Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Celebrating The CALL: Isabelle Goddard
I guess most writers say they've always wanted to write and that's vaguely true of me, but I have to confess the desire was never really serious until a few years ago. As a child I wrote stories, as most of us do, and in my teens I wrote magazine articles which never got published. But it wasn't until my two children had left for university that I made any real commitment, by signing up for a class in creative writing. That class was very important to me. For a start it led to me producing a short story that won a writing competition but far more importantly it broke down the very real barriers I'd managed to create for myself.
So it had to be historical fiction and because I've always loved the early part of the 19th century and I grew up reading Georgette Heyer, it had to be Regency. Once that was decided, the rest came fairly easily. It didn't come quickly though. I sent my first three chapters and a synopsis to Mills and Boon in June 2007 and didn't hear from them for eleven whole months. I'd almost given up hope but the wait turned out to be worthwhile when they requested the rest of the manuscript. According to Kate Walker's book, 12-Point Guide to Writing Romance, that was the gold rosette in responses. But the euphoria died quite quickly and the waiting began again. This time I heard nothing for eight months. Then in Feb 2009 I opened a letter from Mills and Boon giving me a detailed critique of my novel: there were things they liked and things they didn't like. Crucially they liked my 'voice', that will o' the wisp quality which is so hard to define. I was invited to revise the manuscript taking account of their critique or if I preferred I could submit another partial ms. I chose to revise as I didn't want to waste the love I'd lavished on my baby. And of course I couldn't let my characters down! So I spent three months trying to get the novel as right as I could and resubmitted in June. More silent months passed and then on a day in December when I was snuffling miserably on the sofa suffering from 'flu - and real 'flu at that - the call came!
Check out Isabelle's debut, REPROBATE LORD, RUNAWAY LADY this month from Mills and Boon Historical! And check out her website: http://isabellegoddard.com/