Thursday, March 25, 2010

It Takes A Village

Did you know the word “Harlequin” can make me cry like a baby? It’s true. The day my editor called with the news that she wanted to buy my book, I started crying the minute “Harlequin” appeared on the Caller ID. The day my contract came in the mail, the day the line edits arrived via courier, the day I first saw the beautiful cover of my book, all those special “Harlequin” days earned their own, very happy tears. And, a couple of weeks ago, when a box of books arrived on my doorstep and I saw “Harlequin” on the shipping label, I cried again. This time, because inside that box, the one that seemed far too small to hold the culmination of a life-long dream, lay copies of The Officer’s Girl.

If I had known they were coming on that particular day, I’d have hired a marching band to serenade the delivery man. Cheerleaders would’ve lined the walkway leading from the street to my front door. After all, this was a momentous occasion. It deserved fanfare. This was the day my debut book for Harlequin American Romance arrived.

That evening as I cradled a copy of The Officer’s Girl to my chest, sniffed its printed pages, admired it’s beautiful cover and didn’t want to let go—ever—I couldn’t help comparing my book to a baby. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and whoever “they” might be, I think they’re right. The same is true for books. It takes a village.

A whole lot of people inhabit my village. My own personal cheering squad, my family. My critique partners, both past and present. The instructors in every one of the hundreds of classes, workshops and writing seminars I’ve attended. The speakers at conferences, the authors of three bookcases filled with books on writing. The ten thousand members of the Romance Writers of America and, in particular, those in my local chapter, STAR. The authors who’ve taken me under their wings and taught me that I was a better writer than I thought I was. The amazing Harlequin staff. And a host of others, including the book distributors and sales staff who will make sure that, come April 13th, The Officer’s Girl appears on store shelves or arrives in mail boxes.

Yes, it takes a village…and I’m grateful to every member of mine.

Who’s in your village?


Estella said...

My village consists of my family and friends.

Gillian Layne said...

What a heartwarming post. Congratulations, can't wait to read your book! :)

Pamela Stone said...

Oh Leigh. I couldn't have come up with any better words. I have to thank the same folks you did. Family, critique partners, speakers, RWA and above all Harlequin for taking a chance on me.

I will never forget each step you described. My husband came home from work a few minutes after the box with copies of Last Resort: Marriage arrived. I was standing in the kitchen cradling my very first book to my chest. He got excited and flashed those deep dimples of his and I started crying. He hugged me, but I don't think he comprehended all the emotions I was feeling at that moment.

Joanne Graves said...

What a lovely post and so true. Congratulations!!

Laura Bradford said...


I'm SO SO SO happy for you. Congratulations!

Can't wait to read it!