Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Call Story

I just have to mention again how amazing the past few days have been :) The congratulations I have received from members of the romance community - both blogland and through Romance Writers of Australia have just blown me away. Romance writers really are the best!

So, I guess I'd better tell you what happened after the end of New Voices way back in November?

Well - it turned out winning the competition was the easy bit.

My original deadline for my book was Christmas. So off I went, typing madly away, and sending chunks of my book off to my editor for feedback. All was going well... right?

By the end of November, and 19K into the book, my editor called - there were issues with my story. So I
threw out at least half of what I'd written, and tried again.

This time I got stopped at 27K words. This was about ten days before Christmas, and the email and subsequent phone call telling me all that wasn't working...well, they were just awful. Of course my editor was right (If I was honest, I knew it wasn't working), but I was very low and felt like a complete failure.

Surely by now Mills & Boon regretted choosing me as their winner?

With my editor's encouragement, I took a break over Christmas, and didn't start writing again until 2nd January. Amazingly, my editor still seemed to have faith in me!

This time I threw out everything - leaving less that 3000 words from the original book. If you read my competition entries, both the pivotal moment and 90% of chapter two is gone. My hero has totally changed. The book is SO much better for it.

I was determined to write my way this time, and while still taking on everything I learnt from my mentors during New Voices (and my editor subsequently), to trust my instincts.

The feedback on my first few chapters was very positive, as was the feedback on the first half of the book a few weeks later. We decided on a new deadline - 10th Feb.

I wrote like a mad thing, with my support team (including Nikki and Rach) getting me through. But I did
it - I subbed the book on time. A whole book in five weeks - this was amazing for slow typing, procrastinator me!

I got my revisions back quick smart (via phone call), which I managed to turn around in four days, and then had some final tiny sentence level tweaks to make. 

Then, on Friday, I got "the email". My book is to be published, and they want my next one too :)

So while I didn't get "the call", I'll claim my revision stage call as my call :) 

My editor called me yesterday with more details about release dates and so on - my book will come out as part of a New Voices anthology in the UK in October this year, and then as a Harlequin Romance in the US and M&B Sweet in Australia in 2012. My next book is due later this year!

It was hard - much harder than I anticipated when I won New Voices - but absolutely worth it.

And no... it hasn't sunk in yet :)