Sara Angelini, author of The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy
Getting “the call”
It was the ultimate compliment, a flattery of such epic proportions that one would have thought the earth momentarily shifted off its axis to accommodate the sudden gravity of my inflated ego. An editor had read my manuscript and wanted to publish it! One would think that after submitting my manuscript I would be on red-alert for any hint of a response, even a “that was very well written but we are too busy to accept your work at this time” kiss-off letter. And I would have been, except for one annoying little habit of mine: I never check my phone messages.
You see, I was (and still am) very new to the writing and publishing world. I had not gone through the agonizing hazing of pouring my soul onto paper, dressing it up with a nice bow, and sending it to every publisher and agent in town. I hadn’t experienced the deflation of rejection, the demoralization of hearing “thanks, but no thanks.” I was blissfully ignorant of what every true writer knows: ink is blood drawn from our hearts and we live in a world of vampires.
Me, I was just lucky. I happened to be in the right place at the right time. I’d written a story called The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy, a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and posted it on a few Jane Austen fan fiction sites where it generated some buzz. I cleaned it up and self-published it just for the satisfaction of having a bound copy of my book and for anyone else who wanted a bound copy. It was modestly successful; it paid for my mani-pedi habit for a year or so. I had toyed with the idea of sending out queries, but never got serious about it.
Then one day I received an email from a small publisher requesting to see my manuscript. It was such a surprise, I hardly knew how to respond. I contacted the friend of a friend who had been published and asked if they had ever heard of this publisher. She contacted her agent and editor, who both said yes, they had heard of the publisher…and by the way, could they see the manuscript, too?
Utter panic set in. I had so many versions of the manuscript that I could hardly keep them straight! My stalwart beta reader (and most vocal cheerleader), Debbie, did an emergency edit. I frantically Googled “how to submit your novel” until I found a blog devoted to helping struggling authors get their manuscripts past the publisher’s trashcan. I re-formatted the manuscript, drafted my synopsis, chucked it off to both the agent and editor, and went on about my usual business, certain that I’d heard the last of them.
I very nearly had! My agent, Kevan, got back to me first via email. Or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, my editor, Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks, had left me a couple of messages on my home phone, which I never check! It wasn’t until I got an email from her that I realized that Sourcebooks was interested in publishing my book! Talk about being embarrassed.
But it only got worse from there. My editor loved the book but had one major complaint right off the bat: one sequence in which the hero spoke French was atrocious. It looked as if it had gone through Google’s translator -- and then through some sort of language torture device. Knowing full well that I’d had a native speaker translate the section for me, I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. And then it hit me…I’d sent her the wrong version of the manuscript! The one that indeed had been translated by Google before a kindhearted French reader offered to fix it for me. Oy. Way to make a great impression. God only knew what else was wrong with it.
There was plenty wrong with it. Even without being told, I knew the writing needed to be tighter and more colorful. It was too long by far, had too many extraneous characters, needed a quicker resolution, and the protagonists’ motivations needed to be clarified. I had quite a task before me!
It took a few months but I managed to get the editing process under control. Whenever Deb gave me advice, you better believe I took it! But she listened to my concerns as well, and when I didn’t want to cut a scene because it was close to my heart, it stayed in. It was a collaborative effort with the goal of making my book the best it could be, and I’m so grateful for the help of everyone who contributed to this project.
But as for getting “the call”… I’m afraid I missed out on it!
The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy—in stores October 2009!
A sexy, bold adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice that re-paints favorite characters in twenty-first century colors
Judge Fitzwilliam Darcy, a legal expert on both sides of the Atlantic, is ready to hang up his black robe and return to the life of a country gentleman—until he meets Elizabeth Bennet, a fresh-faced attorney with a hectic schedule and no time for the sexy but haughty judge.
Tempers and sparks fly in Judge Darcy's courtroom— and outside, in a series of chance encounters that give each of them pause—as the two match wits and try to fight their overwhelming attraction. When they meet up in England at an international law conference, they embark on a hot, heavy affair. Back in the States, though, ethical considerations intrude, and each is subjected to a torturous period of soul-searching before they can find their way back to each other...
About the Author
Sara Angelini is an attorney living in the San Francisco Bay area. After earning an MS in Animal Sciences, she decided against becoming a veterinarian when she realized she only liked her own pets and moved to California with her husband to pursue law school. She is working on her third novel.
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