January 2014, was quite possibly the best month in my writing career so far. The ‘best-ness’ started very early in the month with a direct message on Twitter. January 3rd to be precise. I was in my kitchen trying to work out the number of cans of lager versus bitter* that we should buy for the party we were throwing the following day when I had a Twitter alert. A direct message no less.
Hi Cathy, I’m an editor at Transworld and would love to have a chat with you. Can I drop you an email? 140 chars not quite enough! Harriet
I read the message. I squealed and galloped around my kitchen island, pausing only to shake my husband by the front of his new Christmas shirt and shout ‘ARRRGH’ in his face. And then I replied.
Hi Harriet, thanks for your message. You can reach me at email@example.com Cathy
I was trying to be cool and not gush. Looking back, I perhaps over-achieved on that score.A little bit more enthusiasm wouldn’t have gone amiss.
We emailed. We talked for an hour. I came off the phone and galloped a bit more.
The book Harriet Bourton wanted was a novel that could be published in four parts, the first of which to be in April 2014.
As luck would have it, I did have an idea for a story which was perfect for this format and when I told Harriet about it over the phone, we both had a tear in our eye (sorry to grass you up, Harriet). I wrote a proposal and some blurbs and Harriet pulled together a presentation for Transworld.
Fast forward one week – you read that right people, one week – and Harriet and I had devised a plan to knock the socks off the big cheeses at her acquisitions meeting the following Tuesday. I spent most of the day in a state of extreme nervousness although a lovely lunch with fellow self-published author, Joanne Phillips helped enormously to take my mind off things.
By five o clock the wait was over and the champagne was chilling, ready to share with my husband, Tony when he got home. Transworld were to commission me to write Ivy Lane, their first ever serialized novel. January 14th ranks as one of the most exciting, emotional, exhilarating days of my life and I will never forget that feeling as long as I live.
Being approached directly by a senior editor at a major publishing house is a dream come true. Not only because my goal this year was to secure a traditional publishing contract, but because by seeking me out, Harriet has given me a new confidence in my own writing and, for that, she will always be welcome at my house for tea and cake.
*bitter was the clear winner, the men sank 40 tins of bitter and one can of lager. We’re still sipping our way through the leftovers.
Ivy Lane: Spring will be published on 3 April 2014
Here’s the blurb:
Tilly Parker needs a fresh start, fresh air and a fresh attitude if she is ever to leave the past behind and move on with her life. As she settles in to a new town seeking peace and solitude, taking on her own plot at Ivy Lane allotments seems like the perfect solution. But the vibrant, friendly Ivy Lane community has other ideas and endeavour to entice Tilly into seedling swaps and Easter egg hunts. Can Tilly let new friends into her life, or will she stay a wallflower for good?
Cathy is the author of the best-selling romantic comedies Ivy Lane, Appleby farm, The Lemon Tree Cafe and A Vintage Summer. She lives in a Nottinghamshire village with her family and Pearl, the Cockerpoo.
Her recent career as a full-time writer of light-hearted romantic fiction has come as somewhat of a lovely surprise after spending eighteen years running her own marketing agency. However, she has always been an avid reader, hiding her book under the duvet and reading by torchlight. Now she thinks she may have found her dream job.
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