Thursday, May 9, 2013
The inspiration behind Waking up in Vegas
And as you're reading this I'm sitting beside the road somewhere watching a Toyota TV advert being filmed. Hopefully I'm warm, comfortable and not too exhausted from an early morning start.
So what are you still doing here? Have you gone off and bought my book yet?
Oh, okay. If you've already bought your copy, then you're allowed to stay a little longer and read on...
Waking up in Vegas started with a dream. Not a metaphorical dream but a literal one. I woke up one morning and thought “now that would make a great story”.
I wrote the first draft three years ago, in 30 days during the mad month of November. I submitted it to a publisher only to receive a personalised rejection that said the opening just wasn’t innovative enough.
So I set the story aside, wrote a bunch of other stuff, learned the craft, and then one day late last year, as I was driving home from work, singing at the top of my lungs to Katy Perry (my car being the only safe place I can sing without being heard) it came to me – the perfect opening to Max and Phoenix’s story.
It was just about November and I was planning on doing Nanowrimo again, so I decided to give these poor star-struck lovers another go. I wrote the entire story over again from scratch. The only things that remained from that draft three years ago were the characters, and the fictional country of Westerwald.
This time it only took me 29 days to write their new story, and it was the most fun I’ve had writing. Ever. Thank you Katy Perry!
I knew in my heart this story was going places, so I made a list of my ideal publishers who I thought could do justice to it (all two of them) and sent off my manuscript. Cue two rejections (one of which has to be the loveliest rejection letter of all time). But I wasn’t fazed.
I still believed in this story, and I wasn’t going to let just anyone get their hands on it. If I couldn’t get a dream publisher to back this story, then I’d go it alone. I bought a cover and contracted an editor, and was all set to brave the Sea of Self Publishing.
A few days later, as I idly surfed my Twitter stream, I spotted a link to an announcement of a new digital first imprint from Harper Collins. I clicked on the link and landed up on a Facebook page. There wasn’t much information, what with the page being brand new, but I was sold.
Not only was this a Big 5 Publisher, but it had Kimberly Young at the helm. Since I’d met Kimberly at a conference last year, I sent off my manuscript straight away, with a cheeky reminder that we’d met. Then I sat back, anticipating a lengthy wait. After all, this is publishing - where everything happens two years from now.
This was the least anxious wait I’ve ever endured. I knew this story was a winner, and I knew I had a back-up plan in case Harper Impulse didn’t like it. Two weeks into the wait I heard (via one of those friends of a friend but you can never remember afterwards where you heard it from) that the HI editors were having an acquisitions meeting. And I just knew.
That was when the sweating started. And the doubts. They’d only had my story a couple of weeks. Perhaps they hadn’t even read mine yet? Was I insane to think they’d buy my book?
I stalked my Inbox. A week passed. Nope, they definitely hadn’t read it yet. Or if they had, they hated it.
I gave up stalking my Inbox. Oh well, there was always Plan B…
Then, when I’d stopped watching my inbox altogether, the email arrived…
You can read more about The Call here.
You can’t get a better dream publisher than Harper Collins – unless it’s being a launch title for a brand new HC imprint, and unless it’s staffed by such lovely and talented people as Harper Impulse is.
Thank you Universe for sending me the dream that made every other dream come true!