October 17, 2009–a seemingly ordinary Saturday night out with the girls. Elation hung heavy in the air since one of my buddies since elementary school had announced she was pregnant. I had just ever so covertly glanced at my Blackberry—the kind of glance you do so you don’t look rude by checking your email every five minutes. There was a reply from an agent with one of my novels. Not expecting anything, I clicked on it. And there it was….”I’m really loving this story. Can we talk sometime next week?”
I squealed…like extremely loud. Then the table broke into celebration once again. It was also a very bittersweet celebration since that day would have been my mother’s 60th birthday. But what I couldn’t imagine is how that was just the beginning. Offer Two came in on Wednesday and then Offer Three came in on Friday. Sigh….decisions, decisions…EEK! It really came down to a second phone call with Agent Two followed by an overwhelming feeling of peace. Those of you who know me, know that I’m a very spiritual person. I’d spent Sunday praying for God to lead me in the right direction. And I firmly believe he has by having me sign with Fonda Snyder of Creative Management.
So, not only was the “call(s)” insane, but the journey to get to this moment has been as well! Okay, I underestimate it. It’s been an INSANE rollercoaster of emotions—and trust me, I don’t do roller coasters because I’m afraid of heights!
Here’s a brief synopsis, oh lord, the “s” word, of my journey to finding an agent. Last November, my idea for my YA UF, The Guardians, hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean, I couldn’t sleep at night because characters were talking to me. I completed it in early January. Then I began querying it at the end of the month. This would be an example of when ignorance is NOT bliss. I had a couple of teacher buddies and one student read it—not exactly the most objective beta readers! What followed was rejection, rejection, rejection, and then reflection, reflection, reflection about my story including have a freelance editor give me feedback. But then the Calvary truly rode in when I hooked up with some awesome beta readers include the fabulous Kody Keplinger and Hannah Wydey. They really helped me whip the Guardians in to shape. In May, I had two close calls, one with a Christian agent and then another when an agent with a track record that wasn’t the best.
But alas, it wasn’t TG that landed me an agent. Nope, it was a very strange little idea that came to me after I lost my first student last year. Cooper wasn’t a player or a manwhore—no, instead he was just a good ol’ country boy whose pacemaker malfunctioned while he was playing in a basketball game, causing him to collapse and die on an old gym floor. Cooper’s death ignited long dormant memories of two high school buddies I loved, Travis, who would have been the next Adam Sandler, and David. And then the idea came to explore how males handled grief.
So, as soon as school was out, I started Don’t Hate the Player…Hate the Game. It was a whole new world considering it was narrated by a seventeen year old male. I say it was a whole new world when in fact, it isn’t my first time of narrating as a guy. In the original Guardians, both Elijah and Rafe narrated. But in truth, there really is nothing like Noah. A true smartass dealing not only with the death of his best friend, Jake, by blowing up on a tractor, but also with his mother’s impending marriage, a new baby sibling, and reconnecting with his absent ball playing father. Oh and falling in love, rather than lust, for the first time in his life.
And that my dear writing friends, is a somewhat long winded version of “my call” and my journey to get here. I thank all of you for your help, support, and encouragement along the way! All you gals of OPWFT, especially Stephanie, Becca, Jamie, and Annie, I couldn’t have done it without you. Hannah and Kody, you rock too, gals!!
*Okay, I’ll say my Oscar worthy acceptance speech of thank you’s for when/if my book sells!!!
Original post published on Old People Writing for Teens by GotYA contributor Krista Ashe. To view the original post and reader comments, please click here.