One year on

This time last year I was reeling from The Call. Feeling nostalgic I decided to look back through this blog to reminisce and discovered I never wrote about it.
So here it is:

Have you ever wondered how writers feel when they finally get The Call? I know I have. Whenever I fantasised about it I imagined whooping with delight and grabbing devastatingly attractive strangers in spontaneous hugs (because one should never pass up the chance to grab an attractive stranger if the opportunity arises).

I certainly didn’t imagine the main sensation would be all encompassing queasiness. Not because I wasn’t completely over the moon, but because my call came after a 5am start, on a cross-channel ferry in February -remember those storms last year?- with the White Cliffs of Dover coming into view.

As it happens I had three calls before the big one and I’ve written about finding out I was through to the final 50 of SYTYCW2013 here https://elisabethhobbes.co.uk/page/5/.

I had two further calls. One telling me I was through to the final 10 which came while I was cooking dinner and almost resulted in me burning it, then another telling me I had finished third in the competition (yippee) but that the manuscript wasn’t quite right for the Harlequin guidelines (sob). Fortunately the editors saw promise so sent me revision notes and I set to work revising and redrafting.

A week or so before going on my annual child free skiing holiday (bad mother) I sent my revised manuscript to Sarah at Harlequin and kept everything crossed that the changes I’d made were enough to make the grade.

And then I got The Big Call. The one that mattered, and the one I never really believed I would get.

A week skiing almost managed to take my mind off things and the drive back from the Alps to Calais finished me off so all I cared about at that point was getting home in one piece. There I was, settled on a lumpy chair with a cardboard cup of lukewarm lemon and ginger tea, trying to ignore the way the horizon kept lurching, when the phone rang showing a number I didn’t recognise.

“Hi, it’s Sarah from Harlequin…”

Yes, she liked the changes. Yes, the manuscript fitted much better with Harlequin Historical’s reader promise. Yes, the emotional conflict between Aline and Hugh worked much better (which I gather readers agree with from the feedback I’ve had).

I tried to sound intelligent and sophisticated, but who am I kidding? I know I apologised for sounding vague, burbled about crossing half of France before breakfast, almost spilled my drink and tried to resist saying ‘please tell me if you want it before the ferry sinks!*’

Which of course, she did.

Cue huge grins and self-conscious glances at the other passengers in case they wondered why I was acting so strangely. Then Sarah mentioned the words ‘two book deal’ and I wished I’d ordered something a little stronger than tea!

As fate had it we were heading back to pick up our children from my in-laws so it was lovely to be able to turn up with such exciting news and a few bottles of Breton cider to celebrate.

And now Falling for Her Captor is out how do I feel? Absolutely thrilled. It’s been so exciting to follow my characters on their journey from my laptop to the pages and learn about what happens once that first life-changing phonecall is over. Reviews have been almost universally positive http://www.amazon.co.uk/Falling-Captor-Mills-Boon-Historical-ebook/dp/B00M1OL2X2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1424637155&sr=8-1&keywords=falling+for+her+captor. I have a fabulous new editor, Julia, after Sarah left the company to pursue other things and I’ve met so many lovely people through doing this. I’ve been in the paper and done an interview on BBC Radio Manchester without throwing up in the studio!

I still can’t quite believe that from the first call in Cornwall to seeing my words in print was less than a year and that a year after getting The Big Call I’ve finished a second book and been offered a further contract for another two.

It’s been an amazing year since I sent off that first chapter, and with my second book, A Wager for the Widow, coming out in July and the third in progress the fun is still going on.

*not dissing P&O. It really was horrible weather.

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