Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The Call: Harlequin Historical Undone Author Elaine Golden
Now, since my story had gone the route of the slush pile, I knew to practice patience. The slush pile is not for the faint of heart, as I learned from writers who had gone the slush route before me. So, I kept working on my other manuscripts and tried to forget about that submission.
Then, last March, I received a nice email from one of the editors who detailed what worked and what didn't about the story. My heart, having fallen to my feet when I began reading the email (after all, good news was supposed to be delivered by phone, wasn't it?), returned to normalcy when the email closed with an invitation to revise and resubmit.
Now, this was no simple revision request. The pacing was off in my opening scene, the ending needed to change, and the editor suggested three more scenes be added. All without sacrificing the story and characterization that was working. Mind you, the story was already nearing the limit, and I didn't have much room to work with. So, I trimmed, trimmed, spliced and fixed, amazed that I could make it all work. By the end it certainly was a much stronger story. So off it went, back to the editor.
And then two months later I received another email. I didn't want to open it. Again, it wasn't a phone call, so it wasn't likely to be very good news. I was convinced I'd blown it.
When I finally worked up the nerve, I was surprised to find another offer to resubmit. All of my changes were spot on, with the exception of one of the new scenes. I had another chance! Now, fearful I'd botch it up, I took extra time and care to rewrite that one scene, and finally I sent it off, expecting not to hear anything again for a bit.
Until my phone rang. That very Friday.
For most folks, a ringing phone probably isn't that remarkable. For me, almost all of my weekday calls come in on business lines, and the phone that was ringing was my personal cell. It was 9:30am, and for once I wasn't tied up in some conference call or in a meeting. I didn't recognize the number, and I wondered... But, no, that would be wishful thinking...
But, yes. A very nice British voice greeted me --an editor from the London office. THE call. The one with the good news.
I don't remember thinking much of anything as she introduced herself, but I do recall getting up and carefully closing my office door, for fear that I'd start squealing or shouting or laughing maniacally. I don't think I actually did any of those things in the end, mostly I think I chattered jibberish. She was all that was gracious and kind as she led me through all of the inevitable business questions.
When the call ended, I sat in a daze the rest of the day. I texted my hubby, of course, but no one at work knows that I write, so I had to act normal, like my life hadn't irrevocably changed that morning by a simple phone call. It wasn't easy. By the time I got home, I had to reopen the confirmation letter the editor had sent me, to reassure myself that it was real. A real offer of publication from Harlequin!
Since that day, it's been a whirlwind of activity and I've loved every minute of it. I was able to meet my editor last year at the RWA conference in Orlando, and I got to spend time with so many of the talented authors of the Harlequin Historical line. I've also sold two more Undones and turned the three into a series. A series, can you imagine? I certainly couldn't have 2 years ago when I began this process!
My debut romance, AN IMPRUDENT LADY, will be released February 1st from Harlequin Historical Undone. It's available for pre-purchase on amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, and of course at eharlequin.com beginning on the release date. The sequel, A DISGRACEFUL MISS, will be released in March. Please visit my website at http://www.elainegolden.com/ for more information about me and my books, including downloadable excerpts.
Here's a glimpse about my story:
AN IMPRUDENT LADY by Elaine Golden
Release Date: February 2011 ISBN #978-1-426-88544-0