Monday, January 30, 2012

My Big News!

If you want a word of the week today, I'd have to with "surreal"--which is how this big news feels to me. (But did you know it wasn't a word until 1927??? I guess before that people may have just used unreal. But that doesn't quite capture it, so special thanks to Monsieur Apollinaire for coining it in French.)

Many of you probably saw my announcement on Facebook on Friday, but if not, I can finally announce the big news I've known about since October--Harvest House just bought a three-book series from me!

Now, here's why this is so surreal. Some of the first Christian fiction I read was by Lori Wick. I discovered her books when I was twelve, and my mom and I would both read all of them, even sharing them with my piano teacher. Those books were what inspired my first novel (finished at age 13). And as I finished that first novel and started dreaming of publication, my eyes naturally moved to the spines of those books I so loved.

Harvest House. Oh, the wonders of a publisher like Harvest House! It seemed everything on my shelf was either from Harvest or Bethany. Surely, surely I could find a home there!

But as the years went by and I learned more about the publishing world, I started to think that, while I would find a great publisher (surely!), it probably wouldn't be those ones I'd dreamed of for over a decade. And that was okay.

Still, when I had the chance to meet with an editor from Harvest House at the 2009 ACFW conference, I was excited. I pitched to her a contemporary romance, and she read the first few pages right there in the appointment, and declared that my writing was great. I was now excited but also guarded. I knew how long these things could take, and how an enthusiastic editor didn't always mean anything.

Sure enough, a year went by without hearing anything. I got in touch with this editor and discovered that she'd misplaced the manuscript, so I resent--along with a slew of other proposals for historicals she'd asked to see when I inquired about historical romance possibilities.

But after many months, I got the bad news on that contemporary--they just weren't doing straight-up contemporary romance. So I said, "Well, what about a historical romance set around George Washington's first spy ring, during the Revolution?" I'd just had this idea, you see, knew it would be a great follow-up to Annapolis, which had recently been contracted.

She said, "Oh, I'd be interested in looking at that!" So after finishing up a couple other projects, I got to work researching this idea I had. I titled it Ring of Secrets and came up with one of the best one-line blurbs I've ever managed:

For a Patriot daughter in Loyalist New York, 
opening her heart could mean a noose around her neck.

I sent it off totally unsure that those first three chapters were any good, but I said, "Eh, it'll take her a good while to get to it, anyway. I can always send her a revised version . . ."

An hour later I get an email from this editor. I opened it up thinking it would be, "Thanks, got it!" But no--it said, "Call me!!!" Uh . . . okay. ;-)

In short, she loved it. Loved it so much that we agreed then and there to meet at the conference we'd both be attending in Oregon in August, and that I'd deliver whatever I had finished at the time. She warned me she wasn't the type to take things to committee before she'd read the whole thing, but I was so excited to hear her talking of taking it to committee that that didn't bother me at all. ;-)

So in August, she read the 75% of the book I had finished, and her enthusiasm for it left me giddy. In September, she told me when the committee meeting would be, in October. The day of, she emailed me several times making sure she had every detail of information right, and to tell me to pray. Warned me it would be two weeks before I heard.

Then it came--the email from her, to me and my agent, with the words I'd waited 15 years to hear: "Harvest House wants to buy this series!"
My first three-book deal, with a publisher I've admired since my introduction in Christian Fiction! I could hardly believe it then, and I can still hardly believe it now, three months of negotiations later. =)

But it's real. Ring of Secrets (assuming the title doesn't get changed, which is always a possibility), a fictional account following the real-life, documented activities of Washington's most trustworthy spies, will release 1 January 2013. Just less than a year from today. Here's my unofficial description. =)

Winter Reeves is a Patriot daughter forced to hide her heart amid the Loyalists of the City of New York. Though she has learned to don a mask to hide her thoughts, she has also learned to keep her ears open so she can pass information on British movements to her childhood friend and his Culper Ring. Never before has she had a problem hiding her true heart behind an image of brainless beauty. But then, never before had someone seen straight to her soul.

Bennet Lane returns to New York from his Yale professorship with one goal: to find Washington’s spy hidden among the ranks of the elite. Romance was supposed to be nothing more than a convenient cover story for his search, a way to gain entrance to the world he had so long shunned—though women are terrifying, baffling creatures that inevitably render him bumbling. But when he meets Winter, with her too-intelligent eyes under her too-blank face, he finds a mystery too intriguing to be ignored.

In a world where loyalty can be bought and sold, where no one can be trusted, and where threat dangles ever before them, Winter and Bennet must find a way through the snares of intrigue . . . before their secrets can swallow them whole.

Winter and Bennet (and Robert Townsend, Benedict Arnold, and a host of other historical figures) will be a reality soon. Followed every six months by their sequels, which will follow the next generation of both Culper Ring and the family in the War of 1812, and then next-next generation in the Civil War. ;-)

Yep . . . definitely surreal. But oh, how I praise Him for it!

34 comments:

  1. Congratulations Roseanna, for He has done mighty things! Your books will execute change, and go out to the world like mighty waves in an ocean. Well done and again, congratulations!!

