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Local Author Hits the Bestseller List

Tina Wheeler Celebrates Her First Christian Romantic Suspense Novel

Article by Susan Lanier-Graham

Photography by Christine Andert—Picture Lady Photography LLC

Originally published in North Peoria Lifestyle

Tina Wheeler watched her romantic suspense novel, Ranch Under Fire, a Love Inspired Suspense paperback published by Harlequin, debut recently at #10 on the Publishers Weekly Bestseller list. But her "overnight success" was years in the making. "My advice to every aspiring author is to learn your craft and write, write, write," says Wheeler.

Tell us about yourself and your writing background.

I was born and raised in Arizona and taught school for twenty-five years. Twenty years ago, I was skimming through career guides at the Foothills Library with my daughter. I came across the address for a romance writers association and decided to try it. After a few years of learning and practicing, I sold a romantic suspense to a small press, became a Kindle Scout winner (like American Idol for books) with a romantic mystery and self-published eight cozy mysteries. I finally sold to Harlequin in 2022. 

Who has helped you on your publishing journey?

My membership in Valley of the Sun Romance Writers ( paved the way for me. I learned how to write and market my novels. Plus, networking provided insights into the industry and led me to critique partners who have become lifelong friends. I meet with several published authors at Cucina Tagliani in Arrowhead twice a month. 

Ranch Under Fire is available from Barnes & Noble and on Amazon. Ranch Showdown is available in late July.