...and my second!!
I'm thrilled to say the book that won RWA's Golden Heart Award for Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements last year (According To Jane: A Novel About Pride, Prejudice & the Pursuit of the Perfect Guy) just sold to John Scognamiglio, editor-in-chief at Kensington Books, in a two-book deal. It's a women's fiction project and will be coming out in late summer/fall of 2009 in trade paperback. The second women's fiction book--ingeniously named "Untitled #2" at the moment--will follow, but I'm not yet sure when it'll be released. Or, in fact, which story it'll be.
I've only had a couple of days to let this information sink in, so I know I haven't come close to fully processing it. When my agent Nephele Tempest called me with the news of the offer last week, my brain was stuck between two sentences, which left me unable to say anything other than: "Oh, my God!" and "Thank you..." Pretty much repeatedly. For an hour.
But I have one or two additional thoughts now on what getting The Call has meant to me. Yes, there's a sense of validation. To discover that someone (not your best friend, not your favorite relative) loves your story for many of the same reasons you loved writing it--well, that's a remarkable gift. To be writing exactly the type of story you enjoy writing and to have someone (with acquisitional power, even! :) want to add it to his Fall '09 list...it would be hard not adore this person. Fervently. Sight unseen and without so much as a phone conversation. It would be equally impossible not to feel incredibly fortunate that this particular manuscript crossed this particular editor's desk at this particular time.
Then there's that whole Dueling Internal Voices thing, where Voice 1 shouts, "Getting a novel published is too hard, and I can't do it!" while Voice 2 shrieks back, "But I sure as hell will, and I dare anyone to try to stop me!" I've been living with this increasingly loud argument in my head for almost eight years. Knowing that Voice 2 won the battle and getting to see this process through to the end is a great relief...although publication never really feels like "the end" among novelists. This is an industry where perseverance, determination and commitment are not only required to get into the publishing game but at every level afterward. I'm pretty sure anyone who's taken on fiction with an intent to sell understands this.
Yet, I haven't known a single published author who didn't experience moments of doubt before getting her call. Wondering whether she'd be able to turn her dream into reality. Wondering if she'd be able to persist long enough to make it happen. Or, once that call came, if she'd sell again. Or get a large-enough advance to quit her day job, hit a coveted list or successfully change genres. Published or unpublished, we all have to fight against the skepticism and fear that comes whenever we confront that seemingly endless wall of rejection.
I started writing fiction seriously in the summer of 2000. I have enough rejection letters to travel to the moon and back--or at least to somewhere in the Balkans. But I spent a lot of time this year thinking about the dedicated published authors I know, many of whom suffered through multiple rounds of revisions on their latest projects, years (not months) between sales and the steep writing-craft learning curve necessary for anyone not born with a natural and encyclopedic knowledge of Robert McKee's Story. I remembered these writers--these warriors, actually--as I revised this novel, revised it again, asked friends to critique it and point out where it didn't make sense (and, let me tell you, there were plenty of spots...). And even when they insisted I had it right--that I should feel confident going into editorial submissions--some days it was just so hard to believe this call would ever come...
But it did. Finally.
Oh, my God!
And I know I wouldn't be able to make this announcement were it not for the tremendous love, support, friendship, critiquing genius and infinite encouragement of my family, my good friends and my writing community--which, incidentally, are not mutually exclusive groups. So, here's to all of you.