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  2. I'm SO excited for you Roseanna! But, I'm not surprised at all. After just finishing Annapolis, I know your writing is superb and have no doubt that's what drew the editors and committee members to vote YES for Roseanna!!
    Best of all, I can't wait to read them!

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    1. Aw, thanks Anne. =) Those there who read it did indeed comment on the writing--the other committee members were sold on the story idea. I think the menfolk went something like, "Revolutionary War, huh? And spies too? Cool!" ;-)

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  3. Congratulations!!! This year will fly by and before we know it we'll all be reading another Roseanna White masterpiece :) I,for one, cannot wait!

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    1. =) Thanks, Anne! It'll be a busy year for me, for sure. Thank heavens this first one is finished, but I have to get started on number two before long, before edits on this one come in!

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  4. Wow! Don't even know what to say, except the obvious! :) Congratulations cousin! So so so exciting! I can only imagine how special this particular opportunity is for you, with respect to your inspiration those many years ago! Can't wait to read them! <3

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  5. Hello, Roseanna! Congratulations...this news is thrilling! I can't imagine! Thank you for posting your journey- it's enlightening to see the process, and encouraging. I've felt overwhelmed by the whole post-writing process (hehe) that reading this today was God's way of showing me how His timing is perfect. Again, I rejoice with you in your news! Have a delightful day! ~AMY

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    1. Yeah, that time AFTER you write can be so . . . underwhelming and overwhelming both. It's usually a long journey to seeing it in print, but it's always in God's perfect time. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I am so thrilled for you! God said that if we delighted ourselves in him he would give us the desires of our heart, and that is EXACTLY what he has done! Congrats, my shine girl!

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    1. Thanks, Diana! He definitely exceeded my hopes with this one, and I'm giving Him the glory! Can't believe He's brought me here. =)

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  7. Of course I've know this for a long time, but still exciting to hear the whole story. Love the new website look, Roseanna. And yes, it's sad that we can't use any psychology terms in our historicals.

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  8. Yeah, it's taken a while to be talk-about-able, LOL. But it's fun to talk about it now! Even if THEY can't experience anything "surreal." ;-)

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  9. This is so exciting, Roseanna! Congratulations!

    ~ Annette from Live, Learn, Love...but I have a new blog home!

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    1. Isn't it??? LOL. Thanks for sharing the joy, Annette!

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  10. These sound SOOOO good! And I'm THRILLED I won't have to wait ANOTHER year after this one comes out. Thrilled for you!

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    1. Thanks, Joanne! =) And I was very excited about the 6-month-apart dates too. My editor asked me up front if I could do it that way, and I may have been over-enthusiastic in my "YES!!!" ;-)

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  11. What exciting news! I just read A Stray Drop of Blood and loved it-will be posting a review soon-so can't wait to enjoy more of your stories. I've always found the Revolutionary War era to be extremely fascinating, so am really looking forward to your new series! Congrats!

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    1. Thanks, Christina!! So glad you enjoyed Stray Drop--that book took me six long years to write and will always hold a special place in my heart. But I'm having a lot of fun exploring other times in history, too, and really fell in love with the Colonial/Revolution/Early Federal era. Trying to come up with some more ideas I could set then. ;-) So glad you stopped by!

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  12. So exciting and congrats!!! :O)

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    1. Thanks, Diane! (And can you tell I love this new comment-threading Google decided to do? LOL) So glad you stopped by. =)

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  13. Super-exciting!! I can't wait for your next books! Sounds like a dream come true for you!! Something akin to a Disney fairy-tale ending.

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    1. It does feel like a fairy-tale to me! I'm still amazed at how everything clicked all at once. Can't wait to see where the Lord takes me!

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  14. Congratulations! The series sounds amazing. God is so good! :)

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    1. Amen! I'm really excited about the series too. Can't wait to dive into the next book!

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  15. Awesome. Yep, anything by Harvest House, Bethany, Thomas Nelson and Waterbrook is a sure read! Though through my reading for blogging i am finding some great novels and authors elsewhere too. Congrats!!! Will be watching for these.

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    1. There are definitely great novels to be found by all sorts of publishers, but finding a home with one of those big ones . . . yep, still surreal. ;-) Thanks for stopping by, Marianne!

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  16. Rosanna, Wonderful, wonderful news!! Excited for you!! Will look forward to reading them. I love Historical Fiction. Appreciate the research done to entwine the characters among factual events/happenings.
    lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net

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    1. That's my favorite aspect of historical fiction too, combining the real with the fiction. Love it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  17. AHHH! That is an insanely cool story. How beautiful. God is awesome.
    And this series, it sounds so interesting and I'm looking forward to it.:D

    Btw -- you wrote a post here once, a couple of months ago, talking about classics. Well, I've since read Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice and loooooved them both. So thankyou, Roseanna! I was missing out. :)

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    1. Ah, Emii! LOL, love that I inspired you to read those. Two of my all-time favorites, for sure. =) And yes indeed, God is awesome--in every sense of the word. =)

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    2. Congratulations! I'm really thrilled for you, Roseanna. Winter Reeves sounds like an amazing heroine - and I love her name! :)

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    3. Thanks, Elisabeth! Her name took some back-and-forth to decide on, but I love it too. =)

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