Tuesday, April 05, 2005
How I Got Here, Part 28
Welcome back, bloggees. A new reader e-mailed me privately yesterday and used that word for those of you who stop by each day. Great word. If it ain’t in the dictionary, it should be.
First, some current stuff. I really enjoyed reading all the comments yesterday. You BGs (that’s bloggees, for short) are witty and fun. And Jennifer—you and your husband hang in there. Pray the Psalms aloud—I’m telling ya, they really help. Try Psalm 55 - 57 to start, if you’re in difficult situations. You may not be pursued by men, as King David was, but you can pray these Psalms against whatever situation assails you.
Ron asked about having to know forensics stuff to write suspense. There are plenty suspense stories out there that don’t have anything to do with crime investigation. Look at Koontz—he writes ’em all the time. So if you don’t have time to research, build a story that doesn’t need it. On the other hand, if you want to write a story that involves crime investigation, you really do need to get your facts straight.
Speaking of story, thanks to all of you who sent ideas my way. You’re all troopers to put on your plotting hats for me. Today I start my next book. Ayyyo, as my grandmother would say.
Next—News flash, news flash! My new “Seatbelt Suspense” Web site is now up. (Link on the left.) Please go take a gander. Nothing fancy enough to require flash drive, so all can stop by. Couple new interesting pages there. First, a page on “Why Christian Suspense?” Second, a new page of excerpted letters (link toward bottom on home page) from folks who have been spiritually impacted through my books. These will be updated from time to time. Of course, you can still read the openings to any of my books on the site.
And--If you’re not signed up to receive my newsletter on Christian fiction, Sneak Pique, what are you thinking? It’s sent every other month. Features the latest releases of Christian fiction in all genres, answers to your snoopy questions about Christian novelists, chances to win free books, and bit of info about me. The next one goes out probably tomorrow, so sign up now. Then participate in the contest, and your copy of Dead of Night (or whatever book of mine you choose) will likely be free. This issue there will be 10 winners. Big-hearted that I am, I usually allow extra winners, if people straggle in getting their answers to me. If you’re on the Sneak Pique list, you’ll also receive notification about my new books—about twice a year.
Okay, advertisement out of the way. Let’s get back to story. When I got a call from my agent—that I wasn’t expecting.
It was about Eyes of Elisha. At Editor C’s house. The house who let it pass pub board, and who were going to publish it. Who were drawing up a contract for me.
They’d changed their minds.
Oh, pub board still wanted it. And the editor still loved it. But it seems the head honcho (HH)—the CEO/Publisher of the house—stepped in and said nix it. Too edgy, with the visions stuff. And besides, HH said there had been some case back East somewhere in which a Christian had claimed to have a vision about a murder, and the house just didn’t wanna do a book along similar lines.
And that was that.
I was stunned. Beyond stunned. At the last minute—no deal. Because of some murder case I’d never heard of? Who cared? Because the book was too “out there?”
Seems I’d heard that somewhere before.
Three slammed doors. Bam, bam, bam. With each one of them, I’d gotten further along in the process, been allowed to hope . . . until finally I’d rejoiced at a sale. Now it was back to the beginning. This was 2000. I’d written the first draft of Eyes of Elisha in 1990. I was absolutely crushed. God, why did You tell me to rewrite this book? What’s the use? Nobody wants this vision thing . . .
Now—I will stop here and give yet another defense of these houses. A repeat of something I said last week. Today I am friends with all of these editors and respect all of the houses. (Interesting note—the way people move around in this business, most of these editors are in different places these days.) These companies weren’t wrong to tell me no. They each have a persona. They each have defined the kind of book they will and won’t publish.. They each have to worry about their bottom line. If my book didn’t fit in their scheme of things, that’s just the way it was.
Also, don’t forget—God had worked His will through the many closed doors of agents and editors, and the few open ones, in the past ten years. I willed myself to trust that He would continue to do so. However, I was really ready for the ratio of closed doors vs. open ones to be switched.
Not to be. The bad news didn’t stop with the nix of Eyes of Elisha. Hey, why quit when you can get further behind?
Another call from my agent. The house that was publishing Cast a Road Before Me had realized it had acquired too much fiction in too little time. They were running short on money. They would publish Road, but they were going to have to pass on their option for Color the Sidewalk for Me.
Whoa. From mountaintop to chasm. All in a few short weeks. What to do? Road and Sidewalk were a pair. What house would want to publish the second in a series?
If you have been reading this blog all the way through, you know how hard I worked on Sidewalk. How I flew across the country to find an agent for it. How many times I rewrote the thing. I was not putting it away in some drawer.
Good thing Jane believed in the book so much. She contacted other publishers, telling ’em they just couldn’t pass it up. Three editors were really interested in reading it. Okay. So far, so good. But . . .
One was Editor A, who’d rejected Road because it wasn’t deemed Christian enough for the house.
One was Editor C, whose CEO/Publisher had just jerked away my contract for Eyes of Elisha.
The third was Editor D—one we’d not sent to before, and who managed to intimidate the daylights out of just about everybody.
A real threesome of hope, wouldn’t you say?
Read Part 29