An Embarrassing Tale!
Melissa’s Fate, my new romantic fiction novel, is now available! I wanted to reveal a little known fact with you. The story Beth shares during the interview with Joan on page two is partially true. I wrote Melissa’s Fate twenty-five years ago. When I queried agents (by actual mail), I assumed they would all be thrilled to represent a book from a new “up and coming” author such as myself! You can imagine my chagrin as I received one rejection letter after another.
I belonged to a writer’s group, and one of our published authors was represented by an agent from the William Morris Agency in New York. This agent visited our group, affording me the chance of a lifetime; an opportunity to pitch Melissa’s Fate to him in person. I was so nervous I couldn’t complete a coherent sentence. Lucky for me, he had read the first ten pages and already knew he was going to ask for the full manuscript. I was elated and wasted no time sending the large envelope to his office along with an SASE; self-addressed, stamped, envelope.
I waited impatiently. One month turned into several without a word. Meanwhile, I continued to receive rejection letters from other agents I had queried and was becoming totally discouraged. As a last resort, I asked the published author if he knew anything about the status of my book. His response was, “Oh yeah, he can’t sell it. Children are taboo in romance.” My heart sank. I was devastated. And the agent didn’t even contact me! He should have rejected my work himself.
Fast forward twenty years – I’ve had one biography/memoir book published and a second one waiting so I’m looking for family pictures to include with it. My husband is searching boxes in our closet when he says, “Honey did you know this box has manuscripts in it?”
“Probably,” I answer. “I have manuscripts everywhere!”
“No. These are from New York and San Francisco and they’re not open.”
My ears perk up and a full-fledged mystery unfolds. I reach for the first large envelope. The return address is from the William Morris Agency in New York City and the postmark is from twenty years ago. I rip it open and, upon first glance, believe he must have hated it because there are notes all the way through it. Not so. This agent from the most prestigious literary agency in the country had line- edited my book, mailing it to me so I could make the changes and send it back. He’d attached notes like “good plot twist” and “really liked the ending.” One of his notes said, “probably not a blockbuster but a really good love story.” He even sent a list of what publishers he planned on querying.
Now, I don’t know why I never saw the envelopes before now. Both contained Melissa’s Fate and both agencies were interested. For some reason, God didn’t want it published then, and His timing is perfect.
Thanks to Cynthia Hickey and Forget Me Not Romances, an imprint of Winged Publications, and Stephanie Hansen of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, publication of Melissa’s Fate is finally a reality. I hope you will pick it up and read it, and I sincerely hope you’ll be blessed by having read it.