Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Call Story :: Tina Beckett

The Pink Heart Society is happy to welcome three-time Golden Heart finalist and new Mills & Boon Medicals author, Tina Beckett.

If you’d asked me a year ago what the craziest thing I’d ever done in life was, I’d have said taking barrel racing lessons in a foreign language. Dashing around a trio of fifty-five gallon drums at breakneck speed—on the back of a horse, no less—seems pretty adventurous, right? Yep, I thought so too. Until May 19, 2011, when I received a telephone call that would change my life.

We want to buy your book.

I think I may have screamed. Or cried. Everything about that moment is a bit foggy. You see, I’d hit the send button on my computer just one day earlier, emailing my manuscript to the lovely editor who’d requested it.

Oops, did I say manuscript? Make that revised manuscript...times two.

That’s right. My call story didn’t happen overnight, although things moved pretty fast there at the end. Kind of like my barrel racing days. During those lessons, my instructor taught me in stages. First I took those barrels at a walk that seemed to take forever. Then I graduated to a trot. Next came an unhurried canter. And then the day I’d both longed for and feared arrived: pulling together everything I’d learned and taking those barrels at an all-out gallop. It was awesome. Fantastic. There’s no feeling quite like it in the world. But without those early baby steps, I’d have careened off my horse before I finished that first turn.

My call story is a lot like barrel racing. Each step took time. A long time. Six years, in fact—much longer than it took me to reach that final gallop. And with every step, I longed to race like the wind, to join the ranks of other authors I’d admired through the years. But I wasn’t ready.

My final lap took less than a year from start to finish. Here’s an abbreviated version:

·         July 2010--Mills & Boon announces they’re looking for new Medical Romance authors and offers a Fast Track opportunity: send them a chapter, partial, or full manuscript and you’d receive a response by the end of August. I decided to be conservative and sent a single chapter.
·         August 2010—The editors ask for a partial (which means the first three chapters). I sent those in September.
·         November 2010—my future editor, Lucy Gilmour, emailed me, saying she loved the partial and could I send her the full. Oops. The book was only halfway done, and I was in the middle of moving from the United States to Brazil that very month. I wrote like crazy while shoving all my worldly belongings into boxes, kept writing as I flew across the Atlantic Ocean, and was still writing while boxes lined the walls of my new living room.
·         January 2011—Lucy nudged me. Had I received her request for the full manuscript? Yikes. Luckily I’d finished the book by that time and was giving it a final polish. I sent it to her at the end of the month.
·         March 2011—An email from Lucy arrived. In the subject line were three small words: Matt and Stevie. The names of my hero and heroine. My eyes watered, and I stared at those two names for several minutes before opening the email. It was a revision letter. Suddenly this felt very real. And very scary. I asked for a month to complete the changes. I sent the revised manuscript to her on April 13th.
·         May 6, 2011—A second revision letter arrived. These felt less like major changes and more like tightening and refining. I asked for two to three weeks to make the changes. Lucy asked if I could get them back to her any sooner. One of my critique partners immediately emailed me and said, “This is the one!”
·         I finally get to gallop—I turned those revisions in on May 18th. Lucy called me the next day to offer me a two book contract. I’d made it! Those two books, Doctor's Guide to Dating in the Jungleand Doctor’s Mile-High Fling, both come out in 2012, and I couldn’t be happier.

All that endless walking, trotting and cantering finally paid off. And as exciting as it is to reach this stage, I know it doesn’t end here. Not by a long shot. Because just like barrel racing, I need to keep growing and honing my skills, hopefully making each book a little better than the previous one. I’ll be forever grateful to Harlequin, Mills & Boon for giving me the opportunity to write for them. I also have to give a big shout out to my barrel racing instructor. His insistence on perfecting each stage (before allowing me to move on to the next one) taught me skills that go far beyond the realm of horses and barrel racing. I’ve learned that a solid foundation is crucial, whether it’s in horsemanship, writing...or life.

For more on Tina, be sure to check out her website and her latest release, Doctor's Guide to Dating in the Jungle.

6 comments:

  1. Congrats Tina! Love hearing your call story x

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  2. Great call story Tina! You must be on cloud 9! Caroline x

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  3. Thanks, Scarlett. The best part has been meeting my fellow Harlequin Medical Authors!

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  4. Caroline, this has definitely been a cloud 9 experience! Thanks so much.

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  5. Hi Tina,

    It was lovely reading your call story and I loved reading your Doctor's Guide to Dating in the Jungle as well! Well I learnt a lot about Brazil and dengue fever as well. Thank you.

    Now I'm looking forward eagerly to your next- Doctor’s Mile-High Fling!!

    Congratulations!

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  6. Thank you so very much, Nas! Hearing that you enjoyed Doctor's Guide to Dating in the Jungle has made my week!

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