May 11 2007
Jenna Black is your typical romance writer which means she’s smart (BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University); she’s got a diverse background (ballroom dancer, traveler of seven continents, dog groomer); and she can tell a story. The story that you can buy is Secrets in the Shadows which is Black’s release from Tor in stores right now. Right now, though, you can read her first sale story for free.
After having written for sixteen years, trying the whole time to get a novel published, I had in some ways given up my hope that one day I would actually see my dreams come true. However, even if I couldn't exactly say my hopes were high anymore, I wasn't ready to quit trying. Not by a long shot. (I'm a very stubborn person!) Besides, in the last couple of years, things had been looking up. I'd even managed to sign with an agent, who was very certain that I'd eventually sell.
Still, sixteen years of having my hopes dashed made me into something of a pessimist. When my agent told me that Anna Genoese at Tor was going to pitch my novel to the powers-that-be, I tried for all I was worth not to let my hopes shoot up into the stratosphere. After all, I'd gotten maddeningly close to selling before, only to see my books shot down. However, no amount of logic could keep my hopes truly down to earth.
A couple of weeks went by, and I hadn't heard anything. By now, I was going absolutely nuts. I didn't know exactly when this pitch was going to happen, but it seemed like it should have happened by now. On a Monday morning before I went in to my day job, I broke down and sent my agent an email, asking if she had any idea when I'd hear.
I checked my email one last time before heading off to work, and there was a response from my agent. I didn't think it could possibly be any good news, because I assumed she would call me if anything exciting were happening. So I was totally unprepared when she said that she had called me at work on Friday and left a message that Tor had made an offer.
I think I screamed when I read the email, because my husband came running, thinking I was in dire pain. But I wasn't. I jumped up and down and generally made a fool of myself. Of course, I had to call in to work to check the message, and sure enough, she'd left one. At around 5:15, when I leave work at 5:00. I was far too excited to risk the 45 minute drive to work–"my hands were literally shaking–"so I rewarded myself with a day off and a fancy dinner with my husband.
The book I'd sold, Watchers in the Night, was the eighteenth novel I'd completed. In the next eighteen months, I sold three more books in the same series to Tor, and two books in a new series to Bantam. It was all a surreal–"and almost unbearably exciting–"experience. To this day, I still have trouble believing it really happened.