My Call Story by Caitlin Crews

Please welcome new Harlequin Presents author Caitlin Crews to IHP today! Her first Presents novel, Pure Princess, Bartered Bride hits the shelves in North America with the February releases next month and is on sale now in the UK! North American readers can also order it now from eHarlequin.com (print) or the Harlequin eBook Store. ~Amy

by Caitlin Crews, author of Pure Princess, Bartered Bride (Harlequin Presents, February 2010)

Romance novels are really my one, true love when it comes to books.  I found my first one when I was 12 years old in the local five and dime (my mother was more into spy thrillers) and I was an instant addict.  Big, sweeping historicals.  Sweet contemporaries.  Shorter categories.  My mother would drop me off at the local used book store, and pick me up again many hours later after I’d spent ages scouring the shelves and discovering so many new and new-to-me authors I’d stagger under the pile of books on my way to the car.  I read and read and read.  Many adults questioned my taste in books—teachers confiscated my books in school and demanded to know, in scandalized tones, what my mother would think.

I told them, truthfully, that she did not believe in censoring my reading material!

Fast forward a whole lot of years, and a whole lot of writing.  I was first published in women's fiction/chick lit, but I spent all my time at RWA conventions swooning in delight every time I saw the great names of romance happen by.  I felt like I was watching my own, personal awards show—and I got to sit in the same room with women who had created stories that I lugged around with me from home to new home, unable to part with their words.

I spent all my free time reading more and more romances, single title as well as category, just as I always had.  But I found myself gravitating more and more toward Presents.  I just couldn't seem to get enough of the stories– so big, so intense, and so delicious.  I just loved them!  And then, in the summer of 2008, I got a pair of wonderful characters in my head, and I dared myself to try and write in that fantastic Presents-style voice–which could not be more different from the other kinds of books I write.  It was a whole new world for me!

I finished the chapters, polished them as best I could, and sent them in.  And then I waited.  Months and months, until, just over a year ago now, I got an early-morning email from the Presents office.  They had read my chapters, had some thoughts/suggestions about the characters' motivations, would be interested in seeing the whole book–and did I know when I might be able to submit the whole of it?

Well.  First, I danced around a little bit in my desk chair.  As you do.

I picked a date that seemed reasonable, and assured them I would submit then.  I don't know why I was so confident–I'd never written a Presents before.  And I thought I could write one to a deadline??  Let me tell you, that was the roughest stretch of my life!  But it was also exhilarating.  I was so drawn into the story–so swept away by the world I was creating and the unbelievably alpha hero I was falling in love with as I worked my way through the story…  I had no idea if anyone else would ever read or love the story, but I knew I did.

When I sent the manuscript in, I was surprised to get an email back almost at once from my editor, who told me that she was working at home, as London had been hit with a blizzard.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if she was snowbound, I thought, and bored, and just happened to click open the book I'd sent her and dive in…  Well, I have no idea if she did that, but I do know that about a week later, I got another email, this one saying that Harlequin wanted to buy my book!  I couldn't believe it!  I think I danced around my house–at seven in the morning!  I definitely screamed!  I was over the moon.

I’ve just finished my third Presents now, and I'm still over the moon, and I don't imagine the feeling is likely to go away any time soon.  My first Presents, Pure Princess, Bartered Bride, is already on sale at eHarlequin and should be showing up in bookstores soon.  It’s still very hard to believe!

It wasn't my first call–it wasn't even a call, in fact–but it was my first sale to my first love, and I couldn't be happier.  Or more honored to be a part of the Harlequin tradition!

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Comments ( 45 )
  1. Tweets that mention My Call Story by Caitlin Crews at I (Heart) Presents -- Topsy.com
    January 22, 2010 at 11:43 am

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Harlequin Books, M Crane/C Crews. M Crane/C Crews said: My first-ever post is up at I Heart Presents! http://www.iheartpresents.com/2010/01/my-call-story-by-caitlin-crews/ Come say hi! […]

  2. ChrisM
    January 22, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Congratulations on the sale of your first Presents. Really looking forward to reading it.

