Saturday Special: Christine Trent Sold!

I’m excited to have Christine Trent return as my guest. When she appeared on September 3, she was a not-yet-published writer. She’s now a debut author with a two-book contract offer!

Christine is an avid doll collector and fan of all things British. Her travels have taken her to England (many times), France, Spain, Italy and China. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three precocious cats.

I was privileged to meet Christine while attending the 2008 Romance Writers of America® national conference in San Francisco. We’ve since become friends. When I opened the email with her good news, I’m sure she heard me shouting even though I’m in California.

All of those who leave a comment for Christine will be entered in a drawing. The winner will receive a motivational bookmark. (See photo at the bottom of this post.)

I’m sure you’re eager to hear more about Christine’s milestone event, so here she is.

Christine Trent

•Wow, Christine! When you were here as my guest on September 3rd did you expect to be back so soon as a debut author with a contract offer on the table? Would you give us a quick summary of what took place in the weeks following the interview and leading up to that life changing phone call?

Your blog seems to have put a lot in motion! One of the visitors that day, Caroline Fyffe, commented on my rather, er, embarrassingly large library of books (3,000+), which are all cataloged and covered in Mylar dust jackets.  She suggested I develop a workshop on book care and cataloging for writers. So I did. I developed a workshop and presented it to Washington Romance Writers at their October meeting.

I then proposed the workshop to RWA for the 2009 national conference in D.C. Keep your fingers crossed that it’s accepted.

I also continued furiously working on my second manuscript, and also continued receiving rejection letters!

•And then you got The Call! I was so excited when you emailed me to share the news. As everyone who visits my blog soon learns, I love to hear Call stories. Would you please share yours?

Not three weeks after my blog appearance, and a mere four days after my most recent rejection, I got . . . THE CALL. Sort of. I guess I got THE E-MAIL. But I am such a neophyte that getting an e-mail from an editor stating, “When can I call you?” didn’t translate into THE CALL to me, because everyone had told me that if an editor were interested in you, he or she would call you. So, surely an e-mail did not translate into THE CALL, did it? I contacted my friend Delilah Marvelle, who assured me that, yes, you idiot, you just got THE CALL. (Well, she didn’t really call me an idiot, but I’m pretty sure she must have been thinking it.)

Long story short, it was another 48 hours before my Kensington editor called me (that was an ulcer-inducing epoch of time). I was standing in the pouring rain in the Staples parking lot when the 212 area code flashed on my cell phone. I nearly passed out on the wet pavement. I tried to be cool and composed on the call, but I’m sure I wasn’t. In fact, I don’t remember most of the call. At least I was able to drive home. And my first call to scream and shout was to my mother, because you should always call Mom first!

•You got The Call, and life, as you knew it, changed. I’ve gathered your plate suddenly became very full as you embarked on your new career as a published author. Would you please share with us what’s going on now, what you’ve been learning and how you’re adjusting to the living with deadlines?

Oh, my. Well, first my editor wanted some revisions, which were reasonable and simple, but she also wanted the word count beefed up. Deadline: November 15. I’m now obsessed with the lower left-hand corner of my Word document that shows my current word count. She also asked me to develop a Reader’s Guide for the back of the book. Deadline: I have no idea. I think I blacked out during that part of THE CALL.

Third, she wants a second book. That’s the good news. The bad news is that she doesn’t want the book I was halfway done writing; she wants a sequel to the first one. Eeek! So, I need to start over. Deadline: January 15, 2010.

I’ll have other deadlines along the way, but I’m just taking this one day at a time. I consider myself fortunate, as I “only” endured 29 rejections over the course of two years before selling, and I know there are many other writers out there with far more rejections who could put me under the table!

•So, tell us about your debut novel. When does it release?

The Queen’s Dollmaker is the story of a London dollmaker who is falsely accused of smuggling money and jewels to her most famous client, Marie Antoinette, inside fashion dolls. The book will be published as a Kensington trade paperback original sometime in early 2010. A sequel will come out in early 2011.

•Since you’ve just gone through the initial euphoria of getting a contract offer and the resulting return to reality that soon follows, what advice would you offer others who have yet to receive a call about how to prepare themselves for life as a published author?

