Let me start, as I should, at the beginning. Picture this: it is Friday night (pre-payday), and I am at home watching Supernanny and promising myself that I will never have more children than I can handle. My mobile rings. It's Nell.
She tells me that, in a Yahoo Messenger chat with the Moonlit Romance editor, she has inadvertently sold an idea that we had roughly discussed before but which we currently had no storylines for! (At least, I hadn't.) This will be an anthology along the same lines as Fall in Love, but using summer as the theme, instead of autumn. I'm not surprised at Nell getting a request for a submission before the project is finished (much less started :D
Then we move on to the subject of Haunted Hearts. While they had been talking on Messenger, Moonlit's editor had asked Nell for a summary of HH's plot (which she knows only too well, having read her way through 4 different versions of it). Nell gave it, and the editor told her to tell me to send it in ASAP, regardless of whether I had finished my revisions.
(Picture me, opening and closing my mouth like "a codfish", as Mary Poppins would say.)
Nell: "I thought I had better warn you!"
Thank God she did, as well. I got up early Saturday morning, had done my shopping and general errands by 9.45am, and got on with the revisions of the last two chapters of HH. Literally ten minutes after I had finished them and saved to disk, a message popped up from the Moonlit editor, asking how it was going. I told her I'd finished, and she asked me to email the file over straightaway.
As I am putting the attachment on the email, she says: "I've been authorized to send you a contract if I like what I read, so Moonlit can publish it in October."
Me: "This October???
Moonlit editor: "Yes."
I send the email. Nell and I chat nervously for about forty-five minutes while I make a final check-over of HH for spelling errors and so on, which I hadn't had a chance to do.
Another message pops up:
"I'm still reading. I'll be sending the contract shortly. I love it, and on the draft you've sent me, there's not going to be much editing to do. I'm so drawn into it, Jess. I can't stop reading it."
I practically explode from excitement, and ten seconds later, Nell expresses the same feelings.
Thus ends the recap.
Can you believe it?? Haunted Hearts has been over three years in the making, and on the morning I finally finish it, it sells within the hour and gets a release date which will occur within the next month.
I still can't really believe it myself. And again, I have surprised myself with how I feel. In January, when I typed "The End" on the first draft of HH, I blogged about how I didn't care if I ever sold it -- what matters is that I wrote it. And now that I have actually sold it, it's as if I don't care if I ever sell anything else again.
Which is stupid. Of course I care! A full-time writer is what I want to be! But if I tried my hardest, and couldn't sell another story, a little part of me wouldn't mind too much, and I think it's because HH is so special to me. Some people call this "the book of your heart". It's the first story idea I had that I really and truly loved and believed in. It's the first book I ever finished (and so far, is still the only book I have ever finished -- although that should change soon). It tells the story of the characters I have loved the most out of everything I have ever written. And as it stands, I think it is the best thing I have ever written. (And yes, I know, I've not written a lot, but it still is...)
So there you have it. Haunted Hearts by Jessica Raymond is coming soon, to be published October 2006.
(Still can't believe it...)