    Chris.

  3. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks, Chris! Hope you enjoy it!

  4. Jennie Lucas
    January 22, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Congratulations, Caitlin, and welcome! I loved reading your call story. Hope to meet you in person at the next RWA conference!

    Jennie

  5. Jane Porter
    January 22, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Caitlin,

    So excited to see you here at IHeartPresents and read your first blog. Yes, I’m your friend, and a good friend, but when it comes to your writing I’m also a huge fan. I’m very lucky that I’ve gotten sneak peeks at your first three books and I truly LOVE love love your Presents voice and the power and excitement you bring to the line.

    Welcome to the HM&B family and fyi, Amazon has been shipping Pure Princess, Bartered Bride for a few days now so your first Presents is already out in the US!

    Congrats and tons of love to you–

    Jane
    http://www.janeporter.com

  6. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks, Jennie! I’m looking forward to meeting you too! (And doesn’t that hotel in Nashville just look fabulous?!)

  7. Maggie Marr
    January 22, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Wonderful story, Caitlin! I can’t wait to read Pure Princess, Bartered Bride. Hurry up and get the books on the shelves in Los Angeles!

    Maggie

  8. Maisey Yates
    January 22, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Caitlin, what a wonderful story! I share your love for the line, so I know just what you mean about what writing for Presents specifically means to you.

    I can’t wait to read your book! It looks great…and so does your cover model… 🙂

  9. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    Hi Maggie! I know, I wish they would get them on the shelves at once!

    (Though I am also in Los Angeles, and for some reason the Grove has decided to stop stocking series romance… I think I spoke to every single member of the sales staff about it. Oh well, I will have to shop elsewhere!)

    🙂

  10. Joanne
    January 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    what a wonderful call story – congrats! and well done on having your first presents manuscript being accepted, what an achievement! I’m looking forward to reading it 😀

  11. Jackie
    January 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Congrats, Caitlin! Fabulous story!

  12. anna cleary
    January 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Congratulations Caitlin, that’s a lovely success story. I’m looking forward to Pure Princess, Bartered Bride.

    When does it grace the shelves in Oz?

  13. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    Jane, what would I do without your support? I shudder to think!

  14. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Maisey,

    Aren’t we lucky?? Though I have no idea how you’re doing what you’re doing, with that brand new baby and two other little ones. Wow!

  15. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Joanne, thanks so much! I do hope you’ll enjoy it!

  16. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Anna,

    Thanks to the wonders of Google alerts, I happen to know that it should be out in Oz in March! Thanks for the congrats!

  17. Lee
    January 22, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    YAY Caitlin! So glad to see you post here and loved reading about your call story. I also thoroughly enjoyed your first book and look forward to your next one. Very pleased to see you become a part of the Presents authors family here at iHeart!

  18. Caitlin Crews
    January 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks Lee!

    I’m so excited to be here! I look at that sidebar to the right with that incredible list of names and I’m just tickled that my name is up there with all of them! So hard to believe it’s real!

    And I’m so touched that you enjoyed the book–that means so much to me!

  19. Maisey Yates
    January 22, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    Caitlin, I’m doing it all happily and more than a little sleepily… 🙂

    Captcha was told habakkuk. Now there’s a Biblical reference you don’t see every day…

  20. Kate Walker
    January 23, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Congratulations on your acceptance, Caitlin and welcome to the Presents ‘family’. I hope this is the first of many successes. . . Oh, I see there are three already! (Makes note to self – write faster!)

    Kate

  21. Caroline Storer
    January 23, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I love a great call story! Caroline x

  22. Monique DeVere
    January 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Hello, Caitlin.

    It was lovely reading your call story. You made me laugh. Just from your blog, I can tell you have a great voice and I’m going to love reading your books!

    Congrats! And here’s to a long and fabulous career with HM&B.

