Friday, January 31, 2014

Romance Author Says Yes To The Dress

by Joyce Lamb)

Valerie Bowman, author of "Secrets of a Runaway Bride."(Photo: Valerie Bowman)

Valerie Bowman, author of Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage and the upcoming The Unexpected Duchess (April 29), landed on TLC's reality show Say Yes to the Dress and she said … no spoilers, sorry. You can watch her episode tonight (Friday, Jan. 31) at 9 p.m. ET on TLC (there's a link to TLC's website below). Here, Valerie shares her adventure with HEA …

Valerie: Last spring, I was innocently sitting around my house on a Saturday, browsing the Web for pictures of bridal gowns. I was engaged to be married and needed a dress. And, yeah, I'm the type of bride who would pick a simple, inexpensive gown off a website cuz that's how I roll. So, I started posting pictures of the gowns I liked the most to my Pinterest page. (They're still there, by the way. I also have a board full of people with chickens, but I digress.)

Then, I headed over to my Facebook page and posted a link to the board. "Help me pick a wedding dress!" I suggested to my friends. Romance author Anne Barton posted, "You should go on Say Yes to the Dress!" Well, readers, I did it. I quickly searched the Web for Say Yes to the Dress casting and soon found myself filling out a simple online form. "What is your 'hook'?" they asked. "I'm a romance author who writes about brides and who is a bride," I offered.

It must have done the trick. The producers called me a few days later, and two weeks after that, I was on my way to Atlanta to film an episode. I brought along my friends Candice and Tonya, my sister and my cousin. My mother-in-law (who just so happens to live in Atlanta) met us there.

First, to answer your burning questions! No, there was no makeup artist or hair stylist. They didn't pay me a dime to be on the show, and I had to cover all my own travel expenses. They did offer me a discount at a local hotel, however. There was no food, and we were told to have a large breakfast before we arrived because shooting lasts several hours (we were there from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. with nary a snack!).

They encouraged me to wear something with a belt or waistband so there would be something to hook the mic to. No houndstooth! It looks crazy on camera.

The interviews were probably the most interesting. It's a lot of answering questions while remembering to speak in the past or future tense as necessary and no mentioning of the wedding date because they don't know when the episode will air.

At the end of it, I got to see how the great American pastime of reality TV happens. I got to meet some great people who you can tell truly enjoy their work. "I'm a storyteller, too," the camera woman told me. I loved that.

Yes, the consultant and the camerawoman saw me in my underwear. No, they don't film that part. THANK HEAVENS! Yes, you have a mic hooked to you the entire time, and it's a chore to take it all off to go to the bathroom.

Meeting Robin and Monte (the bridal consultants) and Lori (the owner of the salon) was such a treat. I even gave all of them a signed copy of my novel, Secrets of a Runaway Bride. And in the end, I did, indeed say yes to the dress! I won't give away which one or what it looked like, but tune in tonight for my episode, By the Book. It airs at 9 p.m. ET tonight (Jan. 31) on TLC.

And the REALLY big news is that I'm giving away the dress! Be sure to check my website on Saturday (Feb. 1) for the details of my giveaway!

Do you have any questions about what it's like behind the scenes at Say Yes to the Dress? I'm happy to answer them!

(Photo: St. Martin's)

"The Unexpected Duchess" by Valerie Bowman.(Photo: St. Martin's Paperbacks)