I am really excited today to have New York Times best selling author Beth Hoffman on my blog. Beth's book 'Saving CeeCee Honeycutt' is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read and was my best book for 2010. Beth kindly agreed to join me today to discuss how she felt when she got her publishing deal in 2008.
Firstly, Beth,, can I thank you for joining me today on my blog.
Hi Viv, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog. Time is going by in a blur, isn’t it? I still remember “meeting” you via a blog post back in 2009 and how delighted I was that you wanted to read my book. Since I adore the UK, it was an extra special treat that you were the very first person from your country to read CeeCee’s story. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and getting to know you ever since!
What was your first reaction when you found out that your book was to be published? How did it make you feel?
It happened so quickly that I was gobsmacked. My literary agent had sent out submissions on a Monday, and Tuesday afternoon several publishers were interested and the phone began ringing off the hook. Within a few hours Pamela Dorman of Viking/Penguin had made a pre-emptive offer. It was a wonderful and surreal experience.
What were you doing when you found out?
When my agent first called, I was in my little writing library sorting through bookshelves and trying to get things organized. But when all the excitement commenced, I was too nervous to do anything but pace, eat chocolate, and stare out the window!
Who did you tell first?
I told my husband first. And what’s so ironic is that he happened to come home early that day, so he was right there with me in the middle of all the phone calls and excitement. After I calmed down a bit, I called my best friend on her cell. We laughed and squealed like five-year-olds! She had stood by my side and believed in me—from the day I had decided to write a novel, through my melt-down of wanting to give up when I was half-way done, to the day I wept when I typed THE END because I didn’t want to let my characters go.
How long did it take for your book to be published after you had been told?
My book was purchased in October of 2008 and Pamela Dorman had chosen it to be the lead novel for her new imprint, Pamela Dorman Books with a scheduled release of January 2010.
What was happening to your manuscript during this time?
I had done extensive editing before I ever submitted my manuscript, so there wasn’t all that much to do editing-wise. But Pam and I made two solid passes of edits, and then my manuscript was put into the capable hands of a copy editor. That was a very detailed and precise process. And it took several passes before we were all on the same page so to speak. Though it was quite intense, I actually enjoyed it a great deal.
How did it feel to see your name in print?
This might sound strange, but as thrilled as I was when I first held my book in my hands, it wasn’t so much seeing my name on the cover that brought me the greatest joy; it was the realization that my two favorite characters (CeeCee and Oletta) would finally be introduced to the reading world. They had become entirely real to me, and it was such a heartfelt moment to realize that they were going to share their story.
Where was the first place that your saw your book on sale and did you do anything crazy when you saw it?
I began my book tour the very day my novel was released in hardcover, so the first time I saw it on sale was when I walked into the bookstore where my event was being held. And to see that table stacked with pillars of my novel, well, it just amazed me.
What are you working on now?
I’m still officially on tour, but come spring I’ll be working on my next novel full time. The title is LOOKING FOR ME. I just started writing it at the end of the year, but already I’m delighted with the story and characters.
What advice would you give unpublished authors?
Edit and refine your manuscript until it’s polished to perfection. When you honestly believe it’s ready to go, take the time to read your manuscript out loud. By hearing your story, you will immediately pick up any bumps in the road. In my opinion, nothing can help you more with a final polishing. I would also give this advice to aspiring novelists: don’t share your manuscript with too many people, to do so is to run the risk of too many critiques and editing by committee, which could potentially destroy the purity of your prose.
Thank you so much Beth for coming onto the blog today. It has been an absolute pleasure to have you visit. If you would like to know more about Beth Hoffman, then please visit her on her website here. If you would like to know more about her best selling debut novel 'Saving CeeCee Honeycutt', then please read my review here .