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The Call, Part 3

Picking up where I left off the other day….

The new line for heroine-driven action/adventure was given the name Silhouette Bombshell. I decided to give them a try, but not to get my hopes up. I played around with some story ideas, and came up with two.

One was light and fun – about a profiler who is supposed to stay behind the scenes and feed advice to field agents over the phone without ever going into the field herself, but she can’t resist rushing into the field. I invented a fake federal agency for her, one that had rules where the profilers were known by code names, completely anonymous to the field agents. But of course, she’d end up flirting with them, and eventually falling for one of them, if she didn’t fall for her boss first. Meanwhile, she’s a genius, so she really does end up cracking cases, and she has to learn some martial arts, etc, because of the aforementioned habit of leaving her desk and showing up at the investigation.

The second idea was much more complicated, but also, grittier (on a scale of 1 to 10, if my profiler idea was a 1 for grittiness, this new one was about a 4)

Part of me knew that the complicated story had a better chance of selling to Bombshell, but in the long run, what would be the point of making one sale if I couldn’t follow it up with more of the same? And frankly, I don’t do gritty. Also, the complicated book was – well, complicated to write, whereas the profiler one was already writing itself.

So from a mix of fatalism and laziness, I decided to send them a synopsis and three chapters for the profiler story.

I heard back pretty quickly from the editor who plucked IDENTITY CRISIS from the slush pile. She called me to say she loved it and was going to send up it to the senior editor in charge of the Bombshell line. I was truly surprised thrilled to death. She said it was so different – so fresh. Yay!

Months and months went by and I heard nothing. I finally gave up, more or less. Then I got a voice mail message from the senior editor in charge of the line, apologizing and just being so, so affirming, telling me that ID CRISIS had somehow gotten lost and had just been re-discovered. She loved it, but needed to run it by a committee that was picking the first books for the series. She would call shortly.

And she did! Within a couple of days, she called me. I wasn’t home – I was at the hospital, where my father was having surgery. My husband called to tell me that the editor wanted to talk to me, and as soon as I knew Dad way okay I called back. We proceeded to have such a fun talk, not only about ID CRISIS but about the complicated story too. I was offered a two-book contract, which of course I accepted.

Remember when I first started this saga, when I said sometimes the other Calls are as memorable and meaningful as “the Call” that starts it all? Well, this call was unbelievable. I was so, so happy. And I still am, but funny story…

Less than a week after the Bombshell call, my editor called again to let me know that she was leaving her job as editor to pursue her writing career full time. I had a really, really strong déjà vu feeling, but the truth is, I knew she was doing the right thing, and I was thrilled for her. Still, ID CRISIS was now an orphan. I kept wondering if some other editor would get “stuck” with it, or if it would be assigned to someone who loved it as much – or almost as much – as the original editor.

Well, the stars were aligned for ID CRISIS, that’s all I can say, because the new editor who took over the Bombshell line really liked it too. We clicked immediately. And since then, it’s been a wonderful, positive, almost ‘pinch-me’ sort of experience.

Oh, did I mention that I had been looking for years for just the right agent to represent me so I could concentrate on writing the books rather than selling them? Well, very soon after ID CRISIS was released, I got another “The Call” and this “The Call” was huge, because it was from a talented agent who loved my writing. I had sent her a book I had been writing – another legal thriller, this one a crossover (of course) between legal thriller and chick lit. My agent loved it, and we’ve been working on that project as well as two or three others.

So, those are my Calls. Don’t ask me to choose my favorite – each one has been a thrill. But for every up there has obviously been a down, and I’m hoping that if some struggling authors who haven’t caught their first break yet read this, they’ll feel encouraged. Because the truth is, there are lots of opportunities out there, and even though each particular rejection can feel like the end of the world, there really is something else brewing for you, cosmically speaking, so don’t give up.

BTYL! – Kate

p.s. I know, I know. Things can still go wrong for me. Bombshell could end; my editor could decide to leave; the direction of Bombshell could change so that I’m truly not gritty enough for them any more. But thanks to my checkered publishing history, I’ll know that none of those events is “The End,” because there can always be another “The Call.”

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