THE ROMANTIC AGENDA: Behind the Scenes

On the 6th day of The Romantic Agenda… I have a confession to make.

Reader, please understand that I am a mess. Always have been, always will be, apparently. My scheduled posts idea didn’t work out because of course it didn’t, so there’ll be two posts here (Day 4 and 6), and Day 5 will arrive in a few hours.

On the 4th day of The Romantic Agenda, I bring to you… deja vu.

(Day 4 is a fairly serious post about medical conditions, anxiety, and publishing, so please read with caution!)

In January 2018, about a week before the release of my debut novel, Let’s Talk About Love, I thought I was having a heart attack.

I have severe anxiety that impacts my body and everything I do. I know what a panic attack feels like and what an anxiety attack will do to me, but this felt different. It was as if someone had speared me straight through my body—I felt the same pain, in the same spot, in my chest and back. I also had an elevated heart rate and palpitations and experienced shortness of breath.

Did you know that beginning heart attack symptoms can last for several days? Because they can. So, on the second continuous day of this pain, I called the advice nurse. She said, “Well, I don’t think you’re having a heart attack, but I’ll schedule an emergency appointment for you, just in case.”

Fast forward a couple of hours, a test, and a physical.
The doctor said to me, “You’re not having a heart attack, but you should probably cut back on caffeine and try to relax.”

“That’s not possible,” I told him. “I have a book coming out in a week.”

He said, “Oh.”

I’ve since released two more books and two short stories in anthologies and felt fine doing it. No issues whatsoever, but now I’m suddenly in pain.

Right now, leading up to the release for TRA feels like I’m having a “heart attack” again. I’m anxious, stressed out, and crying all the time because I love this book so much that my body can’t handle it. It’s sending me headlong into unending distress. And there’s this feeling like I’m standing on the precipice of a before and after. Like something big is coming. I don’t know what it is, but I can feel it, and it hurts.

A lot.

On the 6th day of The Romantic Agenda, I also bring to you… some behind-the-scenes stories!

I want to begin talking about The Romantic Agenda’s production timeline.

I’ve spoken before about how I took a roundabout way into publishing—started writing in 2014, posted my work online, found Swoon Reads, was selected for publication in 2016, etc.—but typically, that’s not how it works.

Simplistically put, and if all goes well, a writer finishes their manuscript, queries, and signs with an agent. Said agent then sells their manuscript to a publisher, and about 12-24 months later, the book is released!

I didn’t get a literary agent until after I sold three manuscripts on my own. Of course, I’d spoken with a couple but had chosen not to sign with anyone yet.

One day, I randomly got a really nice email from Agent A, who’d read LTAL and had a fantastic phone conversation that led to them offering representation. I was extremely tempted to accept. But to be fair, I emailed all the other agents I’d spoken with previously to let them know I had an offer and see if they wanted to touch bases again.

And then I had a call with Agent D. I just knew in my heart that I was meant to partner with Agent D. So, I did.

During our first official meeting, my brand new sparkly literary agent, Carrie, asked if I wanted to write an adult ace romcom. I said, “I can try!”

I wrote a proposal that sold very quickly after that—it’s one of those whirlwind publishing stories you hear about… but I’m probably never going to talk about.

Instead, I want to focus on how my proposal became the manuscript that’s now almost a published book. Stay tuned for Part II on Day 7!

Don’t forget that if you order a copy of THE ROMANTIC AGENDA you can submit your info to receive a thank you gift!

See you tomorrow! I mean it!!

Claire ❤

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