Day’s interest in writing started at an early age. "There were four kids in our family, the three girls all close together in age. We were home from school one winter day because we’d had a blizzard and Mom... Well, she was practically pulling her hair out in an attempt to keep us entertained.
"We’d fought our way through any number of board games, had read all the books in the house and were basically making a total nuisance of ourselves. Out of sheer desperation, Mom told me that if I didn’t have any books to read, I should go write one.
"So, I did. It was a historical. A Cinderella story set in the Wild West with a wicked stepmother and two wicked stepsisters. As I recall, those two stepsisters bore an uncanny resemblance to my own two sisters. I guess I was ticked off with them at the time!"
Those initial attempts, rooted in elementary school, continued all the way through college. "Although I’d thought about becoming a writer in high school, I majored in Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. I was going to be another Jane Goodall…right up until I went camping for the first time. It forced me to reconsider a lifetime spent without the basic necessities of life — like running water and flush toilets."
So she dropped out to reconsider her career choices. That’s when she met her future husband, Frank. "It was a whirlwind courtship. We married five months after meeting."
The two went into business together, first running a film library in Berkeley, then remodeling houses in Seattle, Washington, before opening up a produce store. "Frank is great at retail. He’s a natural salesman. But I’m not. With a retail operation," Day says with a laugh, "you have to be nice to the customers. That’s tough since I’m an introvert who’d rather hide in the employee lounge with my nose in a book. When I became pregnant with our son, I told Frank I’d like to find another line of work. He was incredibly supportive. He asked me what I wanted to do and without even thinking I said, ‘Write. I want to write romances.’ The next day we drove into Seattle and bought our first computer." And the rest is history!
Well, not quite. "Harlequin returned my first attempt — three mercifully short chapters. They said that although my writing was competent, the plot of my story was melodramatic and my characters stereotypical.
"But I took competent to mean good. That one word gave me all the encouragement I needed. The next book received an even more positive response — and a request for a revision. Although they ultimately turned that second story down, I never grew discouraged. It certainly never occurred to me to give up."
Then tragedy struck. Day’s younger sister, Nancy, was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died the following year. "It was a very dark time," Day confesses.
"We’d recently moved into this tiny condominium outside of San Diego, California, and I didn’t know a lot of people. My son had just turned three and I spent the summer hiding in our home with the drapes drawn, playing with him. Finally my husband — out of sheer desperation — told me to start writing again or go get a job at McDonald’s flipping burgers.
"It worked. I sat down and wrote a slapstick romance called Jinxed. After three months of depression, I needed some comedic relief and that book provided it. It was my first Harlequin Romance and I dedicated it to Nancy." [Note: A brand new version of Jinxed is part of Day's Wacky Women Series. Look for Once Upon a Jinx, available at all major digital retailers.]
As for the future? "I now write for the digital market. I have a ton of ideas. Last time I checked my schedule I was booked several years ahead. And considering I come up with book ideas all the time…well, let’s just say that I have a lot of writing ahead of me!"
Day Leclaire is a USA Today bestselling author and a three-time winner of both The Colorado Award of Excellence and The Golden Quill Award. She's won Romantic Times Magazine's Career Achievement, and Love and Laughter's awards, the Holt Medallion, the Bestseller's Best Award, and has received an impressive eleven nominations for the romance industry's most prestigious award, Romance Writers of America RITA© Award. Day ended her run with Harlequin with the release of her 60th book and is now self-publishing romances which continue to touch the heart and make you care about her characters as much as she does. In Day's own words, "I adore writing romances, and can't think of a better way to spend each day." Day’s now totally focused on her self-publishing career and hopes to convert the entire reading world to digital.