Trish Morey and Those CallsOkay, the following is my call story, or calls stories, it should be, because there were a few of them leading up to THAT one - all of them exciting, all of them bearing lashings of hope, and all of them leading to the fulfilment of one of my most precious dreams - to become a published author. I'm just sorry it's so long but I do hope it's worth you sticking around for a read and I hope even more that if you've been hanging around waiting for THAT call yourself, that it might inspire you to hang around that bit longer. Let's face it, the fastest way never to get published is to give up.
Once upon a time there was a manuscript, originally titled Date with Destiny, that was requested by HM&B Richmond back in August 2002. I’d only just sent the partial the week before and I'd only finished that partial the week before that. Panic stations! However, I promised the editor I’d get the full in by the end of November, in time to also enter the Golden Heart – my first ever time – and a couple of Downunder contests.
Then I waited. In January I heard that editor had left HM&B and I had no idea whose slush pile my manuscript was now languishing in. Things were a bit dark then, after the editor's initial enthusiasm. Luckily I had a conference on the Gold Coast to plan for RWAustralia, which helped take my mind off things (not! But it least it kept me busy.)
Then one Sunday morning in late March, I turned on the computer to find an email from someone I’d never heard of, with a pretty obscure kind of RWAmerica subject line. She wanted my phone number, that’s all the email said. I’d never logged in my phone number with RWA because I figured (wrongly!) that nobody from the US was ever going to put in a call to Oz. I crossed my fingers and toes and prayed it wasn’t someone doing some kind of survey or chasing up subscriptions and sent off my number. And waited. And waited. And waited. It was mid afternoon when the phone rang and this gorgeous woman with a gorgeous American accent told me Date with Destiny had finaled in the Golden Heart. Wahoo!
Naturally I rang M&B to give them the good news ☺ and they'd already dusted it off and I learned it was with an editor but she'd gone home sick that day:-(
The weeks after that were a bit of a strain especially when they were picking up other writers - that is soooo hard! Have they filled all the slots? Do they even have a finite number of slots? Who knows?
Then one night in mid May I was out with #2 daughter's after school debating and then dropping her friends home and then picking up a chook for dinner after filling the car with fuel. You know how it goes - a typical mum's evening. There we all were at the dinner table and I'd just told them that that very day I'd turned down another job I'd been offered - bigger bucks but lots more pressure and I'd have to throw myself into it and I just wanted to give my writing a real shot so the timing was all wrong and the guy who'd offered the job had said, "Well, if you change your mind give me a call". And I'd replied with , "Or if I don't sell a book" and laughed.
So # 4 daughter , aged 7, suddenly looked up and said, "Oh, someone called." And they all looked sheepish (which is no mean feat when you're eating chicken) and finally fessed up that an editor from M&B had called not once, but TWICE!, the last time only five minutes before I 'd got home, and that she'd told them she'd call back tomorrow. And it was only 7pm and I lost my appetite completely. So I rang up myself, got put through to the lovely Angelina Manzano who called me back right away and who told me that they really liked my book but there were a few things they thought could be tweaked. We spoke at length about what needed tweaking. LOTS - I took three pages of notes. So my dear sweet family didn't tell me because they didn't want me to worry all the next day. Aaaaaaraaaaaarrrrrrgghgghghghghghghghgh!!!!! What if she'd wanted to buy the damn book? There were no guarantees that she would even after the revisions, but like DH said (when we were finally talking again☺), it's the closest I'd ever been. I had to do big revisions, a new start, tone down one character and change the ending completely, amongst other stuff. I sent it back in 2 weeks and then waited and waited and waited during which time I was, quite frankly, a mess.
Then one Monday night right after my birthday she called at last, wanting more revisions to the penultimate scene (the proposal scene - to get rid of extraneous characters - the son, the sister, the doctor - read, cast of thousands) and I got it back to her at 1:20am my time. That call was also amazing because she stated that this was not an offer to publish, but asked then if I'd mind if she changed the title and did some line edits herself and she wondered if I'd thought about a pseudonym - be still my heart! I kept telling myself not to get my hopes up too high. Very difficult. Barely 5 minutes after I'd sent off the revised scene, she emailed back asking for one more change and to get it back asap so instead of going to bed (hey, who needs sleep?), I stayed and fixed it that night - getting it back around 2:30am, which I thought was 5pm in London but turned out to be 6, so she'd already gone home anyway - duh.
The next night she rang again and wanted one more*final* change and to get it back asap (she wouldn't tell me what that meant, just asap) which I did, and got back to her again, late that night (because, who needs to sleep?) and she replied that she'd be in touch.
Wednesday night I was supposed to go out but I was so absolutely whacked (I needed to sleep!) and it was an awful winter's night -pouring and slick on the roads so I decided it wasn't worth going with my eyes hanging out my head. The phone rang 3 times after 5:30, all long involved phone calls, and I was in a rush to get the kids fed when the phone rang again.
It was 6:32pm on the 18th June and it was Angelina with THE call, and who calmly stated she'd like to make an offer for my book and outlined the terms. And then she asked what I thought.
I was kind of dumbstruck. I said something inane like, ‘Excuse me, I just have to pop into the next room and scream a bit, I'll be right back,’ and she laughed and I went into the lounge room and everyone went ballistic, me and the kids and DH, yelling and jumping around, plus the dog who was racing laps around the house barking like she was the one who'd just sold a book. And then I picked up the phone and said, "That's better - you were saying?"☺
Then she told me they'd already scheduled my book two days before. They didn't tell me that on the Monday. They wanted to make me sweat! (It worked.)
So that's my very long call story and how it happened that I finaled in the Golden Heart and ended up being published by Presents. As it turns out, I didn't win the Golden Heart, didn't even make the finals of the other contests I’d entered, but it didn't matter because I'd won the prize I'd been chasing for 11 long years - I was about to become a published author! And having the opportunity to hook up with the fabulous and talented women of the wetnoodleposse was the bonus.
Trish Morey’s November Presents, The Boss’s Christmas Baby, spent three weeks on the Borders/Waldenbooks Bestseller List and is still available from www.eharlequin.com
Labels: The Call