Thursday, November 30, 2006

Writer's Wednesday with Maxine Sullivan

Today we have the fabulous tale of Maxine Sullivan, a newbie Desire author who made a fabulous decision to pitch in a very unusual way which led to her first sale! (And check out her first cover below - humona humona!)

From Maxine

I currently live in Melbourne, Australia but have traveled to New Zealand, the UK, and USA. In my own backyard, I have visited and lived in many places in Australia, including spending many years in Darwin in the tropical north, where some of my books are set. Therefore I find it very fitting that I sold my first manuscript on January 26th 2006, which is Australia Day in my country. I am married to Geoff, who has proven his hero status many times over the years. We have two handsome sons and an assortment of previously abandoned animals. Romance novels offer such wonderful affirmations about love and relationships that I can't imagine not wanting to share my stories with others.

The Call

If anyone had told me a year ago that in 2006 I would sell four books to Silhouette Desire and one single title book to another publisher, I would have said they were crazy. But on January 26th this year my dream of being a published author came true. I became an overnight success – after twenty years. J

And it almost didn’t happen, but I’m so thrilled it did. You see, I’d been feeling incredibly disheartened about my writing. The emotional rollercoaster of years of submitting manuscripts and being asked by editors to revise, only to receive a rejection later on was getting harder to take. Nothing was working no matter what I did.

And then I made a decision and for the first time ever I truly meant it. I could give up writing or I could go back to writing for the sheer love of it. I chose the latter and somehow that was the turning point.

Of course that still didn’t stop me from trying to make my own luck. I would still enter contests, and still send in manuscripts, but now I had no expectations. I would see what came of it all, but I wasn’t going to stress about it. I would just continue with my writing.

And it was one of those contests that led to my first sale. Having decided to enter the Desire Pitch Challenge on, I submitted a couple of sentences about one of my manuscripts and won the chance with 9 others to do an online pitch to the senior editor of Silhouette Desire, Melissa Jeglinski. During the pitch, Melissa asked a couple of questions about the story, then said to send her the full manuscript.

Two weeks later I was having my morning coffee when I received an email from my agent asking me to call her before I went to work. I froze. I told my husband and he said to get on the phone. I said I couldn't and that it was probably a rejection anyway. Talk about fear of success!

Anyway, I bit the bullet and picked up the phone. My agent said she had some good news for me - that the senior editor had called her and she loved my manuscript and wanted to buy it. I was stunned, then I told my agent that I had to tell my husband. I threw open the study door to tell him but he was already waiting on the other side and had heard me talking. So we were laughing and talking and I was saying I couldn't believe it. I'm not one to scream and shout but you can bet I was happy, if not a little numb.

Now, ten months later, I haven’t stopped smiling. With that one call from an editor every word I’d ever written was validated for me. I’ve since sold another three manuscripts to Silhouette Desire. It took me a long time to get here, but as an author friend recently said - God’s timing is perfect. I’ve got to agree.

Maxine’s first book, “The Millionaire’s Seductive Revenge” is due for release in North America in February 2007, followed by “The Tycoon’s Blackmailed Mistress” in May 2007, and “The Executive’s Vengeful Seduction” in August 2007.

For more, check out her website!


  1. Congratulations, Maxine! That's a wonderful story. I love those "overnight success after 20 years" stories! They are such a validation of effort and determination. Looking forward to your books.

  2. Looovely story Maxine! Especially the four books sold in a year, and after such a drought!!! what a wonderful happy ending.

    And everyone back-off - the guy on her cover is MINE!!!!!!


  3. Maxine, your story will inspire many! Can you tell us those nine little powerful words???

  4. Maxine,

    I love your story of persistence. Do you still pinch yourself, checking that you're really and 'overnight' success?

    Ally - you can't have the guy on the cover. Sorry. Several of us already have dibs on him!


  5. Ladies, thanks for your warm welcome. It's great to be here and I hope my story inspires other writers to never give up their dream.

    Annie, yes, I still pinch myself. It's just such a wonderful feeling to sit back and think about all the good things that have happened since I sold my book. And then there's the excitement about seeing my first cover (he's all mine, ladies!), and soon it will be on the shelves in early 2007. It just blows my mind.


  6. Oh my, I love that cover. I know, I know...but I am a sucker :) And...since I am in the US...I get it first! he he he he

  7. I agree with Ally, what an incredible happy ending. As for the guy on the cover, I'll fight you for him Annie! Can't wait to get the book!

  8. Catfight, catfight!!! See what a gorgeous man can do round these parts?!? :p

    Wonderful story, Maxine. It amazing to read how it takes years and years for writers to sell their first book and then all the rest get bought in one fell swoop. Interesting blurb for your first book. Looking forward to reading it.