Brooklyn Ann | From a Quirky Idea to a Book Contract
December 17, 2013
I'd lost my career and my mother (that part was the worst) in five month's time
and my attempts to query an earlier novel failed miserably. Half mad from grief,
I took a gamble with my small inheritance to take a year off, research the
industry better, perfect my craft, and write a better, more marketable manuscript.
I replaced my dinosaur computer with a laptop and got the internet. Wow, I
learned a ton. The first thing: A writer NEEDS the internet. :) But I had little
idea as to what to write.
I tried a brief stint as a financial adviser and though I learned a ton about
finance, I was a complete failure at making a career out of it. But... I got THE
My coworkers asked me what I wrote and I explained what paranormal romance was.
Then I heard, "Oh, like TWILIGHT?" for the 100th freakin' time. As one who'd cut
her teeth on vintage Anne Rice, Maggie Shayne, The Lost Boys, and the Subspecies
movies, it kinda irritates me when people think TWILIGHT is the first vampire
craze ever. I knew about Bram Stoker, but I was pretty sure the history went
I took out my "Encyclopedia of the Undead" that my aunt got me in my goth days
and found out that the first vampire story in English was written in the REGENCY
period by none other than Lord Byron's physician, Dr. John Polidori. In fact,
the story evolved from a ghost writing competition with Byron, Percy Shelly, and
Mary-freakin'-Shelley. Frankenstein was another story birthed from that fateful
Polidori's tale spawned a vampire-craze all over western Europe long before
Dracula, The Vampire Chronicles, Twilight, etc.
I adore regency romances! I've read Judith McNaught and Johanna Lindsay like an
addict. Virginia Henley and Eloisa James are my heroes. I love rebellious
heroines with unconventional dreams. I got to thinking....why was this vampire
craze never mentioned in regency novels? Or Mary Shelley's work, for that matter?
I did a little more digging. How far had feminist literature progressed by then?
In Georgian times, a famous work was: A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN, by
Mary Wollstonecraft. She was none other than MARY SHELLEY'S MOTHER!!! It was too
delicious for words.
Imagine a regency heroine idolizing those women and wanting to write horror
novels of her own. Then I got to thinking again about vampires. Wouldn't
Polidori's story piss them off? Especially one trying to pose as a member of
As Stephen King would say: POW!!! And it all started with me trying to prove a
point to people who probably didn't care.
In a state of giddy delight, I finished the rough draft in less than three
months. It was the most FUN I've ever had writing. Even better was that my beta
readers had fun reading it.
I polished it up and wrote the query. I got a ton of requests right away, most
complimenting the title....which was ALSO an accident. While writing the novel,
I had no clue what to call it, so I gave it a joke title. My vampire was a duke,
so I called it "BITE ME,
But when I threw it out on Twitter, people loved it so much, even going so far
as to say they'd buy it due to the title. So it stuck.
After having fulls with 8 agents, I signed with one. The others passed because
the manuscript wasn't awesome enough...which proves I yet again queried too
soon. The agent I'd signed with ended up closing shop a few months later.
I took a gamble and inquired on the status of my submission with a few
publishers and queried a few more. I didn't expect to get far with the
inquiries, but figured I'd find a home for BITE ME, YOUR GRACE with a
small respectable house. Still, both inquiries led to full requests and the
editor of Sourcebooks even emailed me personally when she received it to say she
loved the title. Then a smaller house requested the full...and offered a
contract within two days.
I was totally stoked. The publisher loved the book, their terms were appealing,
their authors were great (in fact, a few were former clients of my ex agent) and
I admired their cover art. However, Sourcebooks was still considering the
manuscript. Following protocol, I informed the editor of the offer and asked for
two weeks for a response. I fully expected her to pass, being so busy. To my
surprise, she didn't.
For the next week and a half, my inner voice vacillated between "Hurry up and
reject me already!" and "Could they REALLY be considering it?"
But after a bunch of crazy emails and exciting phone conversations, Sourcebooks
counter-offered with a three book deal. "I just couldn't let that book go," said
the almighty DEB WERKSMAN.
As much as I liked the other publisher, it was in my best interest to take Deb's
And as a gangster-skater hybrid from the 90's would say, "Shit just got real, Yo."
With hard work, a multitude of happy and unhappy accidents, and untold support
from friends and family, my dreams have begun to come true.
BITE ME, YOUR GRACE was
released on April 2nd and it seems to be doing well!
And one commenter can win their choice of a print or digital copy of BITE ME, YOUR GRACE (US
28 comments posted.
Re: Brooklyn Ann | From a Quirky Idea to a Book Contract
Super excited to read this!!! :) thank you for the chance
(Vickie Schultz 10:32pm December 15, 2013)
This looks like a great fun read! I am going to be looking for more books! Thanks for the opportunity!
