Since yesterday I broke the news that Carina Press will be publishing my romantic suspense novel in June, I thought I’d use today’s post to tell you the story behind the story. (If you want to know what the actual story is about, I posted that on my blog yesterday.) For the purposes of this post, I’m going to call the manuscript STOLEN because that’s the title I’ve been using for years (yes, years) even though the publisher wants another.. Since we haven’t decided on one yet, I’m just using Stolen for now.
I apologize for this post being so long, but next week I’ll be using my space on Tuesday for a Q&A with Laura Griffin, who will be telling us all about her NY Times and USA Today best seller “Deadly Promises”! (and there will be a book giveaway, so don’t miss it!)
Our story begins a long time ago, on a dark rainy night. No, really, I first wrote Stolen in 2001 as a screenplay (a script that was good enough to be optioned, but the movie was never made) and I remember getting the initial idea for it while I was driving on a dark and rainy road.
A few years later I switched my attention to writing novels.
I wrote a couple of books that went nowhere, but I couldn’t let go of the story of Stolen. In 2005 I wrote it as a novel. And then wrote it again. And again.
I started querying agents and I queried one New York publisher. The agents all passed, but the publisher asked for a revision. (I heart the editor that wrote my revision letter. I really felt like he wanted to help me make a better book.) So I rewrote the book for the publisher and continued querying agents. The agents kept passing. (I got an awful lot of, “I can’t get behind a book where violence is committed against children”. For the record it’s teenagers that are killed.) The editor wrote another revision letter, so I rewrote the book yet again.
Meanwhile I was writing other books.
Then I landed a literary agent and Stolen went out on submission to a round of New York publishers. Who all passed. Plus, the editor who’d requested two revisions passed.
Stolen was dead.
I left my agent.
And I kept writing other books.
Until finally, Long Suffering, a wise and wonderful man who, for reasons unbeknownst to me, shares his life with me, suggested, “Why don’t you send it to Angela James?”
I met Angela James about five years ago at a writing conference. Back then she was the Executive Editor of Samhain Publishing. My first impression of her was that she’s a smart, savvy woman who is passionate about what she does. Five years later, I’m certain my first impression was dead on.
I’d never submitted anything to Angela while she was at Samhain because I didn’t feel my books fit their niche, but now she is the Executive Editor of Carina Press, Harlequin’s digital-first press, which has a wider focus and is doing exciting things. . I didn’t think that my story was Angela’s cup of tea. (I’ve never gotten the impression she was into romantic suspense. On the other hand I can remember her gushing about steampunk five years ago when no one even knew what the genre was.) Still, Long Suffering was insistent, and frankly I wanted to get him off my back, so I subbed the manuscript.
Angela forwarded my manuscript to an appropriate editor at Carina Press and within a few months I’d received a “revise and resubmit” letter. Not just any letter, an AWESOME letter. The kind of letter that told me that I’d finally found an editor who “got” my book. (Hopefully I’ll write another post soon to explain exactly why I thought we were a perfect match.)
After finishing another book I was working on, I took the editor’s suggestions to heart, implemented the changes she’d suggested, revised the manuscript, and sent it back to her.
On September 16th I got THE CALL. Angela James telephoned to let me know that Carina Press was interested in acquiring Stolen!
It took nine years and countless versions (for the record there is not a single scene from the screenplay that ended up in the book, lol) but I’ve found a home for Stolen.
So that’s my long-winded story -- any questions?