This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
I am a planner. I plan everything. I send my children excel spreadsheets by email about the six weeks of holiday, I operate via lists in notebooks and, as I write this, I’ve got one eye on today’s plan of things that I must get through before the end of the day.
So naturally, I had planned out in great detail how I was to get my book deal. Part one of the plan, to submit my second novel White Lies and Wishes to an agent, was underway, all I had to do was wait and keep everything crossed. Of course, some of the best things in life happen when the plan goes out of the window…
January 14th. Traffic had been a little bit heavy on the return leg of my lunch with fellow self-published author Joanne Phillips and when I finally reached home, I had a mere two minutes to dash in and persuade the dog to have a wee before racing back out to collect my daughters from their after school cheerleading club. Fortunately, the dog complied and I settled her back in the kitchen with a biscuit and a bit of Radio 2.
Steve Wright was playing Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac.Ooh, I thought as I ran from the house, that was the song that Harriet Bourton (Harriet being Senior Commissioning Editor at Transworld Publishing, no less) chose for the first dance at her wedding.
(I remember the oddest details, it’s almost an affliction. I recently emailed an old friend from university to ask for her sister’s recipe for peanut flapjacks that she made in 1989. I think they both thought I was mad and neither had any recollection of the flapjacks.)
Anyway, back to January 14th. The phone started to ring as I left the house and I almost dashed back to answer it, but time was ticking on and I decided to ignore it. I started the car and pulled my phone from my bag. I would just tweet Harriet, I thought, something along the lines of: The song from the first dance at your wedding is playing on Radio 2 and I thought of you.
As I started to type, I caught myself. For God’s sake, Bramley, will you get a grip? What if she doesn’t remember mentioning that little nugget on Twitter two weeks ago? If that tweet doesn’t ring stalker-alert alarm bells, nothing will. I tutted, dropped the phone and drove off.
As I waited outside school my thoughts turned to Harriet again.
Having read Conditional Love, Harriet had contacted me out of the blue in early January to see if I would be interested in writing a novel for Transworld. She was looking for something she could serialize as an ebook and then produce a paperback of all the parts a year later.
I was, of course, very interested! This was beyond my wildest dreams and far exceeded the scope of my Get Published Plan.
Harriet and I had only spoken for the first time a few days previously to discuss the project. I had come up with an idea and written a detailed synopsis and she was presenting it at her senior management meeting today. The decision would be instant, she had explained. A yes or a no.
I glanced at my watch. Four thirty. She would probably be out of her meeting by now, I thought. I chewed on my lip. Would it be good news or bad?
Out came the mobile phone again to check my messages and there it was, a voice mail from Harriet. She had called me at home, she said (at the precise moment her song was playing – how spooky is that!) to deliver the good news: Transworld was commissioning me to write Ivy Lane!
A contract was quickly drawn up thanks to my new agent, Hannah Ferguson, and a mere three months after Harriet’s first email to me, Ivy Lane, Spring: Part One was published.
I couldn’t possibly have planned it any better if I’d tried!
The first part of Cathy's new series, Ivy Lane, is available now.