May 30 2008
Rachel Gibson’s first book was Simply Irresistible, a secret baby romance, which featured a “charm school graduate and Southern belle extraordinaire” who runs away from being a trophy wife, has a one night stand, and goes on to build an empire (a small one, but still). I knew then that Gibson marched to the beat of her own drummer. Gibson excels at her sports heroes, particularly the hockey books (See Jane Score is my fave although Simply Irresistible was huge fun), and brings back the sports in her latest book, Not Another Bad Date.
The day I got that first sale call is still very clear in my memory. It was the morning of February the 10th, 1996. Geraldo was on television, and I was wearing my pink sweats and getting reading for my three minute workout on my treadmill.
I had been writing and submitting my work for over six years. I’d completed four full manuscripts and a partial of three chapters and a synopsis. I’d racked up around twenty-five rejections from every major publisher in New York and Canada. I’d won the Golden Heart award in 1994 for the best contemporary manuscript. Back in those days, winning the Golden Heart was pretty much a guarantee that you’d publish. It was kind of expected, and it seemed that everyone else who’d won that year was getting published. Everyone but me. By the time 1996 rolled around, I’d gotten so discouraged by rejection that I’d stopped writing. I’d buried my Golden Heart necklace in the back of my sock drawer so I wouldn’t have to see it and be reminded of my failure. I knew I’d get back to writing someday, but I needed a little time and distance from it.
So, when the phone rang that February 10th, the last thing on my mind was writing. I was just relieved to put off the grueling workout for a few more minutes. When my agent told me that she’d sold my book to Avon, I was first shocked and then confused. I’d thought all my manuscripts had been thoroughly rejected with a big red "Hell No" stamp. I’d forgotten about that little three chapter proposal I’d written and sent to my agent. The editors at Avon loved my voice in those chapters and wanted to buy the book despite the synopsis being "the worst synopsis they’d ever read."
I don’t have the best memory. Sadly, my brain is kind of a sieve, but I will never forget what it was like to see the faces of my children for the first time or how it felt to sit there in my pink sweats and feel my heart pound as if I’d just completed my three minutes on the treadmill.