I’ve Been *BURSTING* To Tell You: I Got a Book Deal!

I know things have been a bit quiet around here lately but that’s because I was (a) cramming for and then taking end-of-year exams and (b) keeping an enormous secret that I feared I might subliminally spill. This morning though, I’m finally able to tell you:



If you’ve been hanging around these parts a while you’ll know that last summer I finally finished a respectable draft of a serial killer thriller I’d been mostly not writing for the best part of two years. In October I signed with Jane Gregory, an agent I almost hadn’t submitted to because looking at the existing clients on her website, I thought I didn’t stand a chance. After I got my first batch of university assignments done over Christmas I did some re-writes on the book, and it went out on submission back in March. Just five days later, on March 23rd, it was pre-empted by Corvus – an imprint of Atlantic Books – as part of a two-book deal.

(Yes, I’ve been keeping this a secret for the last two months. I know.)

So my debut thriller Distress Signals will be available for your reading pleasure* in the UK and Ireland (and Australia and New Zealand) in June 2016, and I got something I’ve wanted since I was approximately eight years old. Hooray! 

This is why I cleaned up my website, diluting the pink a bit, and changed my profile pic from Happy Coffee-Drinking Catherine to Possibly Watches You While You Sleep Catherine, because I can’t be quite so smiley anymore now that I write about murderers and stuff.

If in the last year you and I have met at the complimentary coffee kiosk at a writerly event, I may have described this book as being about “a serial killer on a cruise ship”. This is the extended version:

The day Adam Dunne’s girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads ‘I’m sorry – S’ sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate – and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before. To get answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a murderer who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground…

If you want to know more, rest assured that I will be blogging every minor detail of this adventure in the coming weeks and months. So be careful what you wish for. I do have a lot of fun things planned though, and I hope you’ll come along for the ride. You could also sign up to my newsletter, especially if you’re into getting sporadic, pink-tinged e-mails.

Speaking of things you wish for, the little girl below wished for this. That’s why she asked Santa for a typewriter back in 1989. And now, even though she’s had plenty of time for it to sink in, she still can’t quite believe that it’s happened. 


And she’s totally going on eBay to see if anyone is selling Barbie’s Magic Van.

*The next phase in this adventure will be a year of sleepless nights and paralyzing anxiety about whether, when the book comes out, anyone will buy it, and if they buy it, will they like it, and if they like it, will they tell anyone – not to mention the little matter of WRITING ANOTHER ONE –  until I’m under my desk in the foetal position, clutching a copy of The Bookseller and whimpering. 

But that’s next week. 

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183 thoughts on “I’ve Been *BURSTING* To Tell You: I Got a Book Deal!

  1. Sheree Carterwww.thekuthun.com says:

    Congratulations Catherine! That is amazing news and I am so happy for you. You inspire me and I love following your rants. xo

  2. alison345 says:

    Congratulations, Catherine! Sounds a great premise. And your excitement so beautifully put – I love your posts – so ‘laugh out loud’! xx

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Thanks Alison! Glad you like the premise. This is all very exciting but I suppose none of it matters if people don’t think to themselves, “Hmm. I’d like to read that book!” 😀

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Haha, thank you! Well, text just doesn’t really do the excitement justice – you can only use so many capital letters/exclamation marks. Credit to Andrea Summers for taking that photo!

  3. Marc Mouton says:

    I sm so happy for you Catherine!!! This is well deserved. I can wait to purchase a copy. You have come a long way from Disney World.

  4. Karen says:

    Congratulations, that’s fantastic news – though having followed your blog for a while I knew it was only a matter of time :o) The book sounds great, and I’m looking forward to hearing more – and to reading it!

  5. johanna buchanan says:

    Wow. Dreams do come true. But not with a lot of hard work form what I can make out from your blog. Go Catherine.

  6. Sally Park Rubin says:

    Was just thinking about you these last few days and worrying about not having heard much recently. So, here you are now! Great news! I’m so proud of you and so glad to be part of your fan club! Sally from Oakland, California.

  7. Sandy Humby says:

    Oh how exciting! I thought you’d gone rather quiet of late, obviously you have been rather busy. Looking forward to reading your book when it come out, keep up the good work!

  8. Andrea says:

    Congratulations!! Definitely sounds like a book right up my dark and ominous alley, so you have at least one Aussie reader! 🙂

  9. Nikki Moore says:

    Congratulations Catherine – amazing news and the book sounds fab.

