I almost didn’t answer the phone when I got ‘the call’. The day was the Fourth of July, a major holiday in the United States. But it happens to be a particularly big deal in the New England area where I live. I was in the process of rushing out the door to spend the day in Boston for all the city’s July 4th festivities. For anyone familiar with Boston, it’s tough enough at any given time to find convenient parking. On the Fourth of July, it’s likely to be a frustrating and tiresome effort. So, when the phone rang, I chose to ignore it. After all, no businesses were open on a national US holiday. How important could it be? The thought that it might be coming from overseas didn’t even occur to me.
Luckily, and he will probably never let me forget it, my husband did pick up. Then he proceeded to hand me the phone, much to my dismay. We were already running late!
Thank goodness he did. Flo Nicoll was on the line, calling from London. I was so unprepared and so taken aback, I stuttered my way through most of the conversation. She was calling to offer me a contract!
In all the years I’d spent dreaming of getting that phone call, I would have never imagined the way it played out. I’d spent so much time preparing what I would say and striking just the right tone. Instead, I was barely able to form a coherent sentence! Flo was gracious and very sweet throughout the entire conversation, despite my stammering.
I had submitted a manuscript several months ago at the suggestion of a good friend – the fabulous Romance author, Barbara Wallace. After telling Barbara about a story I was working on, she mentioned quite casually that she thought it would fit well in the Romance line. I’ve always loved Barbara’s books and those of all the other wonderful authors who write for Romance. I’d been writing for years myself, but this was Harlequin. What were the chances I even had a shot?
I decided to play the odds and sent the manuscript in. As the months went by I figured that was it. I had tried and deserved a pat on the back for even giving it a go.
Then the email arrived. With a sinking heart, I clicked it open. An acceptance wouldn’t come via email. No doubt a rejection message awaited.
To my surprise and delight, I was wrong. The amazing Flo Nicoll, noted editor at Harlequin, had taken the time to read my story. Not only that, she was emailing to give me suggestions and tips on how to make it better. I would receive a few more such emails before being offered the contract.
My family and I went into the city that day as planned. Nothing like celebrating ‘the call’ as fireworks light up the night sky!