Friday, February 02, 2007
Presenting..... Abby Gaines
Tell us about your latest book 'Whose Lie Is It Anyway?'
The heroine, Holly, is a squeaky-clean accountant who's accused of fraud and is forced to take a job working for Jared, a man who'll break every rule in the book. They're total opposites, both very strong-willed, and both live by their own codes of honor - which gives plenty of scope for humor in the story. it's a fun read, but I like to think there's also quite a lot of emotional depth! The book is published by Harlequin Superromance (Mills & Boon Superromance in Aus/NZ), and is available now.
How long have you been writing and what made you start?
I've been writing, um (counting on fingers), nearly six and a half years. Yikes! Actually, I wrote my first romance novel when I was a teenager. I sent it to Mills & Boon, where I imagine some poor assistant editor probably died laughing at my efforts. Years later, after I had my first child, I began working as a freelance business journalist. After a while I started to think about other ways to use my writing abilities, and remembered my former love of romance novels. I went to a romance conference, bought the how-to books, and started from there.
Many people spend a long time finding an agent, can you tell us about your agent hunt?
I queried a lot of agents after I finished my first book, and had a little bit of interest...but no actual offer of representation. Every so often I tried again with my favored few, to no avail. They I struck gold - an offer of representation from a junior agent at a top agency. I was over the moon!
Sadly, I realized in less than a year that the situation wasn't working. I think the agent and I just didn't click in terms of our expectations. I ended the relationship, and although it left me agentless, felt very relieved. Since then, I've found that most of the writers I've talked to have felt that for whatever reason they made the wrong choice with their first agent, and it took a second go to get it right. The same applied to me. When I had an offer of publication from Superromance, I emailed five agents to see if they were interested. Two weren't, one was but it became clear she wouldn't have time to respond within my timeframe, and I began discussions with the other two. I quickly settled on my final choice, we both made our expectations clear, and it's working very well.
Everyone loves a good call story, what was yours?
I'd had revisions requested from Superromance, and I'd submitted those and was waiting with great hope...I felt as if I was getting encouraging noises from the editorial team. Then I finaled in the Golden Heart, so I emailed the editor to tell her the good news. That was on the weekend, so I was hopeful I'd get The Call early the next week...some might say foolishly optimistic...
On Monday, my 10-year-old daughter asked me, "When do you think you'll sell a book?" My usual answer to this question was either "I don't know" or "Probably never". But this time said, "I think it'll be this week." Well...it wasn't.
But the next week, the phone rang about 6:30pm Monday New York time, and my brain automatically calculated it couldn't possibly be an editor calling...but...it was!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Never believe that you can't write anything better than the book you've just finished, because you can - you'll be amazed by how much better you'll get, if you're willing to work at it. Which brings me to my next point: never, ever, ever give up.
Can you tell us about what you're working on now and what books are coming out in the future?
I have another Superromance out in April (USA and Aus/NZ), called Married by Mistake. It's about a bride who's jilted on a reality TV show, and an unexpected groom steps in...
In May, my first release from Harlequin NASCAR, Back on Track, is out in the USA, and it should be in NZ a month or two later. That's a fun book about a charming, playboy NASCAR driver and the sport psychologist who's hired to whip him into shape out on the track. She gets into his head and his heart way more than he ever wanted...
Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed, Abby. I know you're going to have a long and successful career.
Abby Gaines writes funny, tender romances for Harlequin Superromance and Harlequin NASCAR. She sold her first book in 2006, after nearly six years of trying...it really was a dream come true. www.abbygaines.com
Great interview, girls! Abby, it was so great to meet you last summer, and I can't wait to meet Sara (although I feel like I already know her...)
Love the title of your book, Abby. And the premise. It's on my TBR pile. Can't wait.