From pursuing a passion to getting ‘the call’, Faye Avalon shares her call story of how she became a DARE author!
When I told friends that entering the Dare Blitz in April 2018 was to be my last-go-round at cracking Harlequin/Mills and Boon, nobody seemed too concerned, probably because I’d been saying the same thing on and off for years. But I’m a tenacious soul, and I couldn’t quite give up on the dream even after many rejections.
I started subbing back in…well, let’s just say it was a while ago. Back then my aim was Presents/Modern and while I received some encouraging feedback, I never really got close. For a few years I stopped submitting, but I never stopped reading books from my favourite category lines. During that time, my writing started getting steamier, so when I heard about the new Dare line, it got me very excited (excuse the pun). My husband told me to go for it, reminding me that we always miss one hundred percent of the shots we never take, and that we can’t win the raffle unless we buy a ticket. My particular ticket was the first chapter of a sexy contemporary romance that I thought might work for Dare, so I polished it up and entered it in the Blitz.
One week later I had an email from Dana Grimaldi of the Harlequin Toronto office saying she liked the chapter and was interested in seeing the rest of the story. After I’d floated down from the ceiling, I got straight to work and eventually sent off the manuscript in July.
One lovely September afternoon, my phone rang while I was driving. When I got home, I saw the missed call was from an international number, and thought it was probably someone trying to sell me something. Then I noticed the voicemail message. It was from Dana asking me to shoot her an email as soon as I was able. I swear my heart stopped, and I was barely able to type that email because my hands were shaking so much.
Since mobile phone reception in my village is notoriously patchy, I gave Dana the number for my landline. But the gremlins were in residence that day and she couldn’t get through. Thankfully, she tried my cell again. We managed introductions and then it was a case of straining to catch what she said as signal interference set in. I heard her say that she enjoyed the story…crackle, crackle…that she thought it worked well for Dare…crackle, crackle…and that she’d like to offer me a contract.
I think I might have squealed at that point but hopefully the interference ensured that Dana’s ears were spared my shriek of enthusiasm. While she went through some points about the story, I hurried all over the house trying desperately to get a better signal, all the while accompanied by one very confused but extremely excited dog who obviously thought I’d invented a stupendous new game of chase.
Dana struggled on valiantly as I continually bemoaned “Sorry, I didn’t catch that” or “Can you repeat that?” until she confirmed that she’d put everything in an email. All credit to Dana for her patience during that call J When the email arrived confirming that I hadn’t been dreaming and yes, I’d been offered a contract, I spent the rest of the day grinning like a loon.
If writing for Mills and Boon is your dream, don’t sell yourself short by giving up on it, no matter how long it takes. Rejections hit hard, but the magic day you get The Call makes up for every one of them. And when it comes, I hope you’re blessed with a good phone connection!