Monday, August 5, 2013

The Story of A Story

Last December, I left my laptop at home and traveled 2,500 to be with family. I'd shelved my beloved empath story in the fall and recently completed a dreadful draft of SIGNAL HILL. Disillusioned is a mild word for it. I think broken-hearted is a better description. I'd reached a point with writing where I'd lost any love for it. I knew I needed a break.

Of course that week is when inspiration decided to strike. I'd sent a couple scenes cut from SIGNAL HILL to two CPs one night and I couldn't forget them. The characters wormed their way into my head and my heart and I needed to tell their story.

It came in snippets at first. Bits on dialogue I typed out on my phone while hiding in the bathroom at my in-laws, scenes I sketched in my head while camped out beside the fire.

By the time we arrived home on January 1, I was ready to write.

And write I did. I finished the first draft of THE EXTRAORDINARY ART OF FALLING, my first ever contemporary romance, in a single month. I wrote as much as possible while my kids napped and hacked out scenes on my phone while I nursed the baby (thank you Evernote). I don't think I read a single book or watched a movie or TV show during that time. But the words flowed and it was beautiful.

In mid February, I sent my draft to my first CP, Leigh Ann, and she loved it. I sent it to my second CP, Cait, in early March and she loved it.

I polished a little, then submitted to Brenda Drake's Pitch Madness. I didn't make it through, but had so much support from Brenda that I went ahead and tried the twitter pitch party, tossing out my simplified, 140-character pitch. I got a few hits and with the feedback I received, I polished again.

Come May, I entered the Writer's Voice contest and, by luck of the draw, made it to the coaching round. Krista Van Dolzer of Mother. Write. (Repeat). picked me for her team and I dove into polishing my query and first page with her guidance. I received two requests and sent them off into the wild blue yonder.

Then on May 28, I decided to try the twitter pitch party again, posting this pitch:

YA - Bria knows exactly who she is – the militant vegan, purple-haired Queen of the Art Room - until she kisses the HS quarterback.

To my great delight and surprise, it caught the interest of Meredith Rich, the editor for Bloombury Spark, a new digital first imprint launching this winter. I love my eBooks, so I'm really excited about what Bloomsbury Spark is doing. I sent off my materials with high hopes and low expectations.

Then on July 15, I got an email. I'd just finished a grocery run to Costco with both kids and loaded everything into the car. It had been a rough week for my writing and after wrangling two kids in a warehouse store alone, I was ready to curl up in a corner and cry. I decided to check my email on my phone before pulling out into traffic. I expected another kind rejection, so I didn't even bother to read Meredith's subject line. I think I was about halfway through the sentence when I realized this is what it said:

I am thrilled to be able to tell you that we would like to publish The Extraordinary Art of Falling with Bloomsbury Spark!

Pub. Lish. Publish. PUBLISH.

I was stuck in a parking lot with two crazy kids and two weeks of groceries and I had to drive. My hands shook and I cried and I did my best to not freak out the kids. I don't think they get happy tears yet. I called my husband and rambled at him. I texted my writing bestie with the news and after sufficiently freaking out, she called to calm me down. Somehow my 3yo ended up completely naked and the baby was chewing on something totally inappropriate, but I HAD AN OFFER!

And after following up with all the agents who had partials or fulls, I accepted.

THE EXTRAORDINARY ART OF FALLING will be published this winter as part of the official launch of Bloomsbury Spark! 

I'm going to be a published author! My little manuscript is going to be a real, live eBook that people can  buy and read and take to the beach or read by the fire or stay up too late to finish. My beloved characters, Ben and Bria, are going to come to life in other people's heads.

I am so thrilled to be a part of Spark! I love what they are doing and Meredith is fantastic. I know my book is in great hands and I CAN NOT WAIT to share it with all of you.

There are so many people who've helped me get here that it would take a whole other post to fit them in, so thank you. Yes, you. Everyone who cheered me through drafting, who like a line I quoted, who read my manuscript, synopsis, query or pitch. For everyone who believed in me and my writing. Thank you. Thank you.

30 comments:

  1. I'm so thrilled for you right now! I LOVE this story and this is so well deserved. Congratulations!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I wouldn't be here without you!

      Delete
  2. Congratulations! That is so exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congratulations! That's amazing! Your pitch sounds great, and I loved the story of how you wrote the book. Good luck with your debut!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I love the story of this story almost as much as I love the actual book!

      Delete
  4. Congratulations, Jenny! That's wonderful news, and I can't wait to read it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congratulations!! Seems like you found the story you were meant to write :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Woo! Massive congratulations! :D

    ReplyDelete
  7. Huge congratulations! That's wonderful news! :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!! Huge congrats, Jenny!!!! So excited for you and for Meredith!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congrats, Jenny! I excited to be on the starting lineup with you!! <3

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yay, happy dance!! Every since I saw the pitch on your blog and twitter I couldn't wait to read it and now it's only stronger!!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hooray, Jenny!!! So thrilled for you! I loved your opening in The Writer's Voice and I can't wait for the opportunity to read the rest! I'm excited to see all the great things coming out of Bloomsbury Spark. Definitely an imprint to keep my eye on.

    Congrats again!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hooray!!! What great news! I can't wait to buy a copy! <3

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your story, Jenny. This is so amazing, and I'm so happy for you! CONGRATS!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jen-ny! Jen-ny! Jen-ny! That is the crowd cheering your name. Congratulations! I'm so proud of you. I love reading this success story, and I can't wait to get my hands on The Art Of Falling (I love the title and the fact that your MC is an art freak)!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congratulations! I remember your twitter pitch. I liked it so much I retweeted it. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Wow, YAY!!!!! This is the best news ever, and I'm so excited for you!! I can hardly wait to read this lovely story. <3

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow, YAY!!!!! This is the best news ever, and I'm so excited for you!! I can hardly wait to read this lovely story. <3

    ReplyDelete
  18. Best news ever! Congrats and can't wait to read it!! 😃

    ReplyDelete
  19. Congratulations, Jenny! That is awesome news!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congratulations, Jenny! That is awesome news!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jenny! I am so happy for you! Bloomsbury is one of my fave publishers so I will happily throw all my money at them when your book is out! Congrats, congrats, congrats! And I love hearing that you're writing contemp romance (ONE OF US!! :D)!

    ReplyDelete
  22. CONGRATULATIONS! It is *so great* to see this happening. :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Woo hoo! Congrats! This is terrific news!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Huzzah! So awesome!! On a sidenote, I LOLed big time when you said the 3 year old ended up naked while you were driving home... I can only imagine. When I got picked for Pitch Wars earlier this year I was in the car and let out an unladylike expletive in front of my son. These things happen :) Congrats again!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ahhhhh!!! I missed this! Congratulations!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I remember this pitch from The Writer's Voice--I really liked it and am so happy for you. It made me cry just reading about you taking care of your kids while getting the acceptance email--AWESOME!!

    ReplyDelete