Success in Surrey

(Originally published Oct. 24, 2007).

Tired but happy, I’m sitting in my middle seat on my return flight, arms scrunched at my sides, writing this week’s blog entry. The Surrey International Writers Conference exceeded my expectations, and I’m riding high on information overload and fuelled by success. Who needs a plane?

The first good news is that I pitched my second book, FUR BALL FEVER, to an agent who was very interested and asked if the manuscript was finished. When I explained somewhat sheepishly that I was only a third of the way through my first draft, she told me, no problem, simply email her when it’s completed and polished. Now, all I have to do is sit down, write the sucker, and hope she still likes my pitch in a year or so.

But that’s only the beginning. The same afternoon, Diana Gabaldon, one of my all-time favourite authors and creator of the memorable OUTLANDER series, was mine, all mine, for a double Blue Pencil session. The person preceding me was a no-show, so I got twenty-five minutes of Diana’s undivided attention. She read my entire first chapter, laughed in all the right places, said I had a knack for writing humor, and, once she realized I was open to frank critique, made several very helpful suggestions to improve my work and heighten the suspense. Wow!

Next, I pitched my first book to a Vancouver film producer who was searching for Canadian material with international appeal. She said she was intrigued by THE JAGUAR LEGACY, and walked away with my media kit and a copy of the book, promising to have someone read it to assess whether or not it was movie material.

There’s more. This year, I forced myself to do more networking. I mean, I really pushed myself to socialize, you know, talk to STRANGERS. You extroverts out there probably won’t relate, but I find networking one of the hardest things to do at a conference. Not only did I meet some delightful people, six of them actually purchased a copy of my book at the Book Fair.

SIWC is an extraordinary conference, and one I highly recommend for all writers, — novice and experienced; aspiring and published; fiction and non-fiction.