One of my biggest dreams is coming true today. I’m sitting down to my novel, The River Caught Sunlight, reading through my editor’s edits. I have longed for years to have an editor edit me for publication. I have longed for someone to take a risk on my work even though it’s not perfect. I’d given up hope a year ago when friend read it and said the book made him feel claustrophobic.
I have heard horror stories of editors who are never pleased, editors who cut the book so much they make it their own. I worked with a teacher I could not please, who was like the rider who pulled back and kicked forward so all I could do was go straight up in frustration and tears.
I am pleased because Joe Coccaro is not doing that. He understands what I am doing. He is cutting the excess so the book will keep up a good pace so my readers will read it. He is telling me how to set up the way the plot turns before it turns that way and I can do that. He wants me to settle in and describe the Normans Kill, the history, the headwaters, how it was named. I did that back in the late 90’s. I looked at that file last in 2001. Thank goodness and Paul Huey the research is done.
He even said I could describe my beloved Normans Kill from the air, pretend I saw The Farm from the ground. Oh but I have, the jet’s belly gliding right over the two barns and house, the bottle nose of the river, the landing gear kicking open.
There are so many writer friends and former teachers that I would like to make proud with this book, so I am glad Joe is making it right.
I asked about my biggest fear, being sued. Whenever I’ve thought of publishing, I’ve been afraid someone would sue me or their feelings would be hurt, our friendship break or a secret revealed. A therapist once said, “Oh you come from a silencing family; that’s all that’s about.” But the fear held me still until Facebook showed me I could speak.
Joe reassured me I won’t be sued. He said he’s got good antenna alert when an author has defamed someone. “You haven’t done that. Don’t worry.”
There’s a joy in finding you, my readers, in taking my words off my hard drive and firing them into the air, across the grass, like arrows beautiful and sleek for the flying. I feel the rightness of going with Koehler books, even though they are small and the marketing is pretty much on me. (Ugh) That old dream of a big New York publisher taking my book with a big advance, gone. But this is better because here, here I can find you, my reader, in the time it takes. I don’t have to gather everyone in the first few months The River Caught Sunlight is published. I can build. I can find you with what Joe calls a story about ordinary people, “a beautiful story.”