to move forward on any of those things. Now that I can think clearly about it, I can see there’s a certain comfort in the dream. There is possibility in it, a chance that it might someday become reality. Even with my manuscript laying dormant, gathering dust in storage, there was still that glimmer of hope that it could one day find its way onto bookstore shelves.

Keeping it in the box is safe.

But, as we’ve seen when heroes and heroines are too protective of their hearts, being safe does not guarantee happiness. It’s stale and stagnant. And I was so safe with that fledgling manuscript. I even went so far as to stop writing completely.

Until.

I do love that word. It implies all sorts of possibilities. I was a stay-at-home mom by the time my ‘until’ came, with my youngest about to start school. What was I going to do now? I agonized over it for weeks. Until…

There’s that lovely word again. Until I went to clean out an overstuffed drawer. Where I found the letter my late grandfather had written me years before. And I read forgotten words penned in his loving hand, his belief in me that one day I would be a published author.

That was my light bulb moment. A moment I can remember so very clearly and that decided my future. With the full blessing of my husband and kids, I poured myself into my writing; something I had let go fallow, yet now was rested and full of new life, the soil rich and ready to make the dream a reality. I pulled out that forgotten manuscript, and scrubbed and polished it until it was ready for the world.

I’d like to say a publisher fell in love with my book, offered me a contract with a huge advance, and now I’m a bestselling author. Of course, if that were true, I would not be so very blessed to be a 2017 Golden Heart Finalist and part of an amazing sisterhood of talented women. Instead I sent that manuscript in to agent after agent, casting aside my fears, shrugging off the confines of the safe path I had stuck to for so long. It was frightening. And heartbreaking. Because, though there was some interest, it was ultimately rejected. Many times. But I had started on this path, and I had people who believed in me. I couldn’t stop. The big question was, what in the world would I write now? I’d been cultivating the same book for two decades. The thought of starting something new terrified me. But disappointing my family was an impossibility.

Then something incredible happened: I came in first in the Romance category for the Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Contest. Not only was this an affirmation to me that I was on the right path despite all of the rejections I had received, but I also realized that the heroine from that short story was haunting me. She needed her own full-length book. And so I took that character, turned her hero into a rake of the worst sort, and in short order wrote ‘With Love in Sight’.

That book brought in its fair share of rejections as well. But then – finally! – a light at the end of the tunnel. I was offered a publishing contract. I signed with an amazing agent. I could almost taste the finish line. My gamble in emerging from my safe place was finally paying off.

But my journey wasn’t over. And it was about to get more difficult. The publisher closed, and I was left floundering, practically back at square one. Only this time, the hope that had sustained me before had been dashed to pieces.

I might have given up writing at that point. I certainly considered scurrying back into my safe place, where everything was calm and orderly and free of heartache. It was a very dark period for me. But I had so many people in my corner. My family, who continued to cheer me on. My writing crew, who made sure I got my butt in the chair and my hands on the keyboard. My agent, who worked tirelessly at re-homing my manuscript. I kept writing, even when it broke my heart to do so. Soon the future began to look a little brighter. I finished another manuscript. I even entered a little contest called the Golden Heart (you might have heard of it), in the off chance I might final. I was going to see this dream come to fruition no matter what.

Then, in an amazingly short period of time, I received two calls I only ever imagined getting. One, telling me I was a Golden Heart finalist. The second, from my agent telling me I had been offered a three-book deal.

It’s a frightening thing to put your heart on the line. That’s essentially what you’re doing when you hand your creation over to the world. It’s instinctual, I think, to keep it hidden and safe. But by taking a chance to see your dreams become reality, you’re also opening yourself up to an entire realm of incredible possibilities. My journey is far from done. I know there will be ups and downs. But I can’t wait to see where it all takes me. I am so very glad I left my safe place. And I don’t plan on ever going back there again.

 What about you, readers? Everyone’s journey is different. What inspired you to leave your safe place and put your heart out there?

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Connect with Christina Britton on social media:

Website: http://christinabritton.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChristinaBrittonAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cbrittonauthor

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cbrittonauthor/

 

35 responses to “Meet 2017 Golden Heart Finalist Christina Britton!!”

  1. Elisa Beatty says:

    Welcome, Christina!! It’s lovely to have you with us today!

    I love the reminder that we all have to leave our safe spaces to reach our dreams…and for romance writers, we often have to make the journey through fear over and over and over again.

