About Me

Abigail Strom headshot 72dpi

 

Abigail Strom started writing stories at the age of seven and has never been able to stop.  On her way to becoming a full-time writer she earned a BA in English from Cornell University as well as an MFA in Dance from the University of Hawaii, and held a wide variety of jobs from dance teacher and choreographer to human resource manager.

Now she works in her pajamas and lives in New England with her family, who are incredibly supportive of the hours she spends hunched over her computer. When she needs a break from writing she watches episodes of Doctor Who, Sherlock, and Monty Python with her husband and son, and talks to her cats in a British accent.

 

GETTING THE CALL

I submitted three manuscripts to Harlequin/Silhouette before I sold my fourth. In each case I queried, waited a few months, and got a request for the full. Then I’d mail it off, wait another few months, and hear something back along the lines of, “we love your voice, your writing jumps off the page, your characters are fantastic…but the story doesn’t quite fit our line.  We’d love to take a look at future projects!”

It was like clockwork. Really depressing clockwork.

Then I wrote a manuscript targeted to Special Edition, one of my favorite lines as a reader. I was really excited about it and submitted a query as I’d done with the previous three manuscripts. But this time, the query itself was rejected, with no request for a partial or a full.

I wasn’t just standing still–I was actually going backwards!

I’ve often heard that luck and timing play a big role in the journey towards publication. In my nadir of post-rejection despair, I decided that luck and timing would never be on my side. Then I came across this quote in a Robert Heinlein book:

“There’s no such thing as luck. There’s only adequate or inadequate preparation to cope with a statistical universe.”

That quote made me laugh, but it also got me moving again. I decided to do what I could to tilt the odds in my favor. I started entering contests. Lots of contests. Especially when there was a chance of putting my entry in front of a Harlequin editor.

To my surprise, I ended up finaling in or winning almost every contest I entered, including the Heart of the Rockies.  Susan Litman, a Special Edition editor, was judging my category in that one.  After awarding me first place she requested my full manuscript!  I was absolutely ecstatic.

Then the waiting began. Nine months, to be exact.

I’ll never forget the day I heard Susan’s voice on my answering machine. She said she loved my manuscript, and she wanted to talk about revisions!

I didn’t sleep much during the next ten days. I couldn’t take time off from work, so I wrote from 4am to 7am, and then from 8pm to midnight. This frantic urgency was completely self-imposed, because I wasn’t under contract at this point and Susan hadn’t given me a time frame for delivery. But I was so excited by this opportunity that I wrote like a woman possessed, and completed the revisions in a week and a half.

I sent the revised manuscript to Susan in June, and the waiting began again. This was the hardest yet, because I was closer to my dream than I’d ever been before.

Then, in August, I got The Call.

In the Heinlein book I mentioned above, the main character tells a story about two frogs trapped in a bucket of milk. One of them sees how hopeless it is, gives up, and drowns. The other one is too dumb to know he’s licked, keeps on swimming, and eventually churns the milk into a lump of butter he floats on happily until someone finds him and chucks him out.

That’s how I ended up getting published…because I kept on swimming:).