At least the first one I actually finished, revised, abandoned, rewrote... I'm so not used to blogging! How can I have taken more than a day to report that all the little panics of the last six weeks are over?
Lost already? Me too, almost. Here’s the thing. I wrote a novel, see. Actually, I wrote a novel a very long time ago, in college, actually. A hand-written tome on college-ruled binder paper in a black Acco press binder, I carried it with me and worked on it almost everywhere. I wrote scenes out of order, and went back and filled in, and somehow, years later, I had written this wonderful historical novel--
Well no, not all that wonderful. But I loved the characters. All in all, I re-wrote Molly September about 4 times, from the ground up. And when I say re-wrote, I mean back in the day when to move a paragraph around you had to re-type the whole chapter.
Some years ago—before we moved into this apartment, so almost 20 years ago, I briefly had the interest of an agent, and she talked the book up to an editor at Zebra Books, who said it was too short for a romance (it was a romance?) but had promise. And if I’d consider applying the 4 pages of notes she sent me, she’d look at it again.
Can you imagine? I was so exhausted, so tired of the whole story, and I just felt like it was done. It was the story I wanted. Too bad I was the only one who wanted it. So it sat for another 7 or 8 years, until for various reasons I decided to do another pass, and found those wonderful notes, and yeah, they were exactly what Molly needed. It was a lot of work. Little changes in the middle rippled up and down the storyline. It almost doubled in size with the addition of real story elements, not padding! A new emphasis on Molly’s father, recognizing the age difference between her and Prentiss, so many things.
Sadly, by this time the agent and I had parted ways, and I didn’t have the editor’s name—not to mention she had almost surely moved on from Zebra by then. So I started shopping it around on my own. Again, nothing. Back in the drawer.
Cut to a few months ago: a dear friend (and the best “ex” ever!) led me over to the Canonbridge fan page on Facebook, and to their website. I hung out for a while and was pretty impressed with the enthusiasm and excitement, and with how much they seemed to really care about working with their authors. I wasn’t ready to submit Sparrow’s Dragon yet, but I did have this other novel in a drawer. The website didn’t mention romances but it did express an interest in historicals. And since that was always Molly September's original intent...
So I wrote the query letter ( with Kelly Smith's advice 10 Query Tips) and I sent it in. Here’s where it really gets good. In a week I had a request for a partial ms and 5-page synopsis. In 10 more days I got a request for the full manuscript! And six anxiety-racked weeks later, to the day, I was asked if I was interested in having them publish the Novel That Would Not Die! It felt like forever, but of course that’s really rather fast.
I'm still kind of spinning! Molly and Prentiss's story is really going to be read by people... some of whom I don't even know yet! Whee!