I want you to be the first to know– well, besides my mother who I called laughing, screaming, crying, and jumping up and down all at once– that it looks like my book is going to be represented by a well-known literary agent. I’m dying to say who she is, but can’t until the deal is signed.
This is the first part of her email:
“Dear Laura: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and consider your book. It is a moving and often inspiring read. Your sometimes dark but always raw and honest humor pull the reader in, and anyone who’s had to deal with a devastating loss will relate to how vulnerable and candid you are about your experiences. Your abiding love for Susannah and Nell and your unshakable devotion to parenthood are also at the heart of this book, and it’s remarkable to witness how your love for your kids helped you put your lives back together again.
Note to readers: My kids would be shocked that someone thinks I am a good mother. If nothing else, having this in writing is worth the book alone!
She went on to say:
“The manuscript is in good shape, but I have many thoughts and suggestions about how it could be improved before it would be ready to be shared to a publisher.”
Note to readers: Sigh! Did she have to say “many?” Couldn’t she have said “a few?” I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve ripped it apart already, vacillating even between opening with Mark’s death or the first sprinkling of his ashes.
Option one excerpt: I was halfway to the car when I turned around and headed back up the front step to kiss Mark goodbye one more time.
These are the moments we all wish we could have over and over and over again. They are the moments that happen before everything changes.
“You sure I shouldn’t stay home?” I said, feeling his forehead again. I should have known when he came home from work early that day. “Maybe you have the flu?” He gave me his sexy lopsided smile, the one that said I love you.
Option two excerpt: It looked suspicious out there in the middle of nowhere if you ask me. Still, the thought of doing you know what and having to cover it like a dog in the dirt was almost worse than braving the campground outhouse. It was definitely more disgusting.
This was only our first night and I was already regretting my, “Oh, I love camping. I’m really good at it!” logic.
It was here, 2,964 miles from home, that I realized something even BIGGER! I didn’t have to go to the outhouse alone! Mark-in-a Box could protect me.
I went back and forth, forth and back between the two until I could literally recite both chapters out loud, word for word, until I decided to go the chronological route. Start with his death and end with… well, I can’t exactly tell you how it ends 76,000 words later.
Still, I don’t care how “many” thoughts and suggestions she has and how “many” more times I tweak it. If the agent recommends telling the story in flashback or killing and rewriting entire sections while perched on top of the Empire State Building, that is exactly what I will do.
I’m ready! Lay it on me! I’m deadline driven!
That’s also code for I need to get my life back… starting with a little present to myself which involves riding an elephant in India courtesy of !!!free!!! American Express travel points.
Wait. There’s more. She then said:
“I would be pleased to offer you representation and work on this with you! You will also need to put together a book proposal to accompany the manuscript. Have you begun to work on this yet?”
Note to readers: She knows me too well already. I was hoping to somehow get away without writing one. Wishful thinking, I know. I quickly resurrected a rough draft of a proposal I’d started about six months ago and spent every free moment of the next 10 days writing chapter summaries, marketing plans, etc. in time to hit the Hamptons for 4th of July weekend.
Here’s a bit of the proposal. I think it summarizes things well, don’t you?: The Pink Steering Wheel Chronicles is not a poor widow me account of overcoming grief, nor is it a travel log. It’s really a love story between the living and the dead that’s packed with journalistic edge in delivering well-researched and provocative blocks on everything you never wanted to know about death such as that more than 827,000 gallons of embalming fluid is used per year– 230,000 gallons more than it takes to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. Beyond these and other facts, the writer provides a psychologist’s armchair into the overly-active psyche of a slightly derailed woman’s mind and life as she trips and turns along the way toward self-discovery and recovery.
The agent then wrote:
“I look forward to discussing a relationship between us and how to best to sell your manuscript.”
Note to readers: Please join me in saying, Hallelujah!
Photo credits: Legalofficeguru.com and John Lund Photography