I first started to tell you about my standalone novel idea, Wannabe Lifeguard on Duty (working title), probably about two years ago, around the time that Ablaze released. Two+ years between book releases is feeling like a really long time. So long you might think I’m not even writing anymore…but I am.
After tons of thoughtful consideration, I chose to indie publish my Off the Itinerary series. Indie publishing (aka self-publishing) has its pros, to be sure (and yes, it has cons, too). When you indie publish, you work at your pace, choose/design/help design your own cover, choose your editors, choose your release date, and learn so much more than you previously thought possible about writing, editing, and marketing.
Doing so much work yourself (formatting, buying ISBNs, calling librarians, assigning book categories, etc.) can be a huge load, but I don’t regret indie publishing. It’s such a learning process!
Partway through writing Wannabe Lifeguard on Duty, I started to feel a nudge to pitch it to agents. When I say a nudge, I’m not talking about an impulsive, “Ooh, I suddenly want to try this now!” feeling…more like, “I keep thinking that I should try to pitch this book to an agent.” So after lots of prayer, I decided to give it a go. Folks, you’ve never waited until you’re waiting to hear from an agent. Whew. Well, I take that back. It’s probably not as long as sending things through Congress, but waiting for an answer is so hard and my patience is definitely increasing out of necessity here.
My initial book proposal to a very credible agent was received with an upbeat, “I liked what I saw. Please send me your whole manuscript.” The neighbors probably heard my family and I whooping with joy when we received that mail, which occurred about 12 weeks after sending the proposal. The next step was sending in the whole manuscript, and I naively thought since the agent was interested, I’d probably hear back within the month. Ha. It’s been over six months and I still haven’t heard.
Six months. And while my impatient side is biting at the bit, saying, “This book could have been published and on the market months ago if I had indie published!”, I’m choosing to stay positive and trust that God has a reason for nudging me to pitch this to the agent, even if the main reason turns out to be that I learned how to wait.
And really, at this point, I probably won’t even cry if the answer is no, because it was SO exciting to receive positive feedback from the book proposal and just to have that is worth celebrating. Plus, if the answer is no, at least I’ll finally have heard back and can either pitch to another agent or indie publish and share this special YA Christian book with all of you. Between you and me, I think Anders and Jada (the main characters in Wannabe) are the best characters I’ve written so far (and I absolutely love Marlee and the other Off the Itinerary characters!), and I can’t wait to introduce Anders and Jada to you all. Well, I guess I have to wait. But I will continue to keep you all posted on Wannabe‘s progress, because really, I almost can’t wait to share it with readers!
So, what have I been doing while wait, wait, waiting? Well, there’s directing a homeschool group and homeschooling my kids, making sure my kids brush their teeth twice a day and practice their instruments, practicing my own instrument for special music at church, aaaaannnnddd……beginning a new WIP (work in progress).
This WIP is a blend of Christian adventure (like Off the Itinerary) and contemporary Christian character growth (like Wannabe). I don’t have a blurb yet, but the manuscript is up to 98 pages and counting. Here’s what I can tell you so far:
Ruby has grown up in her twin brothers’ shadow. The whole treasure diving community applauds her brothers and grandpa for finding the famous El Enrique, a sunken Spanish galleon that held a massive treasure. She and her best friend/diving buddy Cody spent hours researching another, more famous sunken galleon, Dos Hermanos. Until Cody died. Ruby hasn’t been searching for Dos Hermanos recently, but when the family’s nemesis Matias tries to convince Ruby to tell him what she knows about where Dos Hermanos might lie, the race is on. When Matias abducts her brothers and grandpa, Ruby takes it upon herself to find her family. Sure the cops are helping too, but Ruby would rather search on her own and beat Matias at his own game.
Along the way Ruby will learn the meaning of Matthew 6:19-21, the value of family (even if they were trying to find Dos Hermanos without her), and about forgiveness and healing.
The research for this book, which is only titled Shipwreck Novel so far, has been varied and interesting. As some of you know, I hadn’t been to an ocean until January (but I had been to all five Great Lakes, which are famous for shipwrecks!). I’d love to try snorkeling, but I don’t think I’d have the guts to try SCUBA, which is Ruby’s favorite activity. I haven’t flown in a small airplane, which Ruby gets to do. (Did you know YouTube has lots of recordings of pilots talking to air traffic control?) I’ve had dozens of obscure, specific questions about the police (for instance, “Can an undercover cop let a civilian ride along so he doesn’t look like an undercover cop?” and “Would a maritime police officer shoot at a plane that’s swooping down to get the cops’ attention if the maritime police boat is on its way to a crime?”)
It’s taken me awhile to build some momentum with Shipwreck Novel, but I think I’m on a roll now, which is always an exciting stage of the process! And who knows, maybe this book will be ready by the time I hear back from the agent about Wannabe Lifeguard on Duty. I’m trusting God that this long process of waiting will have its reasons 🙂
Thank you, awesome readers, for being soooo patient as you wait to read the characters I’ve been telling you about for forever and a day 🙂
Readers, what do you think about what I’ve shared regarding Wannabe and Shipwreck Novel? Which characters are you most excited to meet? What are your constructive tips for not obsessing over a response while waiting for a response? Post your positive comments below 🙂
5 thoughts on “I’m Still Writing (I Promise)”
Eekkk!!! I’m so so pumped for both your new books! Can’t wait! Prayerfully you hear back from the publisher soon.
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Ahhh, thank you so much, Virginia!
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Sorry you haven’t heard back from the agent yet. Your shipwreck novel sounds awesome! I love ships, ocean, treasure hunting, all of it. Keep writing!
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Thank you so much for your encouraging words!!