First a promotion note: Two other blogs have recently shared stories about the book. If you have the interest and the time to visit them, you’ll learn more about how Dulcy's memoir came to be.
· An author herself, Elisa Hirsch—The Crazy Life of a Writing Mom— invited me to write two guest postings about A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story. Yesterday’s details the actual channeling of the book, how it got published, and how I spent the royalties it earned. Today’s tells the story of how Dulcy and I met in March 1989.
· I beamed when I read the two reviews of Dulcy’s book that Inger Wiltz posted on her blog—Desert Canyon Living. In November she enthused over Dulcy’s story. This past Thursday she shared her excited response to the news that the book is now available.
Now let’s begin the ongoing saga of the next few postings.
Many of you have had books published or are in the throes of writing a book and seeking publication. Today’s publishing world differs greatly from that of twenty years ago when I found an editor who was willing to take a risk with Dulcy’s book. Yet some similarities still exist.
Beginning on July 8, 1989, I sat at the computer for an hour each morning. For two months, Dulcy remembered our life together. Ultimately I channeled over 65,000 words. I didn’t want to delete any of them; all seemed necessary. However, the manuscript was too long to be a gift book. The truth is—Dulcy was wordy. Reluctantly, I donned my editor’s cap and cut her verbiage to 44,000 words.
The manuscript was now, I thought, in “great shape.” So for the next six months I sent out numberless queries. With no Internet, this was done by “snail mail.” Months passed while my query letters moldered in slush piles.
Finally, an editor at a prestigious Boston publishing house requested the manuscript. Almost immediately she rejected it with the terse comment, “Not for us.” All the other editors I queried simply sent back form rejection letters. While I remained undaunted, a question niggled: Was the manuscript perhaps not in as great a shape as I’d thought?
To find out, I sent it to ten friends. All, knowing how Dulcy’s loss had devastated me, tempered their critiques. All that is except for two friends who thought I deserved the truth of their response. One advised me to place the manuscript in a safety-deposit box, leave it there for five years, and then retrieve it to see if it contained anything of value. The other chanted, “Bor-ing! Bor-ing! Bor-ing!” when I asked for an opinion of the writing.
I refused to accept their judgment. Months earlier, as Dulcy paused in channeling her memories, I stood, took a turn around the room, stopped by the kitchen window, and spoke aloud. “This book’s going to be published,” I heard myself say. “And it’s going to be published by Crown. And it’s going to touch many people’s lives.”
All three predictions ultimately came true: Crown published Dulcy’s memoir and it did, indeed, touch many lives. The letters I received bear witness to that.
But before that, a Seattle friend asked a momentous question: What had Natasha, Dulcy's mother, purred that made her so determined to turn me into a one-cat woman?
I wondered myself until Dulcy surprised me with a series of poems for her memoir. They explained many aspects of her response to me and to our life. My taskmaster had given her handmaiden orders—type these poems! I did.
Next Tuesday, I’ll share the story of finding the editor who offered me a contract.
(Continued on Tuesday . . . )