My First Sale: Erin McCarthy, An Author Who Can’t Resist a Challenge
Erin McCarthy started her writing career by penning fun, breezy, contemporary romances. She then transitioned to fun, breezy, contemporary paranormals. More recently, with My Immortal, McCarthy tackles a dark look at redemption. Her first sale story is a microcosm of her overall writing career, one filled with meeting the challenges that are presented to her.
I sold my first book back in late 2002 after entering a contest on Lori Foster's website. Selling I way I did was a complete accident and a total shock. I was bored, playing online, and decided to see what Lori's upcoming releases were. I'd been writing seriously for a year and a half, and had several projects out to publishers. I was at that point of feeling I was so close to selling I could taste it, having won contests, gotten requests for full manuscripts, and even a phone call from an interested editor. I was excited but edgy, ready for that big moment. I saw the Brava novella contest on Lori's site and thought I would give it a try. I wrote the entry (750 words) over the next day or so and sent it to Lori before I could change my mind. She emailed me back immediately to say she loved it and that I had a strong voice and asked if I had finished the novella. Well, uh, no, since I'd only written the first three pages the night before. :-D But then Lori wrote words that changed my life. She said if I ever finished it, she would love to read it. If? If? She didn't even know it, but she threw down the gauntlet. I had a NY Times bestselling author saying she would read my work, and there was no way in hell I wasn't going to finish that novella. There was just no "if–? about it.
So I wrote the novella in ten days and sent it on to Lori. She read it that night, bless her heart, and sent me an email to say she was halfway through and loving my novella "Hard Drive.–? She told me to watch my inbox, which got my adrenaline pumping along with a healthy dose of fear. I wasn't sure exactly what she meant and I was basically freaking out, so to distract myself I went off shopping at Target. I bought towels and cookies, the vanilla sandwich kind (yes, the day is burned in my memory). I got home and there was an email from Kate Duffy at Kensington asking me to call her. I did, hoping that she was going to request I send her the whole novella of Hard Drive.
Instead, she said she'd read it, loved it, wanted to buy it. Hello. I had no idea that Lori had emailed her the whole novella already. It was a beautiful, beautiful moment. After babbling incoherently, I then had to cut her off because I was my daughter's Girl Scout leader and I had fifteen 9 year olds waiting up at school for me. They brought me back to reality pretty quick.
But it was an amazing start to a fabulous career and I'm eternally grateful to both Lori and Kate.