2014 is shaping up to be an incredible year for The Write Romantics. Helen P released book 2 and both her fantastic Annie Graham novels continue to storm the charts, Rachael has just released her debut novel following her success in the SYTYCW competition earlier this year, Alys secured an agent in the summer, and Harriet announced her call from Crooked Cat last Monday.
September is turning out to be an incredible month for us because Super September is the month that just keeps on delivering. On 1st September, I woke up to “the call”. It wasn’t actually a call as such but an email from a US publisher wanting to publish my debut novel, ‘Searching for Steven’. Eek! A few email conversations later and this became a three-book deal because ‘Steven’ is actually the first in a trilogy. Harriet got her call at the end of that same week but was able to make the announcement sooner because her contract came with her offer whereas my publisher took a different approach of sending me a template to consider, receiving questions, then pulling together the official contract.
During this waiting time, I faced a dilemma. I had two more submissions outstanding and, although the professional and honest part of me wanted to go back and say “thanks but no thanks”, I felt a little superstitious about doing this until I’d signed on the dotted line. Just as well I felt that way because it would appear that publishing deals are like buses; I’d waited around for about a year and then two came along at once! They were very different offerings and I had to take a few days to make sure I was making absolutely the right decision although I knew that, after my initial conversation with the Publishing Director of the second publisher that my heart lay there. If you’re interested in how I made my decision, I’ve written a two-parter called ‘A Tale of Two Contracts’ on my blog.
I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that I’ve signed to So Vain Books, a new publishing company with a very exciting vision for the future. ‘Searching for Steven’ will be released in the spring or summer of 2015 in eBook and published format. I can’t believe that, this time next year, I’ll have a book that I’ve written in my hands. Talk about a dream come true!
I collect teddy bears and I made a lovely addition to my collection this weekend to celebrate. I wanted something relevant and a bear with “love” on his dungarees felt very relevant for a romance writer! My good writing friend and fellow-founder of The Write Romantics, Jay, sent me a lovely bear too with “You got ‘the call’ Julie” on it (Julie being my real name and Jessica being my pen name). He sits pride of place on my desk.
So what do I write? My trilogy is set in the fictional North Yorkshire town of Whitsborough Bay and follows the lives and loves of three women: Sarah, Elise and Clare. The debut novel, ‘Searching for Steven’ tells Sarah’s story. When Sarah Peterson finds a clairvoyant reading that’s been missing for 12 years, she’s shocked to discover all the predictions have come true … except one; she’s about to meet the man of her dreams and his name is Steven. The search for Steven starts and there’s certainly no shortage of them. So why can’t she stop thinking about new friend Nick? And former flame Andy? Could one of them really be her Steven?
It’s taken me twelve years from the idea for ‘Steven’ to receiving my publishing offer but I’ve learned my craft during that time (and am still learning every day). I also had huge gaps where I didn’t write at all e.g. a few years during pregnancy and the baby/toddler years although I never stopped thinking about writing. Book 2, ‘Getting Over Gary’, tells Elise’s story and has taken about eighteen months to write so I’m picking up pace! The third book, ‘Discovering David’ tells Clare’s story.
And September keeps on delivering … but that’s not my news to tell 😉 Do watch this space for more exciting announcements from The Write Romantics.
My final words would be to say that, if you’re a writer and have a dream of being published, never give up as you never know when your bus will arrive. And it may be quickly followed by another!