by Janis Patterson
I’m not a mother, but I can imagine what it’s like to send your child off to school the first day. Suddenly your world is never going to be the same – perhaps it will be better, or maybe worse, but it’s guaranteed it will be different. Your child is not altogether yours any more. Although nothing is quite so cosmic as something dealing with a child, there are other things equally wrenching.
A book, for example; in many ways books are like our children. We conceive them, carry them around (in our minds) for a while, then bring them into the world in a protracted and generally painful process. Then, when we have done all we can do, we must send them out into the world if they are to develop and prosper. First to editors, who all too often crush their spirit and try to remake them until our books fit their vision. It’s a painful process – and I must admit, all too often I’ve thought what a pity it is that it’s illegal to kill an editor. Many times it might even be considered a public service.
Mothers shouldn’t have favorite children – I don’t see how they could – but authors have favorite books, and I’ve just sent mine on the first step out into the world. This is a straight cozy mystery called A KILLING AT EL KAB. Yes, this is the book The Husband and I went to Egypt to research last year. It will be released in March, one year exactly from our time there. I’ve always loved archaeology and Egyptology, so that make this book special, but what makes it extra special to me is that I’ve pledged one quarter of the royalties will go to the El Kab dig house for restoration. (Yes, there really is a dig house at El Kab, and physically it’s exactly as I describe it in the book – the builder’s grave in the courtyard and all.) This house is a world treasure, and needs restoration.
Anyway, the book is finished to the best of my abilities and I sent it to my editor – the inimitable Laree Bryant – just a couple of days ago. It was not easy. I kept wondering if I should have done this or that… but I also know that too much tweaking can kill a book dead, making it dull and lifeless. I know Laree is a good editor, honest but gentle, and that my book will be safe and prosper in her hands, but still… It’s the first time I’ve let it go. Now it is free to go places and see people on its own, to reach into places I could only dream of, to take on a life of its own. My book will never again belong just to me again.
And even though it’s the right thing to do, my life will never be quite the same.
By the way, if you’re in the Bonham, Texas area on this coming Saturday, 6 February, thirteen wonderful romance authors and I will be featured at the Eighth Biennial “Romance in Bonham” panel discussion/reader event. It will be held from 11am to 1 pm at the Bonham Public Library, 305 E. 5th Street. Please come by if you can – it’s free, of course.