    Two years ago, knowing that my own complicated life just wasn’t a good fit with the fast pace of traditional publishing, I took a wild leap into self-publishing…and that meant creating a whole new persona, Lara Archer (since, at the time, I thought I might want to trad publish my Elisa Beatty books in the future…and still may go that route someday).

    It was a scary thing to do, setting out with a name nobody knew, using all sorts of technical skills I didn’t really possess yet, not knowing if it would all just vanish into the ether. But it’s been great so far, and I’m so glad I did it!! My complicated life has only gotten more complicated, and I’d still be unpublished if I didn’t make that leap.

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    • Thank you so much Elisa and all the Rubies for having me! It’s such an honor to be featured on your blog!

      That is so incredible, to take that leap with a whole new persona and everything. It’s amazing what new horizons we will pursue to see that dream come true! I wish you all the success in the world! <3

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  2. C.R. Grissom says:

    Christina,

    I loved your post, and relate to the premise of keeping your story safely hidden from rejection. I’m thrilled you chose a different path and cannot wait to read your series.

    Good luck in Orlando!

    C.R. Grissom

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  3. Jennifer Bray-Weber says:

    What a lovely story of your journey up to now, Christina. I bet your grandfather would be very proud of you right now. UNTIL you succeed more. Then he would be even more proud. I’ve no doubt there are great things in store for you.

    Wonderful blurb. Good luck!

    Jenn!

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  4. This is such a powerful story, Christina. And you tell it so beautifully. 🙂 Congratulations on your final and your contract – what a phenomenal one-two punch!

    For me, the catalyst to fight to make my publishing dream into a reality came out of a loss. My brother had just passed and losing him made me take a look at what I was writing and why and refocused me on the goal of putting more love and understanding into the world. Though it would be the next year before I joined RWA.

    Thank you for sharing your story and good luck in Orlando!

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    • I’m so sorry for your loss, Vivi. I love how you turned your grief into such a positive. I wish you wonderful things in your career! Thank you so much for your kind words! <3

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  5. Your post made me stop and think. I’ve realized that every time I’ve taken a risk (the kind that has a good payoff, like starting my own business, teaching an exercise class, taking a trip to Europe, etc) I’ve always had someone encouraging me, even to the point of pushing! I’m not naturally a risk taker, so thank you to everyone who has ever put their hand on my back and given me a shove!

    Christina, I’m so glad you found that letter from your grandfather. I can’t wait to buy your books!

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    • Patricia, thank you so much! Having a strong support system from the people we love is certainly an important part. I know I wouldn’t have been able to push forward without my family cheering me on. I’m so happy you have people to encourage you! <3

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  6. Heather Leonard says:

    This is a great post. It reminds me of the Theodore Roosevelt quote, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

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  7. Liz Talley says:

    Congrats on the book sale!

    Your story is very similar to mine. I wrote a Regency romance for fun and it took about three and a half years. I shoved it back into a drawer and did life for a while and then came back to it. Finding RWA online was pretty much the catalyst for me. I took a chance, paid what felt like an enormous part of our budget for membership and found my people.

    Enjoy your days in the sun! It’s a great place to be 🙂

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  8. Tamara Hogan says:

    Great post, Christina. For me, my decision to write my first manuscript wasn’t a heart thing at all, but more of a “put up or shut up” challenge to myself. For years, I’d told myself that I’d write a novel someday, but the years kept passing, and the calendar pages kept flipping. To put it indelicately, I had a “sh*t or get off the pot” moment. Was I going to do this or not? If not now, when? And then I got the idea that kick-started me writing my first manuscript, which became a 2009 GH finalist, and sold in a three-book deal. 😉

    My career hasn’t quite gone the way I initially anticipated (come back Friday to read more about that) but I think I’m a writer today largely because I triple-dog-dared myself into being one. I picked up a pen, and just…started writing.

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  9. Jennifer Henderson says:

    Christina,
    Thanks for sharing your story about taking a chance, sticking with something even though it’s hard, and the power of people believing in you.
    For me, I decided to take a chance and write because my sister was at my side. We started writing together, and although I had no creative writing experience, she had a creative writing degree, a rather helpful thing when trying to birth a novel.
    The power of supportive family and friends is not to be underestimated!

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    • Thank you so much Jennifer! You are so right about the power of supportive family and friends. How wonderful that you’re writing with your sister! What a terrific bond!

