Inspired by The Knight Agency’s April newsletter and the Agents of the Roundtable prompt, I decided to start a regular thing on my blog: “How I Met My Client”. Something like “How I Met Your Mother” only a lot briefer and, sadly, without the benefit of Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris). To that end, I wrote to Christie Golden, the first author I ever sold (nearly right away and to two different publishers in the same week or very nearly!) to do a post on how we met and promised that I’d do the same. Well, she finished hers first and, as she has the tendency to do, she just blew me away. My piece will in no way live up, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Or, at least, I think I will. We’ll see how it goes.
I started working for Spectrum Literary Agency practically right out of college. When I went for the interview, I happened to be reading (and loving) a book represented by the agency written by Ken Goddard, who runs the National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Lab out in Ashland, Oregon. There were people interviewing who had more work experience, but Eleanor Wood and I just clicked, and I was lucky enough that she gave me a shot.
Less than a year later, I was learning a ton and critiquing manuscripts and attending conventions and ready to take on my first clients. Christie talks about how we met below—through the amazing Roger MacBride Allen, who I met in turn because he was a Spectrum client and because we were able to talk forensics and freak people out at SFWA Receptions—so I’ll mix things up by telling you how I came to love and represent her work.
Step one: She set it to me. I know, crazy how that works. Christie followed up on our meeting and sent me one or two of her Ravenloft Books to read and I was hooked. I believe the first one I read was VAMPIRE OF THE MISTS. I absolutely fell in love with Jander Sunstar. I mean, an elven vampire—do you get more conflicted or tortured or awesome than that? I think not. Plus it had everything. The writing, the pacing, the tension…
She also sent me her original novel, INSTRUMENT OF FATE, which I fell for absolutely. A novel of Gillian Songespynner, a young bard on the run with a magical lute and a relentless enemy licking at her heels. There’s magic, romance, suspense…and again I was hooked.
Step two: Networking for the win. Not only did Christie and I network at that World Fantasy Convention, but I’d spent the year networking, meeting people in publishing—on the phone, in person, at the infamous Malibu lunches (the diner, not the beach), which I miss to this day. One of the very first people I met was John Ordover, who was editing media tie-in books, particularly Star Trek, for Simon & Schuster. (Wait, I know John, and he’s going to give me a hard time if I leave out a superlative or six for him, so hmm…. Let’s say the gregarious, voluble, unique and, okay, okay, wonderful John Ordover.) He was looking for authors for the various Star Trek series. Christie wrote awesome tie-ins. It seemed a match made in heaven. I was also, of course, sending out INSTRUMENT OF FATE to other fantastically amazing editors like Laura Anne Gilman, who was then at Ace/Berkley and who made us an offer for INSTRUMENT OF FATE and its sequel, KING’S MAN AND THIEF. We were elated! I’m pretty certain that it was that same week (or very closely thereafter) that we sold Christie’s first Star Trek novel to John at Simon & Schuster as well.
It was an incredible start.
Step three: Lather, rinse, repeat. Christie has an amazing talent for diving into other worlds, grabbing hold of the feel and the voice and the characters and building something wonderful out of them. Plus, she’s fast, timely, personable and all good things. Thus she’s been continuously under contract and under deadline ever since. Christie has now written many more Star Trek novels as well as tie-ins for Star Wars, Warcraft, Starcraft, Assassin’s Creed and others. She’s been on the New York Times bestseller list numerous times and won the Colorado Author’s League Award for Best Genre Novel of 1999 for A.D. 999 written under the pen name of Jadrien Bell, and again under her own name for IN STONE’S CLASP in 2005.
It’s been a wild ride, and it’s not over yet! As Christie says below, ” Here’s to the next 23 years and 47 books!”
And now, the woman of the hour—Christie herself!
Lucienne and I first met as precocious childhood playmates. She agreed to represent me at the tender age of six, which is the only possible way to explain our incredibly youthful appearances. That, or those portraits in our attics. Which you didn’t hear from me, no sir.
On an actual (and factual) note, we met at World Fantasy Con 1993, which was super awesome not just because it was “the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” but because WFC was held in New Orleans over Halloween. She came highly recommended by science fiction author Roger MacBride Allen, who had kind of adopted me and was diligently steering me toward doing Smart Things with my career (like introducing me to Lucienne) and thus greatly reducing my learning curve. I had recently had my first highly disillusioning publishing experience (buy me a lemondrop martini and I’ll spill more details) followed by my first highly disillusioning agent near-experience, so I was a small, suspicious, feral kitten who grilled Lucienne about pretty much everything. Which is funny, because I generally err on the side of being super-nice.
She took it in good stride, answering and asking questions, and I had a good feeling about her. I sent her a copy of my first novel, Vampire of the Mists, and she “got” it at once. We were a good match when it came to my writing style, and we agreed to take each other on.
The rest, as they say, is history. She’s represented me on 47 of my 50 novels, and has gotten to greet me on the phone with insanely stupid and wonderful questions like “Do you like Star Trek?”and “How would you like to write for Star Wars?” Of course I want some Cheezy Poofs. She’s advised me when to walk away, encouraged my patience, and fought hard for my fees and my rights.
She’s also just an amazing person, and someone I’m proud to call a friend. We’ve been “together” for 23 years, and I’ve never once felt the need to look elsewhere for representation. Here’s to the next 23 years and 47 books!
BTW, the Lemondrop Martini is the secret key to successful writing everyone is always hankering to know about. It’s the preferred beverage of the Muse. I have it on excellent authority and, hey, you’re welcome.