My writing pal, Jeri Odell, and I had one of the earlier appointments with Sarah, so we didn’t have time to get nervous. Sometimes meeting editors has that effect on me. Typically I come to the table with a stomach ache. But Sarah Long made it easy to chat with her. She’s smiley, bubbly, and she finds something positive in every manuscript she reads.
Jeri and I had submitted a project on which we are both writing about two characters who are soon to be mothers-in-law. They hate each other at first, as each woman is from a different part of the country, and they feel they have nothing in common – except their love for their children.
Sarah Long and me------->
Sarah told us that she read to distinct voices (good!) and that she thought our story was actually “too real.” Jeri and I decided that was good too, although it took some internalizing for us to come to that conclusion. Everyone has a mother or mother-in-law and, as Christians, we love and respect those who are part of our families – even through marriage. Even so, humorous events can arise.
While Sarah spoke with us about our submission, she laughed a little (another good sign, since we have comedic scenes in the manuscript). But at the end of the day, she just didn’t feel it was a good fit for Bethany House. (Bummer!) You see, ours isn’t a romance, it’s not historical, and it’s not really a mystery and those are the categories, which Bethany House is seeking.
Jeri asked Sarah about contemporary romance – where the romance drives the story, and Sarah agreed to look at it. After all these years of fighting romance and only turning out plot-driven romance, Bethany House has jumped on the band wagon. They are seeking contemporary romance. Hallelujah! Now there’s something I know how to write!
So what's the scariest editorial appointment you ever had a writer's conference or retreat?