    Monique

  23. Abby Green
    January 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Huge congrats Caitlin – enjoy all the excitement of your book on the shelves! Love the cover, and looking forward to reading lots of intense stories ;-)!
    x Abby

  24. Kim
    January 23, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    What fantastic backstory! I’m so glad that you stuck to your guns about what you love to read and write! I can’t wait to read Pure Princess, Bartered Bride (great title, by the way) and all those that follow!

  25. Caitlin Crews
    January 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Kate,

    Thanks for the big welcome! And yes– three. 2009 was a bit of a blur for me. I’m still not certain I’ve recovered! 😉

  26. Caitlin Crews
    January 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Caroline, thanks so much for stopping by to read it!

  27. Caitlin Crews
    January 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Monique,

    Well, I certainly hope you enjoy them! Thanks!

    And thanks for the good wishes, too!

  28. Caitlin Crews
    January 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Abby,

    Thanks so much! I haven’t actually seen the book in stores yet (despite haunting several and alarming the sales force) but I have spent and inordinate amount of time stroking that pretty cover in the privacy of my own home! 🙂

  29. Caitlin Crews
    January 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Kim, thanks so much! I wish I could take credit for the title, but that was all the fabulous editors at M&B/Harlequin! So glad you like it!

  30. Joanne Pibworth
    January 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Caitlin, huge congrats!
    I loved reading your call story, and I love your writing style just from your blog – i’ll def be ordering up Pure princess asap!
    And three books already- how brilliant is that? Go girl!

  31. Caitlin Crews
    January 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Joanne,

    Thanks! It’s been a whirlwind, that’s for sure! I hope you enjoy the book!

  32. Sarah Morgan
    January 24, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Sorry I’m late, but better late than never to say CONGRATULATIONS and how much I enjoyed reading your call story! So great to see you here and can’t wait to read Pure Princess, Bartered Bride xx

  33. Nicola Marsh
    January 24, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Congrats Caitlin!

    Your women’s fiction novels look intriguing too…

  34. Christina Hollis
    January 25, 2010 at 1:30 am

    Congratulations, Caitlin! Pure Princess, Bartered Bride sounds a terrific read.

  35. Trish Morey
    January 25, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Hey Caitlin, clearly your mother is one very wise woman! Congratulations on your sales and your debut Presents release! Can’t wait to pick it up Downunder.

  36. Lynn Raye Harris
    January 25, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Sorry to be late to the party, but congratulations, Caitlin! I can’t wait to meet you. I was so thrilled to be included in all the Presents author get-togethers last year — it was so much fun, and I look forward to chatting with you when we’re all having a blast in Nashville. 🙂

    And yes, that hotel in Nashville is gorgeous! And, y’all, it’s located right across the parking lot from a HUGE outlet mall! Bring your shopping list! And an extra suitcase….

  37. Caitlin Crews
    January 25, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Thanks, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed my call story!

  38. Caitlin Crews
    January 25, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Nicola,

    Why thank you! They have a very different voice, but I’m proud of them too. 🙂

  39. Caitlin Crews
    January 25, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Christina,

    Thanks!

    🙂

  40. Caitlin Crews
    January 25, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Trish,

    Yes, she really is. I am lucky enough to have realized how wise and wonderful my mother is while I still have time to enjoy her!

  41. Caitlin Crews
    January 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Lynn,

    I am looking forward to it! And by “it” I mean Nashville, that hotel, outlet malls, getting to meet Presents authors–the list just goes on and on. Can’t wait!

  42. Maisey Yates
    January 25, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    *sniff* oh, now I’m even sadder about not going. But I have no idea how three kids who are still in diapers fit into a trip halfway across the country! Buy something frivolous at the outlet mall and think of me!

  43. Christine Carmichael
    January 25, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    Love the first Chapter Caitlin, can’t wait to read the rest of it.

    Great call story and three under your belt already – way to go!

    Good luck for the future.

    Christinexx

  44. Caitlin Crews
    January 25, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Thanks, Christine!

    Good luck to you too!

  45. Maggie Marr
    February 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    I just finished the entire book and there is one word to describe it: Fabulous! I stayed up half the night to get to the end.
    Nice Job!
    xo
    Maggie