What happens when you finally DO land an agent, after all those months, maybe years, of searching, researching, waiting, hoping, praying, crying, editing, revising, querying and rejecting? I went shopping for exotic, expensive shoes but ended up buying underwear. I excitedly contacted all my best friends and relatives whose reactions ran the gamut from WHOOPEE to "let me know when it's on the shelf." And I danced around the house to loud Beatles music before my husband finally said I should probably stop before I have a heart attack.
Look, everybody deserves a few moments of insanity after working so hard for so long. And yes, writing a book is hard work. I figure that this, my first book, CRAZY, has been in the making for about 15 years. At least the idea was spawned way back then, under a palm tree on Myrtle Beach during Spring Break when I told my husband to watch the kids while I wandered up the beach, seeking a quiet spot to write.
I started with 20 loosely connected poems, ran them by my best writing buddy, Carol Baldwin, who suggested that they needed to be a book. Then, over many years of raising kids, teaching full time, and writing in the pre-dawn hours, something resembling a novel began to materialize.
Several rounds of professional editing followed, not the least of which was the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop at Chautauqua in 2009. By the luck of the draw, my assigned reader was Patti Gauch, former vice president and editor-at-large of Philomel Books. Her expert editing advice and direction encouraged me to take every ounce of insight I had gleaned at Chautauqua and do one more rewrite.
I launched an agent search in mid June, 2010, and almost four months later to the day, Julia Kenny at Markson Thoma Literary Agency offered to represent my work.
Some have instant success. For me, just getting to this moment has been a long time coming, and who knows where it might go from here. But if all else fails, hearing an agent tell me that she loves my work and that it moved her to tears might be enough to satisfy the longings of my heart forever.