Laurie Ellingham: THE CALL

September 2016

Read Laurie Ellingham's call story here!

‘Oo oo, my phones ringing,’ I yelp, swinging my bag from my shoulder and bashing my five year old daughter around the head with it in my haste to answer. Could this by The Call? The moment I’ve been waiting for.

As I press Accept  my ear is filled with laughter and reality crashes down. It wasn’t The Call, it was my thinks-he’s-so-hilarious husband hiding behind a tree with our six year old son and calling my mobile (again! Apparently the first two times weren’t funny enough).

I’d submitted my full manuscript to Carina the week before we were due to go on holiday to North Norfolk, the black hole of mobile signals, it turned out. Which is why I’d been waving my phone in the air and demanding it ring several times a day, and why my lovely husband thought it would be oh so funny to ring it.

In the end it wasn’t a call that came through first. It was an email from one of the lovely Carina editors, Victoria. Would I be free the following morning for a quick chat about my manuscript? Yes, yes, yes!

Then it all went wrong, in my head anyway. I went to bed that night, the last night of our holiday, and wondered what if it was one of those ‘almost, but not quite, thanks but no thanks’ phone calls. I’d had plenty of them over the past year, over the past nine years if anyone’s counting, and I was counting. And so started the back tracking. Snatching up all the hope and excitement I’d felt when I read the email, all the day dreams I’d allowed myself after I’d pressed send on my manuscript, and ramming them back into their box. I wasn’t about to allow myself to get crushed again. I had to prepare for the worst.

So it really did come as a complete shock when Victoria told me the following day that not only did she love my manuscript, but that Carina wanted to offer me a two book deal. I remember saying ‘thank you, that’s really lovely of you,’ in a deadpan tone, which I’m sure must have sounded rather strange to Victoria. It took a few weeks for the news to properly sink in. Now, the excitement is out the box for good and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a fresh and exciting publisher. Thank you, Carina!

Like so many authors, I started writing stories when I was around eight years old. My mum brought home these musky old notebooks from her office and gave them to me. I like to think it was her way of encouraging me, not her way of getting me to shut up for five minutes.  My first stories revolved around orphans and starting new schools, and secretly being able to fly. Then boys and exams and University got in the way for a good decade or so.  When I started writing again at the age of twenty-three, it was like slipping on a pair of warm comfy slippers after a day trotting around in stilettos. It took several novels and countless rejections for me to get my act together and realise that loving something isn’t the same as being instantly good at it. I had to learn my craft. So I did. Now, every time I pick up a book and read, every time I fire up my laptop, or pick up a pen, I learn something new about writing and about myself. I love every second.