Jul 18 2008
Gena Showalter is not just another pretty face. She is the author of thirteen books, has made the New York Times Bestseller list a number of times, along with the USA Today bestselling list with another eleven more books in the hopper. Her range includes paranormal, contemporary, urban fantasy and young adult novels.
And of course, she is one of the star hosts of AuthorTalk, the hilarious videos featuring authors talking to other authors. Or Jill Monroe and Gena Showalter talking over other authors. It’s hard to watch those videos and NOT be tempted to read a Gena Showalter. After all, you’ll need an answer for the most important question of the universe–What is your favorite Gena Showalter novel?
I’d written for a little over two years and had six manuscripts under my belt when I bagged an agent. Almost right away, we found a home for that sixth book, The Pleasure Slave. I shouted from the rooftops, told all my friends and family, and emailed my local writer’s group. Congratulations came pouring in. After all, my dream of becoming a published author had just come true. Until. . .
Two days later, for reasons no one could have predicted, we found out there would be no deal. I was devastated. I had to shout from the rooftops once again, only this time I was crying and embarrassed while doing so. I admit it, I sank into a funk. But the publishing house liked my voice so they later decided to buy my next book on proposal. A proposal that wasn’t yet written. (None of the other books under my bed would have worked. Except for one – which later became Animal Instincts — they were learning experiences.) So, I picked myself up with the help of my BFF Jill Monroe, hopeful once again, and wrote a new proposal, which turned out to be The Stone Prince. Deep down, I now realize I’d tried to recreate everything the publishing house had loved about The Pleasure Slave in the new manuscript. Sadly, though, they didn’t like this new effort.
Crushed again! Baby that I am, I wallowed for a few months. When I picked myself back up (again with the help of Jill) I finished writing the book. We shopped it everywhere, but no one wanted it. What was I doing wrong? I wondered. That question plagued me as I sat down to write my next manuscript. Awaken Me Darkly is what flowed out of me. In the back of my mind, I think I was trying to create something the exact opposite of the other two books. Where they were light and humorous, this one was dark and angst ridden. (Perhaps I went too far. You be the judge.) We shopped it, and once again rejections began pouring in.
Now, two more years had passed during all this writing and shopping. Two years of rejections. Then Harlequin decided to open up a single title line, HQN, and called my agent, hoping one of her other clients could write for them. That client couldn’t, but my agent said, "Have I got the author for you," and sent them The Stone Prince. A few weeks later, my agent received a fax. Seemed the phones were down at Harlequin but executive editor Tracy Farrell had read my book, loved it and wanted to discuss it in a week when she returned to office.
The day before Tracy returned, though, my agent left. Two weeks passed before the women were able to hook up. Two weeks of wondering and waiting, too afraid to hope. The only person I dared talk to about it was Jill Monroe. Again, I was too afraid. Then, the call came in. HQN did indeed want to buy it plus another book (which turned out to be The Pleasure Slave).
I didn’t tell anyone but Jill until the contract was signed. And yeah, after I signed those contracts I shouted from rooftops.