Collins makes Canadian debut after decades of hard work

Former Maple Ridge resident sees her book published with Harlequin

Former Maple Ridge resident Dani Collins knows a little bit about perseverance.

The author wrote and submitted for 25 years before selling to her dream publisher last year.

Collins finds herself know writing for Harlequin, founded in 1949 in Winnipeg, and known for love stories, ranging from sweet to passionate, homespun to glitzy.

“Why Harlequin? Let’s start with the fact they’re still alive in today’s post-apocalyptic publishing landscape. Plus, their books are as fun to write as they are to read,” says Collins, who now lives in Christina Lake.

The classic beach read is much like the beach: an escape from our day to day lives.

Collins writes for one of Harlequin’s most escapist lines, Presents, known for its tycoon heroes, exotic settings, and drama-fraught journeys to happily ever after.

“My first book with them actually released in January, but only in the U.K. and Australia,” Collins explains.

“I have an indie title and a digital title with Champagne Books, but neither of those books came out in stores. This is my print debut in my own country. I was so excited when I realized it would hit shelves on Canada Day, especially since the heroine is Canadian.”

She said if you’re recollecting your grandmother’s Harlequins with their virginal English heroines, you’ll find they’ve evolved.

“Definitely they’re from all corners. I just pitched an Indian heroine and she was well received. Heroines still have virginal qualities like naivety or at least a less cynical outlook than the hero, but they’re also savvy career women, perhaps down on their luck, but educated and strong willed,” says Collins. “Falling in love is not their only aspiration.”

Despite spending  more than two decades trying to break into print publishing, the doors opened once her first deal was completed.

Five weeks after selling to Harlequin Mills & Boon, she signed with Champagne Books, a small press in Calgary, then indie-published a romantic comedy the same year. She has since signed contracts for eight books and can usually be found writing.

Proof Of Their Sin doesn’t play out in Canada.

Instead, the reader is transported from a white tie ball in New York to the fashion houses of Milan to a villa in Sicily and the beach on Lake Como. It makes for a glorious escape even if you stay home for the long weekend.

Proof Of Their Sin is Collins’ second book with Harlequin, but she’s already working on her fifth.

• Proof Of Their Sin is available at book, grocery, and drug stores. It’s also available digitally at all the popular online retailers as well as at eHarlequin.com.