Tuesday, April 26, 2005

How I Got Here, Part 42

Happy Tuesday. I’m back in good ol’ California.

Question from yesterday as to favorite book cover of mine. Yes, probably Eyes of Elisha. It was just really innovative.

As for Paige—want a report? I wrote on the plane flying out to Kentucky and on the way back. And managed to write a couple pages while on my visit. Protagonist Paige has moved from her frightening hot tub to a dark place to the dark night to dark, cold water. And that’s where I left her. Girl’s really moved around for an opening sequence. And it ain’t quite done yet.

I’m on page 43. Proud of me?

Oh. I should tell y’all beautiful BGs that I will soon be traveling again. On Friday I’m going to our house in Coeur d’Alene to film a segment for The 700 Club. Their crew is flying to Cd’A and will be at our house there next Monday for the filming. The segment will be about my miraculous healing from Lyme disease, and about my writing. Don’t know yet when it will air, but I shall certainly keep y’all informed.

So. Back to our NES. Back to December 2001, when I was waiting on pins and needles in hopes that Eyes of Elisha would sell well.

But I was also doing something else that I haven’t mentioned. I was rewriting Dread Champion. It was a hard rewrite. Sheesh. Eyes of Elisha and Color the Sidewalk for Me had been fairly easy, despite the number of pages in my “Dave letter.” But this one—I thought it would kill me. Problems in the middle, and the ending was weak. I had to totally restructure it. Oh, same twist and all, but how everything came down had to change. I worked two to three nonstop weeks on it. I mean all day every day. When it was done, I was thoroughly exhausted. It would take my mind over a week just to empty itself of all the character chatter.

But the book was way better.

Gotta love a great editor.

Next up—immediately. I had to start writing the third Bradleyville book. By this time I knew which character in the town of Bradleyville would become my protagonist. And I knew the general outline of the story.

That always helps.

I would have to find Jackie’s voice, however. Jackie was only 16—far different from Celia, the protagonist in Sidewalk, who was 35. That search for the voice of a new character is a story in itself.

But I am getting ahead of the tale at hand.

Around the 10th of each month, CBA posts the bestseller list for the previous month online. I know this now. I wasn’t much aware of it then. But around that date in December 2001 somebody emailed me with congratulations for Eyes of Elisha.


The email mentioned the bestseller list. Gave the Web site address. I clicked on it, thinking surely the person was wrong, that this was all a dream. That even though I’d finally managed to sell to publishers, I’d never actually sell well on the shelves.

Up came the list on my computer. Eyes of Elisha was at number 12.

I sat and stared at it in shock. Certain that any moment now the mirage would blitz away.

It didn’t.

Slowly reality sank in.


Joy hit. Pure, dance-around, polish-the-cabinets joy. For a while I couldn’t even think. When my brain cells returned, I printed out the list, hopping around while the printer hummed. I called my husband. I called my mother. I called my sisters. I hopped around some more.

It was a fine way to end 2001.

2002 would bring new challenges.

And a call that would change my life.

Read Part 43


Hope said...

You know how to leave a girl hanging. ;) Question: Since your career seems to have started "pre-Internet" do you think sometimes the net hurts, more than helps, new aspiring writers? Sure, there is lots of information readily accessible to new writers who access the net, but do the pros outweigh the cons? (Something to chew on.) :)

Karen said...

I've been out of town too and am just catching up on the last week's posts. (I came back to 12" of snow). You mentioned that the PH didn't do much but put your first books on the shelf. Did they expect you to do the marketing? How does that work?

Stuart said...

Poor Paige, I'm beginning to see a rather disturbing pattern for where she's being sent. ;) But hey I guess that's what suspense is all about. Of course you could play up that theme and call the book Dark Paiges (groan) and then convince the publisher to print it in a special ink that forces the reader to read it in a dark room with only a flashlight...

Lovin' the blog! Keep up the good work.

Lynette Sowell said...

So does Paige's book have a water theme?? Just wonderin'. Still enjoying hearing about your journey. I notice having a great agent made a lot of difference. I'd love to hear your take on what makes a good--or bad--agent sometime. Well, maybe not bad, but not good for someone. Like shoes, if they don't fit right they're no good to you.

Becky said...

I want to echo Karen's question. What kind of marketing did you do for E of E? And how is what Zondervan did different from The Other House, if anything?

Another great hook! (Which is especially tricky when everything seems to be going so well).

Thanks for the Paige update. Page 43? That's great!

D. Gudger said...

:) You must have really shiny cabinets!

I'm curious to hear your response to the question posed by the first comment (Hope) about the web. I know my challange is to quit reading so many blogs & forums and actually work on my novel!

Thought of Paige while on vacation and pretending to be a floating corpse in a hot-spring pool. The crazy things we writers do!

Cheryl Russell said...

Another great post. :-). Glad to see Paige is moving right along.

C.J. Darlington said...

Okay, Darcie. THAT got me to smile. Pretended to be a corpse, huh?

D. Gudger said...

yeah, CJ, you shouldn't be surprised ;) I describe it in more detail on the Roundtable.

It WAS fun, though!

D. Gudger said...

How weird, the time on my post says 9:30 PM, but it's 10:30 PM . . .time warp? Or am I THAT tired? or is this site on Pacific time? Hmmmm.