Every year I donate a guest blog spot to the Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes. This year’s winner is the absolutely adorable Valerie Bowman. I met Valerie in person at RWA and when she told me her story, I knew you’d enjoy it. Now let me turn this over to my honored Guest of the Day, Valerie Bowman.
Hi everyone, I’m thrilled to be here on Beyond Her Book celebrating the release of the third historical romance novel in my Secret Brides trilogy! I met up with Barbara at the Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta last summer and told her the tale of how I ended up on the reality TV show, Say Yes to the Dress, Atlanta. We had so much fun talking about it that I thought I’d share a few of the details with all of you today.
Here’s how I got the bright idea to apply and how I made it onto the show!
On New Year’s Eve 2012, my tall, dark, and handsome fiancé asked me to marry him. He surprised me, I must admit, because he didn’t do it with much fanfare. Not that I expected or wanted that but had he asked me to get dressed up for a big night on the town, I think I might have been on to something. Instead we simply went out for pizza that night. Wearing jeans. And when we got back home and were watching celebrities ring in the new year on TV, he quietly got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Without a ring. Now before you become outraged at that last bit, please note that this man knows me well enough to know that I would want to pick out my own ring, thank you very much (control freak, cough, cough) and so, I said yes, wearing jeans in front of the TV and ringless. It was very simple and romantic. Sigh.
I’ve always wanted to get married in October and that particular October was very busy, my first book, Secrets of a Wedding Night, debuted that month and I was so nervous and excited about that huge goal coming true that I didn’t have time or energy to plan a wedding at the same time. So we decided to wait until the following October. And that’s why it came to pass that in early March 2013, I was spending a Saturday morning looking at wedding dress photos on the internet. I posted the pictures of the ones I liked the most on Pinterest. From there, I pasted a link to the Pinterest album to my Facebook page and asked my friends on Facebook which dress they liked best. As the day progressed, I got votes for all of the different dresses. Then one of my friends, Anne Barton, author of Once She Was Tempted, posted, “You should apply to be on Say Yes to the Dress!”
Hmm. I thought, I wonder how that works. I have to admit I had never really seen that reality TV show, though I’d certainly heard about it. On a whim, I searched online for How to Apply to Be on Say Yes to the Dress. Lo and behold, the Atlanta version of the show was taking applications for brides right then. I live in Jacksonville, FL so Atlanta was perfect for me. I spent about five minutes filling out an online application. They wanted to know what my ‘hook’ was. What would make my episode of Say Yes stand out from all the others?
Being an author, I know all about hooks. I wrote that I am a romance novelist who writes about brides (my current trilogy is called the Secret Brides series) and I just happen to BE a bride myself. I hit send.
Oh well. I thought. No harm done if I never hear back.
Turns out, the producers loved that angle and by that Thursday afternoon (less than a week after filling out the application) I got a call from the casting director. She asked me a few questions like who I would bring with me. In my panic (remember, I’d never seen the show) I said I’d bring my friend Tonya (who LOVES to shop for wedding dresses) and my sister Melanie, who’ll tell it like it is. “What about your mother?” she asked. “Aren’t you going to bring your mother?” No. I said. I’m not. Later, I realized this was quite out of the ordinary. I think it won more points. Ha. But my mother lives in Illinois and I couldn’t imagine her traveling to Georgia to be on a TV show. At any rate, they called me back the next week and asked me when I could come and tape the show! I set up a taping date less than two weeks later. Oh no! I would have to convince my sister and my friend Tonya, who knew nothing of my antics, to come with me! And I had to get time off work and be in Atlanta on Friday, March 29th. It was only the beginning!
For more on my journey through reality TV land, join me tomorrow at Romance at Random where I’ll explain all about gathering my posse and traveling up to Atlanta. You’d be surprised by the things that go through your mind when you’re about to have your 15 minutes of fame!
One lucky commenter today will win a copy print (U.S.-only) or e- (all other territories, void where prohibited) of my new book, Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage and be sure to follow the tour all week to find out about my BIG HUGE SUPER STUPENDOUS giveaway at the end. You won’t believe this one!
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging story lines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands!
Valerie’s first Regency series from St. Martin’s Press has garnered acclaim including a nomination for Best First Historical from RT Book Reviews, a BookList starred review, and a Publishers Weekly starred review. Her work has been called “Too delightful to miss” by New York Times bestselling author, Lisa Kleypas and “Everything a romance should be” by New York Times bestselling author, Sarah MacLean.
Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. Valerie loves to hear from readers. Find her on the web at Facebook, Twitter, and at her website.
Bottom Line: I know the secret of the giveaway and I’m not telling, but it is totally awesome and you’ll never guess what it is.