Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Being the Author, part 2

You know, there are certain phrases you practice in front of your mirror, so that when the time comes to use them, you’ll be ready to say them with style, panache, and just the right amount of calm collectedness. Like:
“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”

“I’d like to thank the Academy…”

“My fellow Americans…”

“I, Kimberly, take you, Jon Bon Jovi…”


“I’m off to London to have lunch with my editor.”

Well, I still haven’t had the chance to use any of the first four, but practicing that last one really came in handy recently. Because I did go to London and have lunch with my editor. Squee!

Okay, so I got on the wrong train (totally not my fault and I wasn’t the only one on the wrong train. It had been announced incorrectly), and then I got a little bit lost in Richmond and went the long way around to the Mills and Boon office, but those mishaps aside didn’t take the glam out of the event. Other than showing up at the office a little sweaty from my trek.

Sadly, I have no pictures (sorry, Angel, but you weren’t there to remind me).

I presented myself to the receptionist and told her who I was. She had to call up for someone to come get me. (Boy, security is tight. I was wondering if aspiring authors wander in off the streets occasionally trying to find an editor.) There’s a M&B rack in the lobby, so I perused the books while I waited. Happy of happiness, I found one of my books on the rack! I’m on a lobby display rack! How cool!

Then Lucy (Gilmour – my lovely editor) and Bryony (Green – Senior Ed of Modern Heat) came down to get me from the lobby and took me upstairs into the M&B sanctum. Just the thought of all the creative energy and book-making gave me the shivers. Alas, it looked a bit like any other office (I’m not sure what I was expecting). But then, editors came out of their cubicles to say hello: Tessa Shapcott (head of the Modern/Presents line), Jenny Hutton, Sally Williamson (Lynn Raye Harris’s editor), Joanne Grant, Kimberley Young (who let me interview her for the Playground a couple of years ago) – if anyone from the M&B office is reading this and I’ve left you off the list, my apologies. A newbie author can only absorb so much fabulous editorial at one time. Talk about feeling special – after so many years of stalking editors at conferences, having so many actually want to say hello is just surreal.

Then it was off to lunch. Lucy and Bryony led me to a wonderfully hidden-down-a-back-street French restaurant where we sat in a walled-in courtyard. A bottle of wine, a menu of things I didn’t quite recognize, everyone around me with either a British or French accent – I felt like the punch line to every Alabama Redneck joke ever invented.

And then I began to babble. Hmm, seems I should have spent less time practicing accepting my Oscar and more working on making small talk with my editors. I don’t know why I was nervous. Bryony and Lucy are both wonderfully friendly people, and I know this wasn’t a job interview, but still… Babble city. Ugh. Did I mention the Alabama Redneck part?

But all good news from my editors. My books seem to be doing all right. They seem happy with what I’m writing and want me to write more books. Lucy has confidence I’ll be able to get the revisions on the current book done (glad one of us does!). And I was told that I could come back for lunch again when I bring AC over to see her grandparents next year. (Annual lunch with my editor in London? Really? Man, I love this job!)

Then I was back on the train headed back to central London with a couple of M&B books in my bag for the ride home. (Okay, so I asked for books. Tacky, but I’d read my entire magazine on the wrong train earlier.)

Back in London, I met up with the fabu Heidi Rice, fellow Modern Heat author, who continued my day of author glamor by taking me to the National Gallery Café for drinks. Drinks overlooking Trafalgar Square while talking about editors and books and royalty statements made me feel very Author-like indeed. I didn’t miss the surreptitious glances of “Are they famous people?” from the folks at the next table as we tossed around publishing terms. Good for the ego -- if not great for my liver or waistline.

The most horrible train ride ever followed as I made my way back to where I was staying with some friends. However, in the midst of my misery (and trust me, crowded commuter trains out of London when there’s been an accident on the tracks and mucked up the entire schedule is misery indeed), I came up with an idea for book number five. Yep, I felt like an author.

Now I’m home in Alabama and there’s absolutely no glamor to be found as I dig through the post-vacation mess of laundry/mail/empty fridge – oh, and let’s not forget the optimistic deadline I gave Lucy about my revisions looming on the horizon.

But I had lunch with my editor in London. Squee!


Christine said...

Welcome Home! Glad your trip was so amazing and that your lunch with your editor was fruitful.


Andrea Laurence said...

Hmm... lunch at a french cafe with wine. You mean your editor didn't make you jump off a mountain? I wonder if all the editors have different rituals...

Problem Child said...

Did I mention how much I (Heart) my editor? No mountain jumping, but she did point me in the direction of the most fabulous little dress shop where I was very glad the airline had baggage restrictions or else I'd have been in much trouble!

Playground Monitor said...

No pictures? Must we have this tattooed across your forehead? ::sigh:: I'm glad you had such a positive experience, wrong train and all.

Angel said...

I just get all excited and jumpy for you just reading this. How totally exciting!!! I bet that author-ish feeling is awesome.

Sigh... Our author girls are growing up, hanging with their editors... we're so proud. :)


Angel said...

See, I didn't even fuss about the pictures. Because, while I would have taken pics with Heidi, etc., I probably wouldn't have gone in to the offices weilding my camera. Although one pic of you all together wouldn't have been too much to ask. :)


Instigator said...

You know, I think maybe the styles fit the lines :-) Wine and French food in a little atmosphere laden bistro sounds very modern/presents to me. And jumping off the side of a mountain is absolutely something a Blaze Babe would do. Maybe it's part of marketing? :-D

I'm so glad you had such a great trip, PC! We missed you.


P.S. The jumping was actually pretty fun.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Oh wow, that sounds like so much fun!!!! Wish I could have gone with you. Like you, I totally heart my editor too. I'm so glad I got to meet her in SF. :)

LOL about the Alabama redneck. I'm sure you sounded glamorous to them. Now that we have our lunch scheduled, I do hope you won't be disappointed in the local fare after all that wine and French food (lucky!). You have to settle for me and a sandwich now. ;)

M.V.Freeman said...

Woohoo! How awesome! :-)

And sorry, I possibly cannot see you as an Alabama Redneck--Ever! (I on the other hand...)

And not only was it a great experience...your next book idea came about--Yay!

I hope you have many more experiences like this!

Problem Child said...

I don't know, Lynn... it's pretty easy to talk you into opening a bottle of wine. :-)

Christine said...

Hmmmm... I am targeting BLAZE. But BLAZE Babes jump off sides of mountains and MODERN/PRESENTS ladies go to quaint bistros and sip wine.

May have to switch targeted lines... JK

Sherry Werth said...

So glad you had a wonderful trip! Well, all except for the train ride...but you did get a story idea from it.
Stay with the Modern/Presents line. For some odd reason I just can not picture you jumping off the side of a mountain. : D

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I'm glad you are back safe & sound. And good luck with your
5th book.