Over the past several months, I’ve been sharing little hints of something brewing, a change in direction. Well, as promised last week, I’m ready to let the cat out of the bag; at least as much as I can.
The poor kitty’s been in hiding for a while now and the air in that bag’s becoming quite stale, so I’m going to let her pop her head out so she can take a look around. She won’t be allowed a full-out bounding-away just yet, however. As President George Bush Sr. once said, “It wouldn’t be prudent.” But she is ready to breathe.
Hint #1: This is a board room at a publishing house where book ideas are discussed. Though I was fairly removed from the process of what was said as the manuscript of my first book, First Salmon, was up for consideration back in the mid-2000s, this past October, I had the privilege of touring its publishing house, Boyds Mills Press, and seeing the room where that conversation took place.
It was fun to imagine what it might have been like that day, whom might have been present, and the details of the deliberations. I loved the thought that this is where the vision for my book was conceived.
Hint #2: Meet Larry Rosler, my editor at Boyds Mills Press. It was a thrill to cross paths with him for the first time in person during that October 2010 visit. I really cherished the editorial process of creating both of my children’s books; the point at which a frequent back and forth between me and Larry, or me and Amy (as was the case in my second book to be published, P is for Peace Garden) happened.
It’s fun to think back on this, but I’m afraid I’m leading you astray, so I’ll be a little more explicit now. I’m not going to be presenting a new children’s book idea to Boyds Mills, though I haven’t discounted the possibility for someday. I’d love to work with Larry again, and during my visit to Boyds Mills in October, he said the same. But around the time of that fall workshop, which was focused on writing for young adults, another door had begun to open ever so slowly in a slightly different realm. And I have to admit it left me feeling a bit conflicted. I knew that if I were to step in the direction of the new door, I would be moving away from writing children’s literature. Maybe not forever, but for a while. That was a difficult decision to face, especially while in the middle of a wonderful workshop filled with children’s writers and their fantastic ideas and inspiring words. But by the end of my time in Honesdale, PA, I realized something: the newly opening door held a lot of promise and I would be a fool to ignore it. At the very least, I would need to discern carefully whether I should reach for that knob or walk away and back into the world of kids’ lit.
When I returned home, I talked with my spiritual director to sort through my confusion. He helped me learn how to turn off the voices calling out to me (all of them well-intending, I might add) so that I could listen to the one that mattered most. It was a process of deep prayer, listening intently, and waiting.
In time, clarity began to come, and it’s led me to where I’m at now. And that is this: I’ve been talking with an editor fairly seriously in the past month about a book idea for the spiritual non-fiction adult market. That’s a long way from children’s literature, right? Well, sort of, but not as much as it might seem. It all comes from the same heart.
I’m going to wait to share the publishing house and the editor’s name. All of that will come in time if this idea materializes. For now, I at least need the support of my writing community for this next step. I’ve put together a fairly detailed proposal of the book I’m hoping to write, including an introduction, sample first chapter, marketing plan, prospectus outlining chapter subjects, and a resume of sorts, along with an introduction to the house of who I am and why I’d be qualified to write the kind of book I’m proposing. On April 5, the editor will present my proposal to his department, and on April 14, it will go before the full acquisitions committee. After that, it will either be fly or die. I would love it to fly. I feel it’s a strong idea and I would be grateful to have a chance to present it in book form to the world. But I realize that it’s far from a done deal and that more patience is required as I wait it out over these next couple weeks.
That’s why I’ve been quiet. I’ve been living and breathing this potential book, but I’m not disposed to share everything about it. Alas, I don’t want to keep something this huge hidden away, either. I’ll need your support however it turns out.
Someday, if it’s meant to happen (and I really do believe in the meant-to-be’s), I might just be back with a shot like this — a book shelf in a publishing house where a book has been placed, and on its binding, the name of yours truly:
It’s a dream of most writers I know — the chance to become an author. It’s one I’ve lived through twice now, and would thoroughly enjoy experiencing again. And it would be a privilege to share the process of book creation with you.
Q4U: What is the dream on your heart today?