    I also had a similar typewriter as a kid, except it was bright blue!

    All the best, Nikki x

  10. Tauba Asiya says:

    Hi! I just happened upon this post, and wanted to say how awesome it is that you were able to achieve your dream. I wish you success! 🙂

  11. maaritmiller says:

    This is so, so exciting to watch from the outside, even as a total Internet stranger. A huge and much-deserved congratulations to you! 🙂

    On Wed, May 27, 2015 at 2:08 AM, CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD wrote:

    > catherineryanhoward posted: “I know things have been a bit quiet > around here lately but that’s because I was (a) cramming for and then > taking end-of-year exams and (b) I was keeping an enormous secret that I > feared I might subliminally spill. This morning though, I’m finally able to > “

  12. Susie Murphy says:

    This is MAGIC! I signed up to your newsletter back at the start of February after hearing you speak at the Self-Publishing Day at the Irish Writers’ Centre, and was disappointed to find that things had been decidedly quiet since then. I’m so delighted to hear that this has been the reason for the radio silence! Much heartfelt congratulating and high-fiving from here! 🙂

  13. MarkM says:

    Absotively, posolutely fantabulous! Congrats Catherine!! Any guestimate of an availability date for those (different, but same) English speaking folks on this side of the pond? Sent from lovely Bucks County, PA, USA

  14. David Henderson says:

    Congratulations Catherine. Mousetrapped was the first book I ever bought for my Kindle back in 2011, which I loved along with Bagpacked which I later purchased on the strength of the former. I enjoy your writing so looking forward to reading more in future. Not sure if you are a member of ‘The Book Club’ group on Facebook but its an excellent group for authors to reach out to readers like myself so might be worth keeping in mind when the release date for your new novel gets closer. All the best.

  15. Dianne Greenlay says:

    Catherine, I’m so pleased for you ! Yes, I’ve skulked around quietly in the background, following your posts for a few years now, and your success is truly deserved. On a sadder note, I just sold my daughter’s Barbie Magic Van last month to add to her college fund ( yup, it’ll get her about 3 beers worth at the campus watering hole) …. If I’d known, I would have forwarded it on to you as a congratulation gift.

  16. Ronnie says:

    This is amazing news, as only a fellow writer (and dreamer) can fully appreciate. Good on you! I hope it’s wildly successful and only the beginning ….

  17. Offer says:

    Congratulations galore to you, Catherine! This is wonderful news and well-deserved, especially so given all your hard work so far. I thrill vicariously (another writer-at-heart?) at your victory. Cheers!

  18. Poly Alves says:

    Hey, I loved your blog and I’m following. Could you, please, follow me too? Thank you so much! XoXo

  19. catherineryanhoward says:

    Okay, guys: I thought it was a good idea this morning to reply to every comment but I fear that people yet to read this will be put off leaving one by the fact that they’ve to scroll for half an hour to get to the end. So take it as given that should you leave expressions of congratulations, I will say a genuine THANK YOU SO MUCH in response! xxx

  20. Melissa Stacy says:

    I love your books, Catherine, and I’m SO EXCITED for this one!!! Congratulations on your book deal, and I *can’t wait* to purchase a copy of this novel!! It’s been a great joy in my own writing life to follow your blog, learn from you, and read your work — I’m cheering you all the way!! And totally looking forward to reading more posts about this terrific milestone in your life! Congratulations!! 😀

  21. Karen Rees says:

    So delighted for you Catherine – you really are an incredibly talented writer & deserve this amazing opportunity so much! I’m sure many champagne corks have popped over this great news. Can’t wait to read it 🙂 Karen x

  22. Jean Thomas says:

    Oh my goodness! Congratulations darlin! (I know it might be weird me saying “darlin” since you have no idea who I am but I’m a country gal and I figure it would garner me fewer looks than “sugar.” Anyways.)

    I’m so happy for your news! I can’t wait to get to recommend your book to my friend (who absolutely adores murder-y suspenseful thingies.)

    I’m so glad that you’ve gotten your dream! Really looking forward to hearing about what happens once you get signed.

    Congrats again!

  23. Woman Working With Words says:

    Eeep, how exciting. I will have to read it even though I’m a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to killers.

  24. Veronica Sicoe says:

    OMG that is so awesome! Huge congrats to you, Catherine!

