I’d envisaged the moment so many times. Receiving THE call. Someone believes in me and wants to represent this novel, along with the million other books I’m bound to write.
I thought I’d float around the garden in a giant bubble of happiness while birds tweeted their congratulations in my ear and rabbits frolicked at my feet.
Instead what happened was after a fraught few days exchanging emails with Bookouture, a proposal dropped into my inbox offering me a three-book deal. No fanfare. No dancing unicorns or rainbows stretching across the sky, as the sun smiled down on me. And what I felt, instead of the euphoria I’d expected, was sheer dread.
They want two more books? Are they crazy? I’m not a writer. I’m a mum who bashes out a few words on a laptop between the school run, work and cooking dinner. What if I never, ever have another idea again? This. Can’t. Be. Happening.
I seesawed between intense gratitude and a churning panic. Lydia, my editor, called to discuss the deal and she was patient and kind, but my mind was fuzzy and I couldn’t makes sense of the words she was saying. Couldn’t think of anything sensible to ask. Numb with shock I found myself agreeing and a contract was quickly emailed over. Pages of terms I’d never heard before and didn’t really understand. I waited for the excitement to kick in. And I waited. And waited.
Fear gripped me and for the rest of that week my word count stood at zero. My ideas dried up and the second book I’d started screeched to a halt. By Friday I was crippled with self-doubt and still hadn’t told my family or friends, or signed the contract. Stricken at the thought of letting Lydia and Bookouture down I poured all my concerns out in an email, trying to explain that although I was incredibly grateful, it was what I’d always wanted, but the process of writing another book, in a specific genre, with a looming deadline, was terrifying. Believing I’d blown my chance I went to bed for the rest of the day with the covers pulled over my head.
On Saturday I left the house for the first time in days. It was freezing, but as I sat by a local lake, my fingers blue with cold, idea upon idea juggernauted towards me. What if I put this twist in my new book? What if the main character did this? I scrambled in my bag for my ever-present note-book and scrawled page upon page of bullet points. Sunday was spent typing up my notes. My novel was back on track.
Lydia rang me Monday morning and alleviated every single fear I’d had, and even some I wasn’t even aware of.
And that’s when I felt it. That frisson of excitement.
That I can.
It took a while to fully sink in but I can now genuinely say I’m utterly thrilled with the opportunity and so, so thankful to be signed to such an innovative and dynamic publisher. I can’t stop smiling.
So if you look out of your window and happen to see a woman cartwheeling down the street while simultaneously screaming with happiness and necking champagne, well, that would be me.