For eight days (from the 2nd through the 9th), I was immersed in the line edits of Return to Me. See my post "edit neck" for a little more about line edits. Now they’re done.
It felt so good to wrap up the edit on Thursday morning and email the last file back to my editor. Best of all was her response, after she’d gone through the manuscript one final time, reading my changes and additions: "As for your changes, they were great! I think this is a powerful, engaging story, so well done."
I don’t know if it’s true of all writers, but it’s true of me. I need to hear those little Attagirls. I love to write fiction, I love to tell stories, but I’m never sure if what was so clear in my head made itself clear in the pages of my manuscript. And so I’m glad to get those words of confirmation and affirmation from someone I trust.
The idea for Return to Me began to gel in December 2004 while I was on a media tour to the Midwest, talking about my novel Beyond the Shadows and the hope God offers those who love an alcoholic. The television studio in Illinois where I would have my first interview the next day was located way out in the boonies. I was dropped off at my hotel by the car service hired by my publisher. The hotel — a Hampton Inn, I believe — wasn’t near restaurants or, for that matter, civilization. So I was pretty much stuck there, me and my laptop. The next morning, with a few hours to kill, I sat down at the desk to play with an idea I’d been dancing around for about a week, and what came to me was this:
It’s time to go home.
Roxanne Burke had given Nashville seven years to discover her. She’d offered her voice, her face, her fortune—and eventually, her body—but despite her desperate grasps at the brass ring, country music and stardom didn’t want her.
Roxy was worse than a has-been. She was a never-was.
I’ve gotta go home.
I was caught up in Roxy’s story from that moment on. I scribbled away, capturing the ideas about this prodigal daughter and her perfect sister so that they would all be there waiting for me when I could actually begin work on this novel. And now, two years later, it is written, revised, and line edited, the cover designed, back cover and catalog copy ready. Next up is the waiting (in addition to more editing and proofing that will come after the first of the year) for its release in the summer of 2007.
While I wait, I have one novella to finish and two other books to write. And so it goes.
P.S. You can read an excerpt from Return to Me in the back of A Carol for Christmas (which tells the story of Roxy’s parents and their first Christmas as newlyweds).