The Call – What’s it Like?

I realised a few days ago that it was the first year anniversary of my lovely editor at HarperImpulse, Charlotte Ledger, making The Call that every aspiring author dreams of … the one that I had been working towards for years.

The one that says, ‘I like your work, I love the way you write … and I want to offer you a contract for a book.’

For me it was the most exciting, overwhelming, nervous and satisfying phone call I’ve ever received, and much of it was a blur. I can’t honestly remember everything we talked about but I know I said thank you a lot and squealed a bit and came off the phone knowing I’d been offered something amazing but not quite sure what. It wasn’t until a few days later when the contract came through that I realised Charlotte had asked for a book, plus three other works 🙂  I even emailed her to double check she hadn’t made a mistake – she hadn’t thank goodness! – and  a few days later I attended the HarperImpulse Autumn Fete at HarperCollins HQ in London, and met some of my great fellow authors, a few of whom I already knew through the Romantic Novelists Association.

HI logo

So how did it happen for me?

Well, I’d seen the call out for HarperImpulse in Spring 2013 in an edition of Writing Magazine. The digital first romance of imprint HarperCollins looked innovative and like it might be a good fit for my contemporary romances so I knew I had to submit, except … except I was in the middle of a rewrite of The Lost Weekend – later retitled as Crazy, Undercover, Love – and I wasn’t happy with anyone seeing it as it was, even the first chapter. So I decided to wait, and carry on working on it.

As luck had it, I attend the Romantic Novelists Association Annual Conference every July and a valuable part of this is the opportunity for one to one appointments with editors and agents. I had three appointments last year, and one of them was with the fab Charlotte. So I dutifully sent off my first chapter and synopsis to the conference organiser, author Jan Jones – a woman who makes me feel decidedly lazy with the energy she expends on the conference every year – to pass on to the editors to read in advance. The ’13 conference was hot and muggy as the aircon at Sheffield Uni had packed in and I was bemused to realise that my 1:1 with Charlotte was on the Sunday morning, the ‘hangover slot’ given the gala dinner held on the Saturday night every year.

I saw Charlotte and Kimberley Young do the HI presentation on the Saturday afternoon and took the opportunity to say to hi to Charlotte. When she knew my name and her eyes lit up I thought it might be a good sign 🙂 In my 1:1 with her – which absolutely flew by – I was thrilled when she asked me more about the book, told me she loved my writing and asked for the full manuscript.  I also ended up pitching two romantic short stories to her, given that HarperImpulse are very willing to publish stories of pretty much any length, as long as the quality is there. They’re incredibly innovative in that way and at the time of writing this post HarperCollins have been short-listed for nine different awards over nine different categories in The Bookseller’s FutureBook Innovation Awards. Go to for the full article.

After the conference I went back to finishing the book rewrite and sent the two short stories to Charlotte to have a read of in the meantime. A few months passed … until one day at the beginning of October last year I got an email that made me grin the whole day … ‘Dear Nikki, can you let me know when I can call you to discuss your writing…’ Needless to say I told her I was available later that day – of course I couldn’t wait! – and when a London number flashed up on my phone that evening it marked the start of a very happy relationship with HarperImpulse.

In the last twelve months with them, two short stories have been published in the Be My Valentine collection, with stories by two fellow authors Bridgid Coady and Teresa F. Morgan; available at a number of outlets including for only 99p via Amazon.

Be My Valentine Short Story Collection


Crazy, Undercover, Love was published as an eBook in April with paperback release in September, attracting 4.3* reviews on Amazon. For all buy links go to

Crazy Undercover Love Cover


I’m currently working on another full length book for HarperImpulse, due to be released early next Summer, and they’ve asked me to write some more for them… which I am having tons of fun with 🙂

So that’s my Call story, and what lead up to it. I hope you enjoyed it. If you’re a writer hoping to be published one day, like I was, take heart in it. If you work hard, and don’t give up, have the right story and give it to the right person in the right place at the right time, it could happen to you. You could get The Call. After all, it happened to me 🙂

Happy reading and writing, Nikki x






2 thoughts on “The Call – What’s it Like?

  1. Sun Chara says:

    Wonderful Call story, Nikki! I always enjoy reading other authors’ journeys to publication…Call stories are always fun! Thank you for sharing your exciting publication adventure w/ Harper Impulse! :)))

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