I had to write a one-sentence summary of my forthcoming book Special Interests and it turned out pretty well so I thought I’d share.
A shy labor organizer and an arrogant congressional aide clash over the federal budget but find love the more difficult negotiation.
Is it April yet?
Unlike the first call story, this one ends with an actual phone call. But it started on Twitter.
At the beginning of April, Carina Press held a pitch event. The promise was that you’d hear within two months and if it was rejection, you’d received personalized feedback. I had just signed a contract with Crimson to publish Brave in Heart, but I was working through a contemporary manuscript with my critique partner, The Easy Part.
It’s a book that I love, but one I was convinced I would never be able to sell because it’s set between staffers in Washington, DC. It’s political, and it’s wonky, and there’s an Alzheimer’s subplot. I had already sent it to one publisher (name redacted), from whom I received the dreaded, “I like your writing, but…” rejection. That editor objected to the partisanship implicit in the premise. I was convinced if I wanted The Easy Part to see the light of day, I would have to self-publish it. So I pitched in #carinapitch mostly because I wanted a second opinion — I wanted to know if the book had a shot with a traditional publisher.
Also, among the epublishers, Carina was my first choice. I have loved all the Carina books I’ve read. Plus, I think Carina is just plain smart and savvy about today’s book market. For a manuscript like The Easy Part, which is very youthful and contemporary, it seemed like a good fit. But even with my hopes, I never anticipated that they’d make an offer.
My pitch was: “Millie — a shy labor organizer – is having a bad year; Parker – an arrogant congressional aide — is having an existential crisis. Together they’ll discover that compared to love, politics is easy.” And a few minutes after putting it on Twitter, I had a request for a full manuscript.
But then, the waiting began.
Theodore Ward is a man of deep passions and strong principles—none of which he acts on—and thus Margaret Hampton ends their engagement. But when Theo strives to win her back, they’re caught in the bloodiest conflict in American history.
Better, no? It’s going into the query stage.
Just for fun …
Together is Enough: literature instructor Keira Smith feels like a professional and personal failure when she meets Brennan Daly, a sexy working-class professor from Ireland. Torn between what she likes and who she feels she should be, Keira struggles to define herself and find satisfaction. (Contemporary Single Title)
Brave in Heart: Margret Hampton ends her engagement to Theodore Ward, fearing his inability to act on the passion in his heart will doom their marriage. More than a decade later, when Theo renews his suit, Margaret goads him into enlisting in the Union Army. They will need to discover how brave they are to get a second chance at love. (Historical Novella, 19th-century America)
The Easy Part: Millie Frank becomes an unwitting celebrity after a DC hostage crisis. Loosing her status as an anonymous cog at a labor right’s organization is such a shock that she uncharacteristically propositions Parker Beckett, an arrogant, charming media specialist, and her opponent her in budget negotiations. Compared to love, politics is the easy part. (Contemporary Single Title)