My First Sale by Linda Howard
I don’t know if this author needs introduction. I feel like I’ve been reading Linda Howard for as long as I’ve read romances. There are so many of her books that I’ve read multiple times. Last year when I met Ms. Howard at RWA, I was pretty star struck. Ironically, I found Howard in person (for the tiny time that I interacted with her) to be more represented by her humorous tales such as Open Season or Mr. Perfect than her darker ones. I know that there will be books that Howard has written that I’ll still be re-reading in 30 years.
Her latest romantic suspense, Death Angel, is in stores now.
It was December. I don’t remember the exact date, but I think it was Friday. We had stopped to eat dinner after work, even though I had a niggling premonition that an editor named Leslie Wainger would probably be calling very soon to tell me Silhouette was buying my manuscript. I can’t say why I had that little sense of expectation, but I did.
Premonition or no, we still had to eat dinner. My husband and I both worked the same hours for the same company, so I’d long since drawn a line in the domestic sand about cooking dinner, to wit: the only way I was willing to do it was if he had the responsibility for dinner every other day. That’s only fair, right? Anyway, that’s why we ate dinner out every night on the way home from work.
When we got home, the phone was ringing. I very calmly went to answer it, and this beautiful voice said, "Hi, is this Linda? This is Leslie Wainger, with Silhouette." She had been trying to get in touch with me all week, but she didn’t have my work number, just my home phone number. Because she’s smarter than the average bear, she decided to stay late one night and give me time to get home from work. Yes, this was (ohmigod!) before the age of answering machines! Well, before they were in common usage, anyway, not that she’d have left a message that important even if I’d had an answering machine.
I was still very calm. I said, "I knew you’d call today." And I had known. I don’t know why I hadn’t known it any other day of that week, when she’d been trying to call, but on that particular day, I knew. So we discussed the book, the contract, all of the things a first-time-selling author has to discuss, and I was calm and collected. Leslie even remarked that I was the calmest person she’d ever phoned with that news, that most people were screaming with delight. I was delighted, of course, but I was . . . controlled. In due course, we said goodbye. I hung up, went into the den where my husband was sitting — completely unaware that our lives had been changing while he watched the evening news — flung myself on top of him, and cried for about fifteen minutes. He kept asking, "What’s wrong? What’s wrong?" and of course he thought someone had died, but I was crying so hard it took me a while to settle down and tell him that absolutely nothing was wrong, that instead everything was right.
The heck of it is, we’d already had dinner, so we couldn’t even go out to dinner to celebrate.