Hello friends, I got some very exciting news to share with you! As some of you might know from my writing tips blog posts, I’m a German self-published author who writes romance and cosy crime novels. A few weeks ago I published my very first English book—and I want to share a secret with you: it is inspired by a true story! My very personal love story.
Fiction or true story?
Wait a second, did I just say true love story? Yep, I did. But that doesn’t mean that the whole book is exactly how it happened in real life, of course—that would be boring, and I also wanted to make sure that no one from my social circle feels offended. It’s still a fictional book with some drama, fun side characters and a catching love story. So what’s the story about? As readers love tropes, here are some for you:
- Love at first sight
- Travel romance
- Strangers to lovers
- Opposites attract
- Multicultural couple
- Unique meet-cute
- Italian summer rom-com
- Slow burn
- He falls first
Book Blurb: Just one night in Rome
They live on opposite ends of the globe: Is one unforgettable evening enough to forever intertwine the lives of two strangers?
When Josie books her trip to Italy, she has only one thing in mind: to escape from her ex and men in general. In Rome fate deals a curious hand as she finds herself sharing a hostel room with the globetrotter Leo. Beyond his outrageously good looks, the Chilean backpacker unsettles Josie with his persistent questions, causing her to rethink her life choices. Leo invites her on the adventure of her life: An adventurous night roaming the streets of Rome. Sparks fly intensely, however Leo lives on the other side of the world, and Josie doesn’t know if she will ever see him again. Is one magical night enough to turn her whole world upside down?
The Background Story
One of the questions I get asked the most as an author is: How long does it take you to write a book? To give you an honest view behind the scenes, I will share my process of writing Just one night in Rome with you.
Friday, May 18, 2018 – Rome
It is the last evening of my trip to Italy, and I am sitting alone in my hostel room, questioning whether it was the right decision to end my last relationship. One of my roommates returns, and from a brief small talk, unexpectedly unfolds the longest conversation of my life. Within one night, my whole life is turned upside down, and I experience my personal Just one night in Rome.
Friday, November 1, 2019 – Santiago de Chile
A few days ago, I moved to Chile, and it is the first day of NaNoWriMo, during which I write the first chapter of my new novel Just one night in Rome. Within two months, I complete the rough draft of the first volume and decide that it will be a duology.
Thursday, August 13, 2020 – Hanover
I post for the first time on Instagram about the book and a handful of beta readers offer to read the first book. Their feedback is encouraging, funny and ALL of them ask for the second part, which makes me finally finish the draft of it.
Friday, October 9, 2020 – Paris
The first literary agency rejects it, stating that „publishers are currently flooded with (New Adult) romance material.“ The next one wants me to change the Chilean love interest into an American. I decline, as the cultural differences are fundamental to the concept of the book 💔. I talk to other authors and they encourage me to write something else for now. I start two new manuscripts, but my passion project doesn’t let go of me.
Tuesday, October 11, 2022 – Amsterdam
After not being able to find a literary agency for the Opposite Worlds Duology, I submit the book directly to a publishing house for the first time. In Germany you can send your novel directly to a publishing house, but the chances are higher over a literary agency.
Wednesday, October 26, 2022
There it is: a response from a publishing house. The email preview says, „Thank you for your application“ and I expect a rejection. On the website it said it could take up to six months until I would get a response but surprisingly the publishing house shows interest. They ask if I can rewrite the duology into a single volume. I send two brief proposals and the waiting game begins again. Every day I check my emails. For the first time in years, the NaNoWriMo isn’t going well for me, and now that a publishing house is interested in my novel I get a big creativity blockade. Something feels off, but I can’t name it.
I get to travel to Chile for a wedding—it’s my first time returning to my former home after the pandemic, and I fall in love with the country all over again. A country that plays a major part in the second book, which publishing houses want me to cut out.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022 – Santiago de Chile
The long-awaited feedback from the publisher arrives. The email preview sounds formal, and I don’t even want to read what they have to say, but I gather the courage and—WAIT, WHAT?! There it is, the acceptance of my passion project, and I laugh and cry at the same time. My boyfriend doesn’t understand what’s going on. „There is this publishing house, this really amazing publisher,“ I explain to him in English, „and they want our story.“
Was it meant to be that I received my acceptance in Chile?
Monday, November 21, 2022
I begin the process of cutting down the novel, having to remove 44.000 words. I clarify questions with the publishing house and get the contract. That’s when I realize a german clause that sounds very innocent but would mean a „open-end“ contract duration. I negotiate and explain that this would mean I would give up the copyright of my own book, which is not the norm. The publisher insists on the clause. There it is my dream right in front of me, but my gut feeling isn’t pleased. Once again, I seek advice from other authors and come to the conclusion that a good collaboration cannot be based on unfair terms. I won’t give up my copyright completely, especially not for my personal love story. It’s like the wind has been taken out of my sails, and for the next few weeks, all I want to do is hide in bed. Strangely, coping with turning down a publishing offer is harder than dealing with a conventional rejection of an agency.
Was it the right decision? Yes.
Does it still feel like a shattered dream? Definitely.
Thursday, February 4, 2023 – Hanover
One of my beta readers from 2020 contacts me on Instagram and asks when the book will be released. Even after 2.5 years, the story has stayed with her. If a reader believes in my book so much, shouldn’t I believe in it too?
March 18, 2023
The first round of editing begins and I decide to publish the book through self-publishing.
May 18, 2023
Five years have passed since the night in Rome, and I am glad to have written down the experiences because, without the book, I wouldn’t remember many details anymore.
July 1, 2023 – Amsterdam
After five years of doubts and tears, the world can finally read our story. I get pictures, videos and so many sweet messages sent by readers and bookstore owners, who fell in love with the adventures of Josie and Leo.
August 3, 2023
The English version of Just one night in Rome gets published and readers all around the world review the book. Within two weeks more internationals bought the English version than German readers and I get a lot of super sweet private messages. Shortly afterwards I organize a book signing with a book stores and the german readers get three very cool illustrated character cards and I even get my very first own signing stamp.
One summer. Two strangers. An adventure to remember …
If I you would like to check the story out or even get your own copy (print or ebook), here is a link to the Amazon page for Just one night in Rome and the final of the duology Just one more Adventure which gets published on the 1 october is available for pre-order now.