The phone had been ringing a lot that cold March day when the editor from Harlequin called. We had some farming equipment for sale on kijiji, which, by the way, is Swahili for village. Probably everyone knows that by now.
Back to the phone ringing. I can’t remember, but there’s a good chance I was less than polite when I answered The Call. There’d been some lively competition for the old--and I mean ancient--potato digger that had been left out in the field at least twenty years ago. I kept telling people to wait until my husband arrived home to come and see it because I couldn’t find it under all the weeds.
But it was the manure spreader that was bringing in most of the calls. Like every five minutes. A manure spreader. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s a trailer hauled by a tractor, and it somehow (I’m not in the least mechanically inclined) flings…manure around your fields. A fellow from our neighboring province, Nova Scotia, had called me several times already that morning. Apparently, manure spreaders were in short supply where he lived, and he kept devising ways for us to help him get this spreader. Would we drive it to Saint John, an hour away, (it hooks up to a tractor for heaven’s sake!) and somehow get it onto the ferry that runs between Saint John, NB and Digby, NS. I mean, really?
Between his calls, another desperate farmer from Cape Breton, NS, two hundred and fifty miles away, called to say he’d pick up the spreader Friday night, Saturday morning. Would Thursday work better? I was trying to edit an old, but favorite manuscript of mine and not making much headway.
Amidst these frantic calls, Megan Long phoned. So, yes, I probably sounded a little snippy when I answered the phone. It took me a good full minute to switch gears. To say I was not expecting The Call is an understatement. We chatted about the book, of course, but it wasn’t until Megan actually said, “We’d like to offer you a contract” that the old tears starting coming. How does one sound professional while blubbering? Okay, maybe I wasn’t that bad, but there were a few minutes when I didn’t know what was going to come out, hysterical laughter or tears.
I said yes to everything without knowing what I was agreeing to. Short time-line to production? Sure. Get the Fact Sheets in next week? No problem. There were a hundred details, and I didn’t remember one of them. Except Harlequin wanted to buy my book, A Deliberate Father.
Hanging up, I cried and whooped around the house and tried calling my husband and my children, none of whom were available. I emailed my kids and put “Sold” as the title of the email.
And then I remembered my writing pals. Can any one of us say we’d have gotten as far along the road without the love and support of other writers? They were perfect people with whom to share the news. While talking to them, the reality of having sold my book finally began to sink in.
Eventually I contacted my husband, and he arrived home with flowers and wine, and his version of a celebratory meal, pizza. Just as we were about to eat, my son phoned. “Congratulations,” he said. “I’d have called earlier, but when I saw ‘Sold’, I thought you meant the manure spreader.”
It occurs to me as I wrap up this blog, I’ve likely dispelled, for all time, the image of the romance writer, lounging in her pajamas and eating bon-bons as she types a word here and there. The truth is, we come in all shapes and sizes, and I wish every single one of us could experience the thrill of The Call. That’s one thing that is consistent about romance writers—we’re all about the happily-ever-after. And that’s no bull!