Everybody’s Talking About Surprises with WOW!
I am writing today’s post as part of the WOW! Women on Writing Blanket Tour for
Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris. This debut novel is the story of three young women during World War II and the identity misunderstandings they and the men in their lives have. Ask yourself: Can a soldier fall in love with a woman through letters? What happens if the woman writing the letters is different from the woman he met the night
before he shipped out, the woman he thought was writing the letters? Is it still love or just a lie?
The first thing I thought of when I read this prompt–talking about surprises–was how my daughter was born 6.5 weeks early. My water broke one morning; and that night, there she was. That was one heck of a surprise!
But in keeping with the theme of my blog, I decided to write about the SURPRISE of finally finding a publisher for my middle-grade novel, Finding My Place. I remember writing and rewriting that book when I would take it to my critique group. That was the first step. Then I talked to an agent at a writing conference, and she told me to send it to her. I had established a relationship with this agent, and so she sent me back a personal letter with WONDERFUL advice for making the novel better. I followed her advice, and to my SURPRISE, the book was a TON better. Even my critique group thought so. (Those agents do know what they are talking about. (wink) )
However, that agent stopped representing what I wrote, (which was no surprise), and so I started sending out the manuscript myself. Soon, I queried, and Walker and Company in New York requested the entire manuscript. I sent it with high hopes, which were soon shattered when the editor wrote me back a lovely letter that basically said there was no money in this book. Well, did I ever think I wanted to be rich and famous? She suggested I try the school and library market.
So, I sent a query to smaller presses and actually received a letter from two that wanted to read the whole thing. One of those happened to be White Mane Kids, and they offered me a contract in July of 2007. I sent in my revisions in December 2007. And to my surprise, I am still waiting for the book to be published. (There’s a lot of surprises, huh?) The problem is the economy, and White Mane Kids put a hold on publishing new material until the economy improved. Last I checked, I was third in line. I will one day hold my book in my hand–and I can’t wait for the surprise of what that feels like.
Like many authors, Kristina (author of Letters From Home) has had a wild selection of “real jobs”–everything from wedding planner to actress to publicist. She finally added novelist to the list after she got a peek at the letters her grandfather wrote to his sweetheart (a.k.a. Grandma Jean) while he was serving in the Navy during World War II. That got her wondering how much two people could truly know each other just from letter writing and became the nugget of her novel.
In honor of her grandparents, and all the other families kept apart by military service, Kristina is donating a portion of her book’s profits to United Through Reading, a nonprofit organization that video records deployed U.S. military personnel reading bedtime stories to their children. You can learn more about the program at http://www.unitedthroughreading.org/.
If you comment on today’s post on this blog or any of the others participating in Everybody’s Talking About Surprises, you’ll be entered to win a special surprise prize! It includes a personalized copy of Letters
from Home, a Big Band CD, Victory Garden seeds, and more. To read Kristina’s post about surprises and a list of other blogs participating in Everybody’s Talking about Surprises visit The Muffin.