That elusive thing, ‘the call’ takes a kind of mythical status in the minds of a writer. Hopes for it, dreams of it, despairing it will never happen…All of those things rumble around every time you submit your precious manuscript. I loved hearing other people’s stories of the call. It was a thrill, reading about someone else’s success and crossing your fingers that one day it would be you…
And then…it happens.
My journey to publishing began at fourteen when my English teacher set a Georgette Heyer novel as our text. I was hooked and started reading romance from that day on. Grabbing my mother’s stash because she was trying to write for Mills and Boon (unsuccessfully – I still have her rejected manuscripts). My dream was to be published, but being a grown up got in the way, till eight years ago when I bit the bullet and sat down at my computer to write a story.
The first manuscript submitted, received a polite but encouraging rejection from Harlequin Presents. Warm believable characters, strong emotional conflict. Not quite the hooks we need. I kept on writing. Up at five in the morning to get in the words before work (I’m not a morning person) because the Harlequin Presents/Mills and Boon Modern line was where I wanted to be.
The next manuscript was a labour of love where the characters wrote themselves. Still, I submitted the story with low expectations. Around eight week later I received an email. Being so fast I expected a rejection. Wrong. What I received was a revise and resubmit request.
After the initial shock, a lot of overjoyed squealing and a long moment of hyperventilation, I made the changes requested and sent them back with fingers crossed. I tried to forget about the submission and wrote a few stories in the interim then one night, beside myself with exhaustion and needing sleep, thought I’d take a quick peek at my email. There it was. A message asking to arrange a time to chat.
I did not get the early night I wanted because from other’s experiences I knew “the call” was coming. The next day when I answered my phone, I received the news I’d dreamt of for eight long years. Harlequin offered me a two-book deal, which is all I can remember. I had a pen and paper and that’s all I wrote on the page. My editor said some lovely things but for the life of me I don’t know what they were. I wish I did, but all that remained after the call ended, was the sense of shock.
“The call” is as surreal and wonderful as you could possibly imagine, multiplied by a thousand.
If I can give any words of encouragement, it’s these. Writing’s lonely job at times, but keep going. It doesn’t matter what your journey is or how long it takes. Achieving your publishing dream is worth every second you spend. I promise. So good luck, and happy writing!
Hear from Kali’s editor, Victoria Britton
When I first read Kali’s submission I was really affected by how raw and emotional it was. She has a fabulous way of really cutting deep and getting to the core of what fuels her hero and heroine. Her debut title Revelations of His Runaway Bride is such a dramatic, yet sensitive story and I’m really looking forward to working with her on future titles.
Look out for Kali Anthony’s debut Harlequin Presents, Revelations of His Runaway Bride, available now!