Harlequin Medical Romance Debut Author Annie Claydon Gets The Call!
Editor’s Note: We announced a few weeks ago that Harlequin Medical Romance acquired a new author through the August fast-track initiative. I’m pleased to give you today Annie Claydon’s story in her own words! You’ll see more of Annie as her book’s release date nears, but for now have a read about the very day she received the much-anticipated Call. ~ Olga
Let me start with the backstory. In August 2010, I found a reference on the Harlequin website to the Medical Fast-Track. Mills and Boon were offering to get back to anyone who submitted before August 24th in double-quick time, turning all manuscripts around by the end of August.
The scheme was already open and only had another 18 days to run. But this really was too good to miss – determination took hold and so I decided to try and put something together before the deadline at midnight on the 24th. I had some ideas rattling around in my head that would be suitable for the Mills and Boon Medical line and was already an avid reader of medical romance. So it was just a matter of seeing how fast I really could type…
I made it with 6 hours and 55 minutes to spare. (What was I thinking? I could have done a few more pages in that time… O.r not…) But I’d done the best I could and so I settled down to wait, hoping for the precious editorial comments.
A week later, on the 31st August, I got my email. I had a readable writing style and had created empathetic, likeable characters. That was good. Very good, I reckoned, for a relative beginner. Then came the shocker. If I could revise the submission, along the lines suggested, then they would be happy to assess my full manuscript. Shock gave way to panic, as I realised the scale of the task in front of me.
Taking a deep breath, I replied with a short email saying that I’d get my full manuscript back to them in three weeks time. I loved every minute of it. Almost every minute, anyway. My hero, Matt and my heroine, Beth started to rear up off the page. I wanted the plot to go this way, but Matt told me quite firmly that it was going to go that. From time to time, Beth rapped me lightly across the knuckles, telling me that she had a little more backbone than that, or joking her way out of a situation when I would have had her buckling under the pressure. Three weeks later, I said a regretful goodbye to them, and sent their story back to Romance HQ in London, hoping that this wasn’t the last I’d get to see of them.
Then followed more positive, encouraging emails from editor Lucy, suggesting points where I should improve the story. Then, just two days after I’d sent, what turned out to be my final, revisions off, I got a call. My first thought was that the latest version of my manuscript hadn’t been received and it took a while before it realised they were offering to buy my book.
I’d read about The Call, but never really thought it happened that way. But it does, and it was happening to me. Fortunately, Lucy seemed to be well in control of the situation and she nursed me through it with aplomb, while I made a valiant attempt not to sound as if my brains had just flown out of my ears. This was The Call!
After that, everything seemed to blur, in a burst of frenzied activity and excitement. Calls to my family and friends. Flowers. Lots of hugging. And before I could fully comprehend that I wasn’t dreaming, a title and a publication date. All She Wants for Christmas, by Annie Claydon. Published by Mills and Boon, available October 2011. However many times I type that, it never seems to lose its magic.
And now the future – and the start of the next book! I have a feeling that the next year may not always be easy, but it’ll be interesting. And with the support and help from the fabulous Medical writers and from so many people in the Harlequin and Mills and Boon communities , and the opportunity to do something I’ve always loved – writing – it’s going to be a joy. Can’t wait!