Relief. That was the overriding feeling when my
agent called and told me we had an offer for my first book Hollywood Sinners. That makes it sound like I expected the deal,
like I thought it should have happened, but that couldn’t be further from the
truth. We’d been on submission for months. Eleven publishers had turned the
book away. I’d quit my job in the middle of a recession to pursue a dream that
was becoming wobblier by the day. I’m a hard person to shake when I set my mind
on something, but that was a character-defining moment. Rejection is hard to
take. But the relief – ah, the relief… It almost made it worth it.
It’s funny how things work out. Sometimes I wonder
if I’d bagged the Holy Grail of an auction, a flurry of publishers battling to
buy my book, it would have tasted quite so sweet. My book deal moment was very
quiet, very grateful and despite my excitement very grounded. I understood what
a tough business it was, and how close I’d come to losing out. I felt
incredibly lucky. Not a day passes when I don’t remind myself of that.
I’m a bit of a fatalist and believe that some things
happen for a reason. My publishers Harlequin MIRA have put such effort and
enthusiasm behind my books, from launching my debut in style to making my
follow-up Temptation Island into a
bonkbusting bestseller, I couldn’t have wished for any other outcome. They
share my ambition, are creatively and commercially savvy, and most crucially
they get the genre. Together with my
super-agent Madeleine Milburn I feel very well looked after. Wicked Ambition is out in June, and I
recently signed another deal for 3 more bonkbusters and 2 Mills & Boon. I
know: Mills & Boon! Swoon.
During that first flood of turndowns, I never dared imagine
I’d be about to publish my third book, and be plotting adventures in my fourth.
It’s been a strange, amazing, fun, frightening, exhilarating journey and I hope
it goes on for as long as I have the next idea. To aspiring authors waiting for
their book deal moment, hang on in there! Perseverance is half the battle.