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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interview: 2011 GH Finalist Aislinn MacNamara, Regency Historical


Entry Title, category, year: 
Regency Historical, 2011

Were you the overall Winner that year? 
I won't know until 
July 1

Website and/or Blog Links:

Why did you decide to enter your manuscript in the GH Contest?
Ever since I joined the RWA I'd been tempted to enter. Then on March 26, 2010, my fellow Regency finalist Valerie Bowman put out a call on the PRO loop. She was putting together a group of writers who hadn't finaled in the 2010 GH but whose goal was to enter and final the following year. Of that group she put together, 15 or so of us entered and two of us finaled. I have to say, without the support of the LaLaLa Sisters, I probably would have given up sometime last summer. I hit a low point where I figured I wasn't ready for big leagues yet, but they talked me down and gave me the push I needed to keep going.

Where were you and what were you doing when you got the GH call?
I was online, waiting for the results. The LaLaLas are spread out all over the place, so we were frantically exchanging emails and refreshing the results pages. About 15 minutes, before my phone rang, Valerie emailed that she'd gotten the call, so we were celebrating. While I didn't expect to get a call, I still left my cell phone by my laptop, just in case. But the RWA called me on my landline, so when my home phone rang, I kind of glared at it, hoping it wasn't my job telling me I needed to come into work early.

How has being a GH Finalist/Winner affected you as a writer?
It's opened so many doors. I finished polishing my finaling MS over the winter, so on the 25th it was ready to go. Over the next few days, I queried my entire A-list of agents. One of them sent me a full request within 30 minutes of my sending the email, and I thought to  myself, "Wow, this really works!" I even had a couple of agents track me down via my website and query me.

As a side note, unpublished authors? You need a web presence and a means for people to contact you for this very reason. You never know if an agent is going to decide to come looking. Give them a way to find you!

Anyway, within three weeks, I had offers from more than one agent, and I am proud to say that I am now represented by the enthusiastic Sara Megibow of Nelson Literary. She's had me working on a few revisions, and would like to get my MS out on submission soon. So things have happened pretty fast.  
Since receiving Aislinn's post, I heard the news that she sold A Tale of Two Sisters to Ballantine BantamDell as part of a two-book deal! - Sarah


Judith Ashley said...


What an inspiring story! You've an agent and you've sold since finaling in the Golden Heart!!!

Thanks for the comment on needing a web presence and why. Sometimes it's challenging to think that editors and agents are actually checking me out - challening in an exciting positive way.

While things have been moving quickly for you, seems you are going in the right direction!

Paty Jager said...

That's a great story. Wishing you lots of good karma for a sale soon.

Sarah Raplee said...

Aislinn, CONGRATULATIONS on your sale!!! Good luck in the contest and thank you for sharing your GH story.

Vonnie Alto said...

Congratulations on getting an agent and your book sold. What a prestigious double coup! Your story confirms what I had figured out...that a writer with a completed manuscript needs a web presence. You're the first writer I've heard who said that agents hunted you. I've always heard the opposite which I never believed. So, who did you go with--the agent you queried or the one who searched you out? Do you have any advice for entering the Golden Heart? Again congratulations! Good luck with the GH contest!

Robin Weaver said...

HI Aislinn,

Thanks for blogging with us and best of luck at the GH Ceremonies!

Aislinn said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone.

@Vonnie Alto: I was fortunate to have a choice of agents who wanted to represent me. I ended up going with my gut on the choice. And Sara was one of the one's I queried and not the other way around. I think the agents, for the most part, sought me out because of the final. Or I would have, except last summer I also had a newer agent who was looking to build her list seek me out and invite me to query. You just never never know.

As for advice--I'd say if you're toying with the notion of entering, go for it. While finaling is based on luck as much as anything (lord knows, given my past experiences with contest judges not getting me, I KNOW how lucky I was to final), you're never going to final if you don't take that chance and enter.

Tam Linsey said...

I love stories with an HEA - and yours is wonderful! Congrats on getting a contract!