I was at home with my son – he was sick and home from school – on Friday 15th March. I would normally have been at work and so really wasn’t expecting to hear from anyone – because all my family and friends would know not to call me at home.
But the phone rang. It was the lovely Sarah Fairhall from Destiny Romance, Penguin Australia’s new digital first imprint for Australian romance authors. She had the most wonderful thing to say to me:
‘I just read your book, Sounding the Heart (working title) and I loved it and we would like to publish it.’
It was the most astonishing sentence I’d heard since I rang the Melbourne IVF offices and they told me ‘you’re pregnant’. I think I responded with the same dumb, inane reply – ‘Oh, God. Really? Really?’
She went on to explain the ways in which she loved it and what comes next if I wanted a contract with them (of course I did! It’s been what I’ve been working towards for years and I wasn’t about to say no), but all the time in my head, one phrase kept repeating, Sarah saying, ‘I loved it.’
I felt like Sally Fields all those years ago at the Oscars when she won the award for best actress and got on stage to accept her award and all she could say was a gushing, ‘You loved me. You really loved me.’ Because, no matter how much you tell yourself ‘it’s not personal’ when you get the rejection emails, it is personal. You throw your heart and soul (not to mention precious time and even more precious sleep – or lack thereof) into your ‘baby’, and to have someone say, allbeit very nicely, that it didn’t catch them, or they just didn’t love it enough, or it just wasn’t right for their line, is painful.
But no more pain for me right now – I’m on cloud nine (yes, I’m going to use that well worn cliche because it’s how I feel!) To have ‘the call’ finally come my way, made all those painful rejections worth it.
Of course, I know one kind of journey has only just ended and another has started and this one (according to all the published authors I know and have heard speak) is just as difficult, and often, even more difficult. The trick is not only to be published once, but to be published again and again, staying ahead of the trends (or, for some, ignoring the trends and just getting ‘it’ anyway) and forging a career as an author. I’ve got lots to learn and there will be a steep learning curve in regards to social media, publicity and so on, but I want this as much as I’ve wanted anything else in my life that was difficult to achieve and I’m not about to let that go.
I just wanted to say one more thing, to be counted among some of the bright new talent Destiny is discovering here in Australia makes me feel so proud and priveleged. I am truly, incredibly, lucky.
Thank you Sarah and Carol for your faith in me and my work. I won’t let you down.