And I am THRILLED!
I met Patricia at the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight & Magnolia Conference. (Somehow, I managed to find an agent and receive an award from that conference–GRW, you are the best!) She was my first pitch at the conference, and, well, wow. That evening, I told my husband that pitching Patricia was kind of like sitting down with a really good cup of hot chocolate–it was immediately comfortable, completely enjoyable, and I left thinking, “Let’s do that again!”
Suffice it to say, I don’t think that’s how people usually feel about most pitches.
Several things stood out about Patricia. First, she “got” me as a writer. When I said Edenbrooke was “Jane Austen meets the Gilmore Girls,” she immediately knew what I meant. (Plus, how could I not love a fellow Girlmore Girls fan?) She asked good, thoughtful questions, and I felt like she had a handle on what I was trying to achieve by the time we finished. Plus, she was enthusiastic! I cannot emphasize this enough. I was practically skipping down the hall after the pitch.
When I got home, I had some significant revisions I needed/wanted to do. So, I couldn’t send off the manuscript to anyone for a few weeks. When I did send the partial Patricia had requested, she asked for the full the next day! (I apologize for all the exclamation marks, but they’re warranted. Next day responses are a rarity.) Shocked, I sent it off immediately–and, boy, was I glad that I had finished all those revisions before I sent anything out. Then, I prepared to wait awhile, potentially months.
Well, that was silly because Patricia called me about two weeks later. She loved my manuscript. (Hooray!) She thought it was exactly what I had described, which was a major relief. I’d been sweating the thought that maybe I had made the story out to be something it wasn’t. We discussed ideas I had for future books in the series–since I’m nothing if not a planner, I have plenty of those. She had questions about where I wanted to take certain characters, and she adored two of my personal favorite characters. She shared some editorial suggestions she had for How to Get Away with Marriage, with which I completely agreed. It was very important to me that an agent would make such suggestions, and Patricia’s were insightful and honest.
She offered to represent me!
Did you ever have what seemed like an impossible dream when you were a child of what you wanted to be when you grew up? When Patricia offered to rep me, my little girl dream of being a novelist seemed an awful lot more tangible. For a moment, I was Jo March in Little Women striking out on her own and writing her first novel. I will never be able to express to Patricia how grateful I am for giving me that feeling. It’s the stuff of fantasy.
Once I slowed my internal happy dance, we discussed what her representation would look like. Again, it all seemed surreal, as if Santa Claus had read my wish list and delivered an early Christmas present in the form of Patricia. She is very hands-on in the editorial process. Yeah! She is quick to respond to her clients. Yeah! She wants to develop long-term relationships with her clients. Yeah again!
I signed my agency agreement this evening. What a happy Thanksgiving!
When I sit down this Thursday in front of what will almost certainly be an overcooked turkey (apologies to my family in advance for my poor cooking), I will be giving thanks for the sheer, crazy luck of attending the right conference and pitching the right agent. The entirety of the past six weeks or so still feels a little fantastical to me. I absolutely had no expectation of winning the Maggie Award–anyone who saw my “acceptance speech” will attest to that. (Thank goodness there isn’t video of that.) I didn’t expect too much interest from agents, and I certainly never thought I’d find such an exceptional one so quickly if at all.
Beyond toasting Patricia, I will also be giving thanks to all the friends and family who have supported my writing for the past couple of years. In particular, I thank my husband who is convinced I’ll be the next Julia Quinn despite the fact he’s only read a chapter of my book and that he doesn’t really know who Julia Quinn is. That is faith and love, folks. My parents, my friends, and the ladies of the Louisville Romance Writers have all kept my spirits up and inspired me, and I am incredibly grateful for their support as well.
So, I wish everyone the happiest of Thanksgivings. Mine will be particularly special this year.