Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Writer's Wednesday - Lucy King's Call Story

Drumroll please! The Pink Heart Society is proud to welcome the winner of the Feel The Heat Contest, Lucy King! Everyone loves a winner!!

Hello everyone!!

I’m Lucy King and I think I’m the latest addition to the Presents/Modern Heat/Sexy Sensation stable. I say ‘think’ because the news hasn’t really sunk in yet. Half of me is convinced that this is a parallel universe created by my own warped brain, the other half is so euphoric it doesn’t really care if it is. Either way, I’m very excited to be here.

When I entered the HMB ‘Feel the Heat’ competition way back in September I never expected to get anywhere. The editorial team at Mills & Boon received 150 entries, so the odds of winning were on a par with Italy winning the Six Nations Rugby. (Which, incidentally, I think is a little harsh. I mean, have you seen the Italian team? They may not be on course for victory but they’ll certainly make watching it fun.)

But I digress. Apart from winning four free tickets to the Swindon Oasis Leisure Centre in 1985 I’d never won anything in my life. However, as has been documented by me ad nauseam elsewhere, I did. And the prize? The sort of thing that any unpublished-but-desperately-wanting-to-be category romance writer could only dream of: a Mills & Boon editor for a year.

So after a bucket load of champagne and a flurry of emails to and from the fabulous Kim Young, I submitted the first three chapters of the story - which I’d already written - and waited. And waited. Kim got back to me with her comments on my competition entry in the first week of November and said how about getting the full in by, say, the middle of January or early February? Like the swotty new girl at school wanting to make a good impression (not to mention hoping to have a fortnight off at Christmas) I was thinking the end of December, and suggested just before Christmas. So that was it. Plenty of time.

And this is where my plan was fundamentally flawed and why I was never cut out to be the swotty new girl. Firstly Christmas isn’t at the end of December, which I really ought to know by now, and secondly, Kim was away from 19th Dec so it would have to be delivered before that. Somehow I’d cut at least a month off the deadline she’d originally put forward. Clever me.

The upshot of this was that I then had to write like a maniac for six weeks. (Does anyone else not really have a clue what they’re doing and have days when they delete more than they write, or is it just me?) After much hair-tearing and panic-proofreading I finally emailed the manuscript the day it was due. And because the editors at M&B are ├╝ber-busy and have proper writers to manage, I thought, well that’s that for the next few months. Luckily with the distractions of the festive season there wasn’t time to fret and obsess over the millions of things that I thought were wrong with it.

When the phone rang on 8th Jan (not sure of the exact time but it was getting dark), the last person I was expecting it to be was Kim. And the last thing I was expecting her to say was, ‘We want to buy your book.’ But it was and she did. I was so gobsmacked that I didn’t get round to turning the light on, just sat in the dark and babbled incoherently. And then just as I was getting to grips with the idea of being a Real Author and was beginning to get quite excited, Kim delivered the killer line. ‘We’re planning to announce it on iheartpresents so don’t tell anyone just yet.’ WHAT????? Oh, the cruelty. How on earth was I going to resist the urge to shout it from the rooftops? Well, obviously lots of champagne helped.

Technical problems meant that it was an agonising week before the post was up on iheartpresents, but it was so worth waiting for. Once the news was out the response was awesome. Congratulations poured in and everyone was so welcoming. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks and I feel incredibly lucky to be part of it.
Lucy has a blog! Be sure to check it out when you're wondering what she's up to...


  1. Wohoo - I've said it elsewhere but congratulations!!! You can tell from your fabulous call story how fabulous a writer you are :)

    Can't wait to read the rest of your story!


  2. Whoops - that was my mum hat! Sorry...

  3. -ggg- Don't you hate when Blogger 'knows' you. Congrats again, Lucy!

  4. Six weeks? I may have to hate you now, Lucy.

  5. Lucy --
    Congratulations again.
    And to answer your question -- yes, every writer has Crows of Doubt days.

  6. Thanks, all. Six weeks was a bit nuts. And then two weeks for the tweaks. Due today. Gulp.

  7. Hi Lucy,
    Many congratulations!
    And many more books to come...
    Best wishes

  8. Major congratulations Lucy! There is nothing more inspiring than a first sale!

    *raising glass of champagne in a toast for many more to come!*

  9. This writing biz is certainly a roller-coaster ride!

  10. Congrats, Lucy! Love call stories!! I only had to wait a day when I won the Presents contest, but that seemed like forever, so hugs on that week.

    And yeah, I'm with Kimberly on the six weeks hating. *gg* As everyone who reads IHP knows, it took me six months from winning the contest to get that book written and revised *twice* before I got the call. (I did have another book going on that was requested by a single-title pub in there, but that was only a 5 week detour, so I can't really use that as an excuse.)

    And no, I still don't have a clue what I'm doing. Book two is due in a little over a week. It's almost done, but I'm resisting the urge to rip it apart and start over. :)