Friday, 7 March 2008

Cracked it!

I'm going to go on a bit here, so you might want to grab a coffee and get comfy.

About three weeks ago, I was emailed by one of the editors at
Comma Press, who'd been reading my review of the CWA Anthology, ID: Crimes of Identity at The Short Review. He liked the review and, after reading my bio, invited me to submit a selection of stories for the next CWA Anthology, MO: Crimes of Practice. This was a terrific opportunity; not only are Comma Press one of the best short story publishers around (hugely respected, lauded by the broadsheets and critics) but inclusion in the CWA Anthology is generally limited to published authors of full length crime novels. The drawback was the schedule, there was no time to write something new, it had to be 'in a drawer', fitting their theme.

I was determined to give it my top shot and spent a weekend polishing up by a selection of my best stuff.

Two weeks came and went, and I schooled myself to silence and a grim resolve that It Didn't Matter; it was enough just to have been given the opportunity.

This morning, the email came through.

The editor loves all the stories I sent but one in particular, a 400 word flash. The editor's verdict? "I thought (it) was brilliant. The puns and the ambiguity are fabulous, the general attitude / feel is really clear and well sustained and the end is very sharp. I love it. And we'd love to include it!!"

Apart from being slightly staggered that he liked this particular story so much (I didn't feel it was the best of what I sent, by a long chalk), I am just so chuffed to have made the grade. To be included in the CWA Anthology! Alongside famous names! I will also qualify for membership (albeit temporary) of the CWA, the usual preserve of published novellists, the great and the good. This is such a big break that I think I may be quoting it as The Turning Point in years to come.

See - a happy ending! They do happen!

A big shout out to Tania Hershman, who is the creator and editor of The Short Review, a website which the editor at Comma Press describes (quite rightly) as 'fabulous', for inviting me to review the first CWA book which led to this terrific opportunity - thank you, Tania!


Anne Brooke said...

Wonderful news, Sarah - very well done!


Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Anne! xx

Gay Degani said...

I am chuffed! What an accomplishment and yes I agree with you that this is the milestone. Congratulations!! It's so encouraging that good things do happen to good writers!

I'm gotta get to the keyboard--fast!

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Gay, it is amazing when things start falling into place, especially if it happens after a fallow patch. Now I just have to persuade EDF to play ball re first anthology rights. Not that I imagine they'll put obstacles in my way, being such a very nice bunch of people.

Nik's Blog said...

Congratulations, Sarah. Fabulous news.


Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Nik! Good of you to drop in - great to hear from you.

Tania Hershman/The Short Review said...

Yay! Sarah - you rock! This is your achievement, this is totally fabulous. Can't wait to see it in print.

Tania xx

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Tania, you're a pal! I've just seen the proof and it looks ace. New title, too!

Vanessa G said...

Many congratulations Sarah. This is a fantastic acceptance!


Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Vanessa!