And in other news... (Victoria Rohner)
And in other news…
Many congratulations to American novelist Victoria Rohner, shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award 2021 with The Iron Widow, who has signed with Madeleine Milburn of Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency.
“Being listed for such a prestigious award not only gave me a huge leg up with agents, it also boosted my confidence in my writing. The writing journey can be a long one, and I know many of us hesitate to call ourselves ‘writers’ before publication. But that changed with my Caledonia Novel Award shortlisting.
While waiting to hear back from some other agents who’d expressed interest in The Iron Widow after I was shortlisted, I queried Madeleine Milburn on a lark. Although (and because) she was a dream agent, I didn’t think I had a chance of attracting her attention. As I drafted the query letter, I felt a sliver of hope. Many of Madeleine’s favorite authors – Margaret Atwood, Maggie O’Farrell, Donna Tartt and Elizabeth Strout – were also mine. Moreover, her ‘wants’ for character-driven debut novels, crime, mixed-genre fiction, and stories told in a unique way, seemed to align with my novel. I hoped too, that my Caledonia Novel Award shortlisting would resonate with Madeleine, who’d judged the competition in the past. Yet, I truly did not expect to hear back.
When I saw a response from her in my inbox the very next morning, I started shaking. I was at work at my husband’s printing shop, and when I opened the email and saw that she was enthusiastically requesting my full MS, I sprinted around the shop looking for my husband and exclaiming to everyone in my path that I’d heard from Madeleine Milburn! After I’d calmed down enough to drive, I darted home and sent out the full MS that same morning. Madeleine read it over the weekend and gave me an offer early the next week. And I am still shaking! We plan to do some revisions before sending The Iron Widow out to publishers, and I am so looking forward to embarking on them with Madeleine and her team!
The Caledonia Novel Award is a pure gem. Wendy and her team have helped so many aspiring authors launch their careers. I first heard of the competition in 2018 when Elizabeth Macneal signed with Madeleine Milburn, that year’s judge, and then went on to publish her internationally-acclaimed debut The Doll Factory. I’m still trying to process the reality that three years later I was shortlisted in the competition and then signed with Madeleine myself. It’s a dream come true.”
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