There’s a scene in the movie HOOK where a tiny Julia Roberts is in her Tinkerbell house sulking over the fact that Peter got his wish and has discovered who he really is. He can fly now, and he remembers everything he’d forgotten about his life as a Lost Boy.
As he is begging Tink to come out of her house and play with him, a fairy-sized Julia Roberts suddenly explodes into a grownup-sized Tinkerbell.
Tink is utterly amazed, not so much at her transition from small to big, but at the fact that she got the single wish she’d been wishing for thirty years. Then she delivers that one line that made me suck in my breath because it said everything I’d kept to myself when it came to my writing.
June 22 I leave for New York Pitch Conference (newyorkpitchconference.com) to sell my novel(s.) This is the only wish I’ve ever wished for myself (Except for that time when I stayed up til midnight on my 30th birthday because I was totally convinced I was going to win the Florida Lottery.)
What this means is, I go sit for three days to learn how to pitch my novel to a bunch of real life editors from real life publishing houses. What follows sounds like a sadistic new game show–You’re going to try to sell your novel to these four publishers. You have four minutes to do it. GO! That’s the scary part, but as a consolation prize, I get to momentarily bypass the seemingly impossible task of finding another literary agent.
In 2002, Jane Jordan Browne signed me after a couple of rewrites of SEPARATE WAYS. If an agent is the equivalent of a literary soul mate, Jane was mine. She loved my writing, and, even though she was a California girl who just happened to live in Chicago, she got me and my Southernness. She was the perfect agent, and then she died.
One of the last things she said to me was that my day would come. All these years later, I still miss her, and not just because she wanted to sell my books. I miss her Julia Child’s voice and hearing about her farm in Wisconsin she loved so much. I miss her wisdom, her laugh, and that special connection that came with her choosing me as one of her authors. I hope I find another agent who will love me like Jane did.
Maybe I’ll get lucky and actually sell my novel to one of the publishers at the pitch conference. If that happens, they give you a magic list of willing agents; it’s the equivalent of going to the agent patch and picking one versus the demeaning process that writers are forced to go through.
So, here I come, New York. Well and in the words of Tinkerbell–It’s the only wish I’ve ever wished for myself, and it’s a really big wish.