My First Sale: Elizabeth Hoyt, Middle-Aged Ditherer Makes Good
Elizabeth Hoyt is a favorite of Jayne and Jane. Between the two bloggers, they’ve reviewed Hoyt’s three books and given them all a grade of B or better. Hoyt’s latest book, The Serpent Prince, takes a dark look at the emotional cost of revenge.
You know those authors who start their bios with, "I've been writing since the age of two. I wrote my first full length manuscript at the age of eleven. It was about little furry people who lived in a redwood forest, wore leaves as headdresses, and liked to dance, and I really think it would've sold if George Lucas hadn't come out with RETURN OF THE JEDI and his Ewoks that year.–? That's not me. I never thought about writing until the age of thirty-five.
I had other career ideas.
In grade school, I was going to become a– wait for it– potter. How many other eight-year-olds do you know who have a burning ambition to become a ceramic potter? Alas, my ambition was stymied by my inability to center a ball of clay on a potter's wheel. In early high school I dreamed of being an artist, but as graduation neared I realized I needed to think of more practical careers. Which is why I majored in archaeology in college, there being so many archaeological jobs out there for people with undergrad degrees. Okay, so practicality wasn't my strong point, which was confirmed by my next career goal: Classical Archaeologist. Tragically my studies were cut short by my dismal ability to master (mistress?) either Latin or classical Greek.
I married soon after graduating from college and it occurred to me that while I seemed to have no clue as to what I wanted to do career-wise, there was one thing I knew I wanted to do in life. Become a mother. This I could do and did very happily for about the next ten years, until my own mother spoiled my idyllic life of car-pooling and peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunches, by pointing out that my youngest child would soon enter kindergarten and perhaps I should think about getting a job. A paying job.
Naturally, my mind leapt to the most practical career of all: Romance Novelist. Actually, I did consider other careers, Paleoethnobotany, for instance, but all my ideas seemed to involve a) going back to school, and b) pantyhose. Romance Novelist, by contrast, involved sitting in cafes sipping mocha lattes and gazing into space. Really, it was tailor-made for my skill set.
Approximately five years later, I had three historical romance manuscripts under my belt and an agent (an agent!) who was out shopping them. Unfortunately, though, the editors at most of the major houses in New York didn't seem to recognize my brilliance and kept rejecting me. (Fools!) I had pretty much given up hope of selling those manuscripts (which were, by the way, The Raven Prince, The Leopard Prince, and The Serpent Prince) and started to write a contemporary romance (shameless plug: HOT, coming out January 2008 under the name of Julia Harper,) when I got an e-mail from my agent with the subject line: Heads Up. Usually an e-mail with this subject line was my agent's way of gently breaking the news that I had been rejected yet again. (I suspect she was worried that the pile of mounting rejections would send me into a wrist-slashing tailspin.) But this time the content was different. She wrote to tell me that the editor at Warner (Devi Pillai, who has since transferred to Little, Brown & Co) had called her "screaming–? with excitement even though she was only a quarter of the way into the manuscript. "Huh,–? I thought, "perhaps this is a good sign.–?
And it was! On the following Monday my agent called with a two-book offer.