That path was long and winding and involved more than a few tears. It included four years of writing and rewriting, a year of subbing, several workshops, a fun and exciting online contest, and lots and lots of rejections.
The part I want to talk about here, though, was one of the most painful parts of the process: a dreaded agent break-up.
For about five years, I’d had an agent. She was a fantastic agent, with one of the top children’s and young adult literary agencies in the business, and she represented some of my all-time favorite authors. Prior to THE FUNERAL SINGER, she’d signed with me for a middle grade mystery that went out on submission but never sold.
I was so nervous to send her THE FUNERAL SINGER. I hadn’t sent her anything in years. Would she like it? Would she want revisions? How extensive?
My heart pounded when I saw her name pop up in my email. I’ll never forget it. I was sitting at a stoplight on my way to work. I opened the email … and my heart dropped. She thanked me for sending the manuscript but indicated she did not plan to send it out. I was welcome to submit future work.
That was it? After four years of writing and re-writing, I was supposed to put it in a drawer and start the next one?
(An aside for all of you who work in an office: You know when your receptionist tells you she thinks you should go home, you were crying a little too loudly in your office. Yes, I cried. A lot.)
What would I do? I didn’t want to let my manuscript die based on one person’s opinion. It deserved better than that. But, this was a person whose opinion I respected. And as much as I hated to admit it, I knew my pride would take a blow. I loved having such a respected agent. For years I’d been able to take encouragement in knowing she’d picked me, out of all the writers out there, to represent. I was so proud to tell people she was my agent.
Now it would be back to square one. Quite a humbling moment.
But I did it. I exchanged some emails and had a great phone call with her, and ultimately made the decision to move on and try to find another home for THE FUNERAL SINGER.
As soon as I made the decision, I felt a sense of relief and hope. I didn’t know where, how, or even if my manuscript would find a home, but I was going to give it the chance it deserved.
One year, one major revision, and one contest later, I got another email. Again, my heart pounded. I opened it expecting yet another rejection, but the first line of the email made my head spin. I had to read again. And again. Then I had to read it to my husband to make sure it meant what I thought it meant.
“Hello, Linda. Thanks so much for sending us THE FUNERAL SINGER! We loved it and think it would make a wonderful addition to our list at Swoon Romance.”
Sometimes you have to swallow your pride, step off your cloud, and take a risk. And sometimes you find your happily ever after.
Seventeen-year-old Melanie Martin has witnessed her share of lame eulogies and uninspired epitaphs while singing part-time at her dad’s funeral home. She’s determined to be more than a funeral singer, more than just someone’s “beloved wife” or “loving mother.”
When Mel’s impromptu rendition of “Amazing Grace” at a local rock star’s graveside service goes viral on YouTube, she becomes an Internet sensation, gains thousands of fans and followers, and snags a hot rock star boyfriend–Zed Logan, bass player for The Grime.
But instant fame isn’t easy—and neither is love. Especially when Mel realizes she’s falling for another guy—one who may just want her heart more than her voice.
Buy Links for The Funeral Singer
I live in Northern Virginia with my amazing husband, Joe, and our feisty chihuahua, Demitria (also known as Dee Dee, The Puppy, and Killer).
I grew up in a tiny town called West Grove, in southeastern Pennsylvania. In the second grade, I announced to my parents that I wanted to be a “Paperback Writer,” just like in the Beatles song. I majored in journalism in college and now work in marketing and communications.
I’m a sucker for romance and reality TV and have been known to turn off my phone’s ringer when watching “The Bachelor.”
My favorite flower is the daisy, my favorite food is chocolate, and my favorite song is “Amazing Grace.”
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