(Shirley Bennett 12:24pm December 17, 2013)
Congratulations on all the excitingness! :-)
(Chelsea Brooks 12:29pm December 17, 2013)
I can't wait to read the book since this post was so entertaining. I'm in a vampire kind of binge right now anyway!
(Laura Gullickson 2:16am December 17, 2013)
This sounds really good I can't wait to read it.
(Penney Wilfort 3:24am December 17, 2013)
I love the title and cover. Your book sounds so good. Congrats to you.
(Sue Brandes 5:54am December 17, 2013)
This looks like a book I'd love to read!!! Congrats!!!!
(Bonnie Capuano 7:28am December 17, 2013)
Let me start out by saying that I wanted to give you my Sympathies in the loss of your Mother. I know that when it happens, things seem so surreal, and you never quite get over the grieving process. My Mother passed away almost 12 years ago, and it still seems like yesterday. My problem is that I never took the time out to really grieve her death. There was so much going on in my life at the time, that I sort of went through the motions of taking care of my Dad, and taking care of loose ends. That out of the way, let me say that I don't read this genre, but after reading your posting, you make me WANT to take a chance and read your books!! I can see how you've really done your research, and poured your heart and soul into your book, and I can't wait to be a part of it!! Congratulations on what I'm sure is going to be a great career choice for you!!
(Peggy Roberson 10:40am December 17, 2013)
Very much want to read your book. :) Do hope you have a nice
(Leslie Davis 11:02am December 17, 2013)
I have this book down on my want list!
(Colleen Conklin 11:17am December 17, 2013)
This looks like a great book. Vampires are one of my favorite genres.
(Amy Kincade 12:38pm December 17, 2013)
Many thanks to your mother's spirit for providing that prod to go in a new direction in your life! From grief came such a great thing!
Thank you for sharing this with us!
(Felicia Ciaudelli 1:15pm December 17, 2013)
This sounds like great fun to read! A woman who wants to ruin her reputation makes for a grand story! Thanks for the contest.
(Vennie Martinisi 1:48pm December 17, 2013)
Can't wait to read!
(Sharon Cook 4:03pm December 17, 2013)
Sounds like a great book. Sorry for your loss.
(Denise Austin 4:12pm December 17, 2013)
thank you for the chance!
(Vickie Schultz 4:33pm December 17, 2013)
What a fun books! Vampires and the regency time period, what a winner! And to
be doing three books sounds great! I want to read this series! Thank you so
much for letting me know about this. Can't wait to read the books.
(Peggy Allen 6:57pm December 17, 2013)
Wow, Congrats on your new book: BITE ME, YOUR GRACE. I love
the book cover too! I am so sorry to hear of the loss of
your Mother. My Mother and Sister both passed away a month
before Christmas back in 1995 so Holidays are hard for me
since then. I am happy for You getting a laptop computer and
getting your writing career going again too! I love Vampire
stories and I know that I would truly love to win and read
your new book this Christmas! Happy Holidays and Thank You
very much. Cecilia CECE
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 7:07pm December 17, 2013)
I enjoyed reading about your path to being pubbed. I love the title and plan to look further into this intriguing book.
(Marcy Shuler 7:15pm December 17, 2013)
Sounds like a great read!
(Carolyn Rhodes 9:13pm December 17, 2013)
I love Regencies too - tho I've never read one with a Vampire!
(Diane Sallans 9:39pm December 17, 2013)
OMG I love the premise of Bite Me Your Grace! Definitely on
my wish list!
I'm with you on being irritated with people who think
Twilight is the first real vampire type books that were
popular -- or good (don't even get me started on that train
of thought ....)
(Glenda Martillotti 10:14pm December 17, 2013)
I did read a Regencies book about vampire who wants to be human again. I can't remember what the title is. I'm going to have to go through some boxes to find this book. Thanks for the giveaway.
(Kai Wong 11:44pm December 17, 2013)
Congrats! Thanks for sharing your experience of trying to get
published. This sounds really good, and I'm definitely adding
it to my TBR list.
(Tina Rucci 11:46pm December 17, 2013)
I loved reading the story of how Bite Me, Your Grace came to
be. I can't wait to read it. Congratulations!
(Deidre Durance 11:03am December 18, 2013)
Terrific story, and, although I'm sorry you didn't go with the
smaller publisher, it is undoubtedly in your best interest to
sign with some one who can provide the distribution you need.
Best of luck!
(Janet Martin 7:23pm December 18, 2013)
I can't wait to read your book. =)
(Brandi Dagwan 1:55am December 19, 2013)
Congrats on the publication of Bite Me, Your Grace! It sounds like a fascinating book. Thanks for sharing your experiences in writing.
(Bonnie Hometchko 8:53pm December 21, 2013)
Registered users may leave comments.
Log in or register now!