I had come to the conclusion that M&B only made sale calls on Tuesdays or Thursdays. Thus when Friday morning rolled around, I thought -- I won't hear this weekend unless of course it does not work for them.
I went about my business. Went into Hexham and saw the bookseller, Cogito Books, about The Lady Soldier. Much to my surprise, he has been able to order copies and is quite willing to have me do a talk. I find out on Monday the topic. I have suggested --researching the Regency.
Then I came home to a message from Hale. They think The Lady Soldier has legs and are going to reprint straight away. This is good news as Kate and I have a number of publicity events planned and were frantically counting books. We should now have enough books -- fingers crossed. We sent a long list of the planned events as well as the reviews and articles which are in the pipeline. Anyway this seemed to do the trick. We find out next week the actual publication date of the second printing.
The telephone rang and I raced my daughter to answer it. There was this lovely voice on the other end -- This is Linda Fildew from Mills and Boon. My one thought was that she was calling to discuss a few points. Maybe I was really close. After all they never CALL on Friday. Her next words showed me how wrong I was. She said that they wanted to buy The Gladiator's Honour. She was calling me on a Friday afternoon so I could have a wonderful weekend. I started crying.
Linda said that it was one of the nicest parts about being editor -- calling someone who was so happy and excited about the project.
The book had made her feel as it she had actually stepped into the Roman Arena. She then said that there a few very minor points -- page 309 was missing (how did I not notice?) and I had a loose end I needed to tie up. Very easily solved -- we discussed the solution.Also in the first version I had included a bibliography but not in my revised version. Could I put it back please? The answer is obviously yes. For Roman historicals, they are going more mainstream and want readers to be able to do further reading if they want because the time period is not as well known in many ways as say the Regency. Luckily this is not a problem as I own copies of all the books I mentioned. (I am also going to put their names on my website).
We also spoke about my next Roman book and I gave a garbled version as well the book after that. Okay, I know the basic outline of probably the next four Roman books I want to write. There is so much potential there. And how we both want the Roman books to reflect history accurately, rather than be the 21st century in togas. Although I did point out that the period in many ways is closer to our own than other periods -- you have professional sports, divorce, serious consumer consumption, and perhaps a more liberal attitude towards sex...
We then chatted about this and that. She wanted to know where I came from and why I was interested in history. I probably babbled. I heard my dh in the background telling my eldest to close the door because Mommy was shouting. I wasn't. I was perhaps being excited. She explained about the advance and how one couldn't give up the day job. I explained about being a stay at home mother with 3 children, 2 cats, 2 dogs, assorted poultry and beehives. She thought it sound idyllic. (Sometimes it is and sometimes it is hard work)
We also discussed revisions. She told me that what they wanted was someone they could work with. Someone who take their basic ideas and make them their own. Sometimes new authors were terribly precious about their words and others they simply followed the idea slavishly so that the work no longer read like their own. An editor is a midwife.
Then we talked about Mills and Boon and I had to explain about how I haunt e-harlequin and how I had met Bryony Green last year at the RNA conference -- even ending up having lunch with her. I also explained about the Mouse and Pen as well as all my friends from the RNA who had helped me.
Finally we ended the conversation and I went to find my husband who my eldest informed had gone for a run. My eldest also looked up from the tv and asked what was wrong. I explained that I had just sold a book. Luckily my husband had not left and I was able to tell him as well. Then I started telling everyone I know.
And the wonderful response from people has been overwhelming and truly touching.Writers communities like e-harlequin or ROMNA or the other loops I belong on mean so much. Writers are truly the only ones who understand.
Anyway it is all tremendously exciting andI am thrilled to have this opportunity because I really do believe Rome is a great backdrop for Romance.