I think one thing I can say with certainty is that you simply can’t prepare for THE CALL. You will shriek and jump wildly and drive everyone around you nuts. That being said, there are two things I wish I had done in advance. Let me share …

  • 1. Get your web site up and running NOW. You have plenty to say as an unpublished author: the manuscript(s) you’re working on, your favorite writing links, your writing habits, your favorite books, etc. Not only does it give you one less thing to worry about after you get THE CALL, but you have an immediate venue from which to promote your upcoming release. I wish I had done it in advance, but I’m working very hard to get my site launched in the next few weeks.
  • 2. Develop your promotional plan now. Seriously. When you visit a blog you like, or a reader’s web site, or some other site related to your book’s setting or theme, make a note of it. Are there places that will review your book? Organizations that might like to hear you speak? Local bookstores in your region that are potential book signing sites? Keep a small journal of all of those promising promotional venues. You’ll be a lot calmer than I am right now!

Christine, it’s been wonderful to have you back at Romance Writers on the Journey to share your exciting news with us. And now, I’d like to invite your visitors to ask you any questions they have about your sale, your debut novel and what life is like after receiving that long-awaited contract offer.

Keli, it’s such a joy to chat with you and your readers. Thanks for having me. I’d love to answer any questions, and let me ask one of my own: If you like reading Historicals, what will make you pick up a book and read it? Is there a certain look to the cover that attracts you? Does the cover blurb impact your buying decision? Do you read the first page before committing to the book? What else influences you?

Leave a Comment for Christine

Christine will drop by throughout the day to chat. She’d love to hear from you.

If you don’t see a comment form below, please use the link by the post title.

I’m holding a drawing for a quality metal bookmark, which you can use to mark your place when you read your copy of The Queen’s Dollmaker. I’ll conduct the drawing the evening of Nov. 2.

Congratulations to drawing winner Diane Gaston!

Henry David Thoreau bookmark, which reads, "Go confidently in the directino of your Dreams!"

Bookmark reads: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!”

Henry David Thoreau

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About Keli Gwyn

I'm an award-winning author of inspirational historical romance smitten with the Victorian Era. I'm currently writing for Harlequin's Love Inspired Historical line of wholesome, faith-filled romances. My debut novel, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, was released July 1, 2012. I'm represented by Rachelle Gardner of Book & Such Literary. I live in a Gold Rush-era town at the foot of the majestic Sierras. My favorite places to visit are my fictional worlds, other Gold Country towns and historical museums. When I'm not writing I enjoy taking walks, working out at Curves™ and reading.
This entry was posted in author interview, first sale story, Romance Writers of America, RWA Nationals, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Saturday Special: Christine Trent Sold!

  1. Keli Gwyn says:

    Christine,

    Welcome back to Romance Writers on the Journey. I’m thrilled to have you here as a debut author who has landed her first contract offer. Congratulations once again. I’m sooo happy for you!

  2. Christine Trent says:

    Thanks, Keli. You and so many other writers have been ecstatically supportive of me, and I really appreciate it. I’m happy to be back on your blog, too.

  3. Sue says:

    Christine,
    When I first read about the fascinating plot of your dollmaker’s book on a history loop I couldn’t wait to read it. So now, I’m even more excited that Kensington want a sequel to it. Great news and great information on the blog about your call story,
    Thanks,
    Sue

  4. Christine Trent says:

    Thanks, Sue. I’ll be sure to let you know when I have a release date!

  5. ~Carolinel says:

    Happy Saturday morning!!

    First, Christine let me say, congratulations on your sell!! That is sooooo very awesome!! Isn’t the ride wonderful?!?!

    And, second, on your workshop!! I’m so thrilled to hear that you’ve put one together and have presented it already. I pray I get to attend it this year in D.C. I truly would love to catalog all my books. Then at least I might be able to find them when needed….

    And third, are you sitting down—my call came exactly three weeks after being on Keli’s blog also!!

    All you unpubbed out there, I’d e-mail Keli right away and get scheduled. I’m sure her calendar is filling up fast….J

    Seriously—all my best wishes for you and your book. I look forward to reading it!!
    Hugs,
    ~Caroline

  6. Christine Trent says:

    Caroline,

    So the lesson here is that there is a three-week span between appearing on Keli’s blog and getting THE CALL??? LOL *sigh* If only it were that easy. But I think this blog is definitely some great exposure.

    Congrats on your own sale. Look forward to seeing your book on the shelves!