    And you totally look like me in that kid pic. I was hacking away at my (dad’s) typewriter too when I was that age. 😀

  25. Adam Henig says:

    Congrats Catherine. I’ve been following your rise since the 1st edition of Self Printed. You’ve inspired a lot of us Indie Writers that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Good job!

  26. Sandy Adams says:

    That is soooooooo amazingly wonderful for you!! Excited to see the book published. Any chance us in the United States will be able to purchase somewhere?

  27. pjbyerwriter says:

    Congratulations! You’re ahead of many of us (including me!) to be picked up by a publisher…and a two book deal. Best wishes with the writing, deadlines are a great incentive.
    I’m self-publishing my YA book Collision, and hope to have it on Amazon by August 2015. What a huge learning curve it’s been, and continues to be.
    I guess that’s this crazy writing gig.

  28. Monica McMullin says:

    Congratulations Catherine. I’ve been lurking here in the background for a couple of years without ever commenting until now. This great news has dragged me out of the dark shadows. What excitement! You must be on Cloud 9.

    I remember being so disheartened after being rejected by LBA, until you told me that it was the best rejection a writer can get, without getting a ‘yes’. But time was of the essence for me because the story behind my book already had a website following, which I had pre-orders from. So I didn’t take your advice, which was to submit to other agents/publishers. Instead, I self-published from scratch. I got my own ISBN, dealt directly with a local printer after hiring the services of an editor. I designed the cover & did the typesetting myself, but I’m more ‘arty’ then ‘techy’, so that road is not for everyone. I’ve sold 732 copies of the paperback so far, 5 copies were ordered by New Zealand Libraries. I’ve now had it converted into an eBook using ebookpartners.

    I’ll never be able to compare the royalties I could’ve earned with the sales I’ve had, but my book was a personal story about my parents’ forbidden love & a search for a father who I never knew. So it wasn’t about ‘making’ money. I just kept my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t ‘lose’ money! Anyway, IF I had been offered book deal, I’m sure my 112,000 word-epic would’ve been cut down to about 80,000 words.

    As we say here in Scouseland . . . I’m ‘made-up’ for you.


  29. SparkstoneTech says:

    This is fantastic news… many congratulations after all your hard work.

    We’ve always wanted to know – do you have to have a book completely finished to get a book deal or was the version you submitted still considered a draft copy?

    And similarly with finding an agent, was she willing to take you on based on just an outline for the story or did she want to see a complete book before she would consider representing you?

    …can’t wait to read the finished book 🙂

  30. sofffieplopp says:

    Congratulations to your book deal! I stumbled onto your blog and i really like it! I write books too, for tenagers. I was finished with the first story, but then a new character showed up. So now i’m writing some new chapters.
    I hope that i learn something when im reading your blog 😉 Im not sure that i could keep such a secret doh. XD

  31. sylviisaurus says:

    Congrats, congrats, congrats on your book deal! 😀

    I just have a quick question for you… My boyfriend and I both aspire to be writers and best selling authors someday. Aside from writing the book itself, what would you say would be the next step to getting a book deal? 🙂

    • catherineryanhoward says:

      Just write the book. Finish it. Re-write it until it’s as good as it can possibly be. Don’t worry about anything else. When your book is finished and ready and as good as it can be, a simple Google search will tell you everything you need to know about getting published – the internet is already full of such advice. So don’t worry about that for now. I spent way too much time worrying about that, researching that, reading books about that, preparing for that – and it was all procrastination. In the end I just researched agents, submitted as per the instructions on their websites, and then after I signed with one she did the rest. I didn’t need all that useless information. Just FINISH THE BOOK!

      • sylviisaurus says:

        Thank you so much for your advice, Miss Catherine! I really appreciate it. 🙂 I was actually a little concerned about googling publicists and whatnot. Sometimes the internet can be a not so trustworthy place, in my opinion. :/ Maybe I’m just too skeptical for my own good. lol Anywho! Thank you again for your time. 🙂 ❤

  32. discoveringdeleyla says:

    Congratulations on your book deal! I just started using wordpress myself and found your blog. I wanted to comment because I too love pink and am honestly disappointed that I couldn’t make my blog anymore pink than it currently is. I’m in the U.S. so I don’t know if your book will make its way here anytime soon, but I look forward to following your progress via your blog and hopefully an excerpts that come along the way.

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