A book that started out with a "what-if" premise, it also has the distinction of being the first book I wrote back in the early 1990s, when my kids were small and I was a secretary for a brokerage house, and I decided that finally I would try to get my work published. Before my YA books, before my romance novels and Christian inspirational novels, before my short stories published by the confessions magazines, I wrote a Christian novel entitled Crystal Waves, which was roughly about 320 pages long (about 80,00 words, I believe). Someone back at the time suggested I send it to an agent in Texas, a man I'd never heard of before, but remember--I was a total newbie at the time, a complete tenderfoot tossing my hat into the ring. There were a lot of people I'd never heard of. Neither did I think of researching the person to whom I was trusting my work.
Eventually, I was repped by two terrific agents whom I'm proud to have worked with: Jean Price, who is no longer in the business, and Meredith Bernstein of New York. Today I work on my own. This guy, whoever he was, basically kept my book for months on end (though I suspect he just tossed it upon arrival, even though it had been sent with a SASE), and when I worked up the nerve to call him he callously said, "Oh, did I not send that back to you? I'll do that."
He never sent it back. Surprise! Boy, do I miss those days now as a self-pubbed author. Not. Anyway, that's okay. At least I had enough common sense to keep the original, which was written on Multimate. (Yes, it goes back THAT far.)
Crystal Waves then languished in my drawer for a while. In the meantime, I received rejection after rejection on other books and stories, like most new authors Back in the Day of Traditional Publishing, with my YA projects that almost made it but then ultimately didn't. I lost faith in the project and then eventually was published in other genres including romance. At one point, I deep-sixed the floppy on which the book was written and the original hard copy, believing it was just an early work with no potential and no prospects of ever being published. Besides, I was finally a "pubbed" writer who'd found some measure of (slim) success as a midlist author working in other genres.
In recent years as an indie publisher, I've been able to come back to my roots: the Christian/inspirational and mainstream genres. It's been a real pleasure to work on two series, namely Larkspur Valley and now my current series, Joyful Noise. With two books done and one to go in that series, I found myself remembering my "firstborn" baby, Crystal Waves.
I believe the Lord put that on my heart, to remember this what-if story, this big, sprawling novel with a big cast that includes--well, I'm getting ahead of myself.
But I couldn't publish the book. I threw it out, floppy disk and all. I've even gotten rid of computers that USE floppy disks. Besides, it had its share of warts, as most First Books.
Which means the book would have to be rewritten...from scratch.
With a 54-year-old writer's memory, no less.
Much of the book is lost to me. Again, it's been years since I first wrote it. I remember key points, even parts that I KNEW wouldn't fly (and have since been eliminated from this new version). And yet the desire to rewrite and publish the book, to share it with my readers, became stronger and stronger.
So I am now rewriting Crystal Waves. Every author, I believe, has a Beloved But Forgotten Book. This is mine.
I'm writing it with the skill I've gained over the years, which I didn't have as a tenderfoot. I'm writing it not timidly or with the will-it-ever-see-the-light-of-day fears of an unpubbed author, but rather with confidence and with love. I could leave it there, in the Past, in the Revolving File, with all the newer irons I have in the fire.
Yet there is something to be said about something that was forgotten by the world, even by the "parent", that is resurrected and is given a second chance, that truly makes me want to return each day to work on this project and to nurture it and see it to the words THE END.
I'm hoping to publish Crystal Waves sometime in late October or early November, depending on its length, which will determine not only its writing but editing time frames.
Now to any authors out there...have any forgotten babies out there you need to take a second look at?