A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of signing the contracts with the one, the only Diversion Books, for Sapphire Book #4 and Sapphire Book #5!
These two darlings, tentatively titled SACRIFICNG SAPPHIRE and STEALING SAPPHIRE, will be the FINAL installments in the Sapphire Dubois Series.
There was certainly a lot of joy signing the last Sapphire contacts, but it was definitely accompanied by sweet relief as well. Not because it means it will eventually be over, but because a part of me could finally breathe out.
I started the rough draft of Stalking Sapphire when I was twenty-three, still living in L.A, and it didn't take long before I knew that there was no way that I could tell the full story of this character, and her love interest, in one book. A trilogy, I thought, and drew up the outline for the series, ultimately ending with Sentencing Sapphire.
Not long after I'd finished the first book, images of a fourth and fifth installment invaded my brain.
"Brain," I said firmly, "It's a trilogy. F**k off."
Of course, my brain, being my brain, opted not to f**k off, but continued sending images of plot and what it referred to as "the perfect ending."
Me, being me, a meek slave to my brain's constant nagging, finally conceded and drew up the outline for two additional books.
Now, what one should remember is that I, at this time, had just finished Stalking Sapphire. I had no agent, no publisher, no one had even read the damned thing besides from my husband, a paid editor, and my niece. To spend so much time plotting and planning for all five books when there was no publication in sight, was, I admit, probably foolish. I, a former aspiring screenwriter, had never even written a book before (excluding my poor attempts in childhood), much less a series, and there was no indication that anyone would like the story, the character, or my screenwrite-y prose.
I spent months in this dark vacuum where hope didn't exist. I had a list of agents taped above my desk, rated with a star system on how badly I wanted to sign with them.
Slowly, I was striking out the agents who'd turned me down, usually based on query, but sometimes on sample chapters.
The future for Sapphire was looking bleak and non-existent. Quite honestly, my husband refers back to this time as "the most depressed he's ever seen me." And it wasn't because I'd never been turned down before. Like any writer, I had a fair share of rejections in my backpack of experience. It was because I was living, breathing, and dreaming this story, like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I remember thinking, it has to happen. If I don't get this story out, my brain will implode, and I will spend the rest of my life as a zombie saying things like: "Arrrrrm." and "Me wants burger raw."
Then, on a particularly bleak evening I'd spent crying and cleaning the tub--not sure why I'd decided to combine the activities--I got an email.
Fast forward about six months, and I had somehow been lucky enough to sign with the agent that was at the top, and I do mean the top, of my star-system list. We were still in the process of submitting to publishers and were talking about book #2 over the phone one day, when my agent asked: "What will you do, if we can't lock in the second book?"
I stuttered a bit, because I knew what I wanted to say was probably not what any agent wanted to hear.
"Will you write the series anyway?" she added, saving me from having to continue my eloquent uh-ing and um-ing.
"Yes," I said. "I have to."
"Okay then," she chirped. "We'll make it happen."
Of course, she was being kind and optimistic. If the first book in a series fails miserably, the author is most likely wasting time when choosing to continue the series.
A few months later, I was elated when we signed a two-book-deal with the lovely, and awesome, Diversion Books.
However, for people who aren't familiar with the world of publishing, a two-book-deal does not guarantee that deals for books 3,4,5 of a series will eventually, or automatically happen.
So, why did I start by thanking you, the Sapphire supporters? Because I would never have gotten to write the full series that my brain so forcefully insisted on, had it not been for YOU.
Actual Future (Thanks!)