So usps.com tells me that at 1:01 p.m. this afternoon, my novel arrived at my agent's office. It could be sitting on K's desk this very moment. This fact makes me a) completely excited and eager to know what she thinks, yet determined to be patient and just let the woman read (because she's a busy person with, no doubt, a tall stack of manuscripts on her desk) and b) nervous, like a mother sitting on the edge of an uncomfortable chair in the waiting room of a doctor's office, waiting to hear whether her child is basically healthy or major surgery will be required.
A word about agents: they are the best thing since peanut butter, in my opinion. I feel extremely lucky to have this woman who I can email out of the blue with a new project, who is so encouraging and enthuiastic about my writing. The week I first connected with K was a good week for J and me: he won the Stegner Fellowship and we found out we were moving to California. K worked for Watkins Loomis then, and she had seen my story "The Sugar Shell" in The Iowa Review and liked it. I'd had a couple of agents contact me about the story during that time, which blew my mind, but I gravitated toward K. She was professional but approachable. My office mate at UNL was conferencing a student the first time K called, so I dragged the phone out to the hall, sat on the floor against the wall, and explained my current project to her. I hardly knew how to talk about the novel, let alone sell it. But right away she latched on to what I was attempting to do with the novel, and it was like immediately having a cheerleader on the sidelines. A cheerleader who really knows how to sell your book.
Seriously. Better than peanut butter.
A few years ago K moved to a larger agency, one that began in 1905 and represented some of the greats like D.H. Lawrence, C.S. Lewis, A.A. Milne, and Ayn Rand, not to mention the huge list of amazing clients they are currently working with. I am awestruck looking at the list of writers these people have helped, and thrilled beyond belief to have K and that agency in my corner right now. It truly makes me want to write my best.
Speaking of which, I began writing the prologue for book two of my series, which is tentatively entitled Broken Wing. I expected to throw myself right into the action where I left off in book one, but then I thought: prologue. Book one has a prologue. Shouldn't book two? Suddenly I was writing a completely different scene about a moment when my main character was seven years old. I was literally following her home from school. It's marvelous how that happens; you sit down to write and something truly unexpected shows up on the page. I don't know if I'll keep the scene, ultimately. But in spite of all my whining about starting the second book before I had fully celebrated the completion of the first, it felt good to be writing forward again, after weeks of revising in circles. It felt really good.