    Christine

  7. Diane Gaston says:

    Christine, you already know I’m thrilled with your sale. Just remember. All those problems of deadlines, revisions, websites, promotion–those are the problems you WANTED to have!!!

    Diane

  8. Christine Trent says:

    Diane, LOL, you are so right! Thank you for that little bit of perspective!

    Christine

  9. Anne Barton says:

    Christine, congratulations on getting the call/e-mail! 🙂 I loved your story. Best of luck with the revisions and the beefing up (I get fixated on the word counter too).

    In response to your question, the main thing I look for (after the author) is compelling hero or heroine. I can usually tell from the back cover blurb whether they’re someone I want to spend several hours with. 🙂

    Congrats, again, on your success! Enjoy!

  10. Christine Trent says:

    Thanks Anne. I hit 110,000 words today, so I think I’m in the safety zone. 🙂

    Here’s hoping my book cover will be one you want to spend several hours with!

  11. Robin Kaye says:

    Christine, Congratulations on getting the call. It was fun reading your story.

    Good luck with your revisions, I know they can be hell.

    I can’t wait to read the book, I’ve heard so much about it already, I’m primed!

    Hugs…Robin 🙂

  12. Christine Trent says:

    Robin, you will undoubtedly be sick of hearing about my book by the time it comes out. But don’t let that stop you from buying copies for all your friends. 🙂

  13. Christine, how exciting for you! Congratulations!! I have read about your book on various blogs and I really love the premise! I can’t wait to read it! Can you give us a hint as to what the sequel might entail? What sort of research did you do and will you have to do for the next one?

    And I am definitely keeping my fingers crossed for your workshop to be picked up for DC. I LOVE to catalogue my books. I am in the process of getting them all on LibraryThing and it is definitely daunting. I am up to 1000 and have not really put a dent in it. The thing is, I keep buying more! LOL BUT, my new policy is that each new book that comes in the door from now on goes on Library Thing first. I’ve also bought new shelves for my writing studio from a bookstore that went out of business. I love the idea of giving those shelves a good home where they will hold much loved books again. (Yes, I am a bit nuts!)

    Keli, you are definitely a good luck charm!

  14. Christine Trent says:

    Louisa,
    Good for you on cataloging your books! I am very proud of you. I use ResourceMate software, which has blown up on my computer (it’s a Vista thing), so I’m on hold with cataloging until I get things straightened out with the company. I have a lateral file cabinet with stacks of books on it waiting for my attention.

    Thanks for asking about my sequel. I’ve tentatively titled it “The Wax Apprentice.” It will follow the story of the dollmaker’s adopted daughter who becomes an apprentice to Madame Tussaud’s traveling wax exhibition, but gets caught up in a dangerous scheme to make wax effigies of prominent English people to fool Napoleon into thinking they are in England when in fact they are not.

    Of course, it’s all subject to my editor’s approval!

    I did quite a bit of research on dolls and the French Revolution for my upcoming book, and my bookshelves are groaning to prove it. For the second book, all I’ve done so far is to start collecting books on Madame Tussaud, but I’ll need to do quite a bit of research on the Napoleonic Wars.

    Keep those fingers crossed until I hear whether or not my proposed workshop has been accepted! Thanks for your visit.

    Christine

  15. Christine, ouch on the computer blow-up! Been there, done that! Not fun.

    The premise of the sequel sounds FABULOUS! I love it! I will definitely keep my fingers crossed, but I think it is a shoo-in. It is such a fascinating idea.

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the workshop as well!

  16. Keli Gwyn says:

    I’ve chosen the drawing winner. Diane Gaston gets the elegant bookmark bearing the quotation by Henry David Thoreau. Congrats, Diane!

  17. Yay, Diane!! What a great prize! A little inspiration goes a long, long way in this business. Diane inspires me all the time!

  18. Christine Trent says:

    Yes, Diane is one awesome lady. She has been very helpful to me with advice since I sold.

    Louisa, thanks for the encouragement about my next book.

    Thanks everyone for stopping by to see me!

  19. Theresa says:

    Great story, Christine.

    Congratulations on your sale!

  20. Christine Trent says:

    Theresa, I visited your web site. It seems like I’ve met you somewhere along the way…

    Thanks for your kind words.

    Christine

Comments are closed.