This is something I've waited a long time to write and sometimes never thought I would write. So let me linger here for a moment in anticipation ... there. Long enough. Way, way long enough. Here's the announcment as it appeared in Publisher's Marketplace:
Nelsa Roberto's ILLEGALLY BLONDE, when a woman comes home with newly bleached blonde hair she expects a major lecture from her strict Portuguese parents but instead she is shocked by the revelation that her family are illegal aliens who are being deported from Toronto in less than a week, to Anita Daher and Gregg Shilliday at Great Plains, for publication in Spring 2010, by Kris Rothstein at Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency.firstname.lastname@example.org
Now, despite the mistake (the announcement should have said young woman - it's a YA) I'm still thrilled to see this announcement, still thrilled that this book (having come soooo close to publication a couple of times) will now be published. My editor (eep. another first to write!) loved the book and is very excited to be working with me on it. Great Plains Teen Fiction is a small Canadian publisher who started off primarily publishing regional non-fiction but are excited about expanding into the YA fiction line nationally (they've also launched a new literary imprint as well). I feel very supported by their plans for the book and know their enthusiasm will translate into a wonderful experience for me and the book that is so very close to my heart.
So how did it all go down? I won't go into the long process of getting my agent with the query letter for Illegally Blonde (deserving of its own post one day) and all of the ups and downs of submission and my own self-doubts about whether I'd ever make it as a writer. I'll fast forward to almost two years to the day when I'd signed with the Swayze agency and agent Kris leaving me a message on the phone in late February saying she'd try to to get hold of me the next day but that she'd sent me an email. I knew something was up. Agents NEVER call you unless it's important news - usually, you hope, good. So when I read her email and the words that Great Plains loved the book and wanted to publish it in Spring 2010 I almost fell off the chair. The next few weeks of negotiations and contracts signing seemed to crawl by and my first talk with Anita remains a bit of a blur in my memory. Although I did manage to grasp the words -"a wonderful coming of age story. You made me fall in love with romance again" - as well as her abiding enthusiasm for this book of my heart as well and her assurance that the revision letter would not be as horrible as I feared made my normally high anxiety levels calm considerably. So while all this was happening, and until the announcement was public I could say nothing. So very, very hard.
But it's all out there now. So's my name and picture on the agency website. Another weird experience for me. I hope everything goes well. I hope that dipping my foot into the big pond of publishing leaves me wanting more and not wanting to pull back because it's too cold. But what I hope, most of all, is that my book resonates with some readers. That it finds a home and tells the story I wanted told.
So, there it is. My book sold.
Can you believe it???