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  10. What a lovely story, Christina! The catalyst that pulled me out of my safe place: having THREE daughters. If I wanted to raise strong and courageous women I needed to be one. 🙂 Good thoughts on your new series and much Ruby love!

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  11. Darynda says:

    Welcome and congrats, Christina! What a lovely post. I loved every word. What an incredible gift your grandfather left you.

    I, too, started writing at a very young age only to allow life to get in the way later and then received many rejections on the journey to publication.

    But I think there is a time for everything. I truly believe that had I been published earlier with one of my firs manuscripts, I would not be where I am today.

    I cannot wait to read this book! I adore historical romance. It was and still is my first love. And your ms, no, your characters, sound amazing! I’m a little giddy with anticipation right now. Eeeep.

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  12. Welcome and congrats, Christina! What a lovely post. I loved every word. What an incredible gift your grandfather left you.

    I, too, started writing at a very young age only to allow life to get in the way later and then received many rejections on the journey to publication.

    But I think there is a time for everything. I truly believe that had I been published earlier with one of my firs manuscripts, I would not be where I am today.

    I cannot wait to read this book! I adore historical romance. It was and still is my first love. And your ms, no, your characters, sound amazing! I’m a little giddy with anticipation right now. Eeeep.

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    • Thank you so much, Darynda! You are so right in that timing is important. I’m certain that things would have wound up quite different had I pushed forward at such an early age, and not in a good way.
      Thank you again for your kind words! I can’t wait for you to meet Imogen and Caleb! <3

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  13. Heather D McCollum says:

    So nice to meet you! Congratulations. I love the story about your grandfather’s letter. And my muse is nearly an old lady now, definitely able to drink legally! LOL!

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  14. Melonie says:

    How fabulous it was that letter you found from your grandfather that gave you the push you needed. Way to be brave and push out of your comfort zone like a true Rebelle.

    What a journey so far, those trials and tribulations make the victories sweeter 🙂 Congrats on the GH Final AND the 3-book deal!

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  15. suzanne says:

    The image of you re-finding your grandfather’s letter squeezed my heart! What a wonderful piece of encouragement. And what courage for you to push on, because I totally agree with you, it’s safe to be in a dream than it is to live the dream. Great work!

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    • Thank you so much Suzanne! Having that bit of encouragement from him, a man I truly loved and looked up to, was huge for me. I wonder now if he knew then how much those words would mean to me. <3

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  16. Emily Sullivan says:

    Congrats on the book deal! Your book sounds wonderful and I can’t wait to read it! Love reading about how your grandpa was still able to inspire you. That encouragement is so important and it really can sustain us during the low times.

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  17. Tracy Brody says:

    Love the blurb for your book, Christina, and can see why it’s SOLD! Woo-hoo! I love that the letter from your grandfather was impetus to revive your writing. Serious, “Awww!” moment.

    I’d say what inspired me to leave my “safe place” was something I learned as a scrapbooking consultant convention. They said if you have a dream, you need to own it. Write it down and share it. When I first started writing, I was writing screenplays and wasn’t going to tell anyone because I was afraid they’d laugh seeing as I was a housewife, over 40, former business major and banker, with no experience, but I decided to claim it. When I’d tell people the story, no one laughed at me. In fact, they’d listen to the whole, drawn out version and that helped convince me I did indeed have a gift for storytelling. Just taken a while to master the craft, especially after switching to books.

    Good luck and see you in Orlando!

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    • Thank you so much Tracy! And I understand how nerve-wracking it is to own the status of ‘writer’. I think it goes along with that whole Imposter Syndrome. I’m so glad you took a chance and put your heart out there!
      Good luck to you as well, and can’t wait to see you at RWA!

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  18. Elisa Beatty says:

    Thanks for guest blogging with us today, Christina!! It’s been a great discussion.

    Keep on making your grandfather proud!!!

    Good luck in Orlando!

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  19. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    Christina, I very much enjoyed “your story” & admire your perseverance. The part where you found your grandfather’s letter to you was a golden find right when you needed it.

    “What inspired you to leave your safe place and put your heart out there?”

    I’m not sure I even have an answer for that other than to say I was told about the RSSWWF by a FB friend whom I’ve never met in person. I truly believe it was “cosmic interference” that got me here. What has kept me here (& in the chatroom most every AM) is the encouragement, honesty and genuine desire to help and cheer on myself and other writers…burgeoning or veteran.

    Congrats & best of luck!

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