The being published hoopla ebbed by the spring of 1993. That summer I tried to create another manuscript from the happenings I’d cut. The ideas I tried out left me with a story that had no suspense; no glue holding it together.
Then I came up with the idea of Dulcy using these deleted stories to teach other felines how to find bliss. The material easily divided itself into twelve instructive lessons for cats. I followed each of these with a reflection for humans.
Jane Meara, however, turned down the manuscript. “There’s no thread holding it together,” she said. “No drive compelling me to read beyond the first story.” Since then, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to find an agent interested in the manuscript. No go.
This July, twenty years will have passed since Crown offered me a contract for Dulcy book. During that time, I’ve written three other cats books—one with my sister-in-law—but I’ve been unable to drum up interest in them. So I’m at a standstill.
Perhaps the thing to do is to make e-books out of them. I’m not sure. Promoting an e-book takes more technical know-how then I have. So this year will see me making a final effort to find an agent to represent my work.
In these intervening years, I’d done some work for hire. That is, I was paid a fee to write books for which I received no royalty. Capstone, a children’s publishing house in Mankato, Minnesota, hired me to write twenty-four books for primary learners.
Twelve of the books explain the work of community helpers.
Four explore the nature of oceans, mountains, rain forests, and deserts. I wrote these books using my first name (Anna) and my mother’s maiden name (O’Mara).
Eight describe the workings of vehicles like trucks, school buses, and motorcycles.
In addition, I wrote two books for middle graders on the Revolutionary War: one on the Boston Massacre and one on the Battle of Yorktown.
Also, in the past twenty years, I’ve completed a novel on first-century Palestine and the first third of a novel on Bronze-Age Greece. Both required months of research, much of which I promptly forgot. Finally, I’ve written a first draft of a novel about four ex-nuns.
From 1984 to 2001, I earned my living as a freelance editor and curriculum developer and wrote my own manuscripts by setting aside an hour each morning. Since 2001, I’ve taken on one or two freelance projects a year. But as I explained in a December posting, I now want to concentrate solely on my own writing. While writing, I’ll look for an agent to represent my work. I’ve never succeeded with this before but I continue to believe “Nothing ventured; nothing gained.”
It’s time to start again and to discover if, at the age of 75, I can become the “Grandma Moses” of books. She was 78 when her art was discovered. Perhaps, I, too, might find success in my seventies. If not, then I’ll simply enjoy the craft of placing one word by another and creating a cadence that entices the mind and the heart into the lyrics of a story.
That is enough. It is more than enough.