For Maris Soule, developing her writing skills offered her respite from the challenges of raising a family and living where her nearest neighbor was ¼ of a mile away.
“I needed something more than Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street, so one day I told my husband I thought I’d try writing a book. He said, ‘Do it.’ He may not have really thought I would succeed, but bless him, he was there to support me,” Maris said. “It took me almost 4 years to learn the craft (and I’m still learning) and sell my first romance.”
And, succeed she did. Modestly, she considers herself lucky because her first romance became the give-away book for launching the Harlequin Temptation line. She has since published 25 of her romances through Harlequin, Silhouette, and Bantam.
Maris, who is a Killer Nashville Claymore Award finalist, believes she’s come a long way in her process and has since ventured into mysteries with The Crows and As the Crow Flies, novels in her PJ Benson series.
In 2012, she submitted the first 50 pages of the manuscript for A Killer Past, with the hopes of winning a Claymore and having the money to attend the Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference, she said.
“What an exciting moment when I received the phone call that A Killer Past was one of the top ten finalists,” Maris said. “Alas, my entry didn’t win, but having that award helped in my search for an agent to represent the story. Within three months of signing a contract with the Loiacono Literary Agency, they found a home for the book with Robert Hale Ltd.”
Now, A Killer Past is not only being distributed in the US and Canada, but released as a hardcover in the UK and as an e-book.
The idea for A Killer Past came to Maris about four years ago when she and her husband were walking their old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Zuri. They joked that Zuri used to bounce along next to them, instead of tagging along.
“Heck, we could remember when we used to have more bounce in our steps. Since I’d recently watched an episode of Nikita, I laughingly said, ‘I wonder what Nikita will be like when she hits her 70s.’ And that’s how Mary Harrington came into being.”
Maris will be attending the Killer Nashville Writers’ Conference in 2015.