A Little Bit About Me
My mind is kaleidoscopic: bits of color here, a sparkle there, thousands of pieces of potential. Mostly, though, it’s rough terrain without much navigable or visual continuity. I struggle with indecision and ambivalence, incessantly fraught with the desire to do “this” just as much as “that,” and ultimately become so terribly overwhelmed with choosing the correct answer, that I bury myself under “neither.” The process goes something like this: thinking, thinking, thinking . . . idea! Bad idea. Throw idea out. Thinking, thinking, thinking, exhausted, snuggled around a bag of pita chips in bed. Somehow, though you might not believe until you see it, a book snuck its way out of that mess. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are.
Awakening Foster Kelly
Well . . . I suppose it all started on a whim. No, not that kind. As far back as I can recall (which is about 3 years), there were no helpful domesticated birds, and the only sagacious crickets were the ones in my head, chirping in the absence of great writing. Though I will say that, in order for this to happen, more than one set of stars needed to align. Those stars remain to be God’s providence, my husband, a sweet pup who faithfully adds stentorian background noise while I write, and a handful of people that will see their name in the first few pages of this book.
What is this book about?
. . . I don’t know of a single writer who has ever answered this question to their satisfaction. If you do, please have them contact me. A handsome award awaits them for sharing any tips, suggestions, advice, or the like. When I attempt to “sum up” AFK, it’s as if my clothes have suddenly grown too tight, and I start to itch some. Truly, I hope to never be filmed or recorded answering this question. I assure you, it will be more painful for you than for me. In short, however, this book is about first love. It is my belief that there is nothing more powerful than one’s first real true love. And even if you don’t end up marrying that person, you never, ever forget the one you loved first. The experience is indelibly written into the heart. I should mention, too, that about a kabillon other events happen along the way. See what I mean? I can’t do it. The story is about a girl. A girl, like so many others, who doesn’t quite understand how special she is. The story . . . is Foster’s.
Where are you in the publishing process?
So, I will assume you have already read the “Is there anything else we should know” portion of this page. If not, I suggest you do, as it pertains to this particular update. Go on, I’ll wait for you.
Over this past summer I spent hours, days, and weeks writing and rewriting the BOTB (Back of the book) blurb, synopsis, and drafting up several queries, even seeking out the guidance of a published author. Looking back, I have no regrets; did I compose a query so stunningly magnificent that I had agents of all genres littering my lawn like pink flamingos? No. But I do believe what I submitted was good. Above average, to be sure. Authors, if only for your own sanity, get to that point before sending out one single query. I made the impulsive mistake of sending a few that I felt iffy about, and when the rejection appeared in my inbox, I couldn’t help but question the query. Eventually I did arrive to what I feel was the best version, and with confidence continued to submit. And still the rejections rolled in, one after another. This was expected. I had prepared for this. But, how should I put this? . . . Preparing for a rejection of a 4 year endeavor is like preparing to have your leg sawed off. Preparation aids and counts for many, many things. Rejection is not one them. I received my fair share of form-letters, but among them was also a reoccurring theme; one that caused me much distress and vacillation. Whether it was a caustic response out of pure, flabbergasted shock, or a sincere but unequivocal “You’re out of your da%n mind,” it was clear to me that the length of my story repelled every single agent. Every one. They should name a bug-repellent after me, I think . . . I digress.
So, I had a decision to make, clearly: 1) find a way to decrease the word count. 2) split the novel. 3) keep the length as is, and do this thing on my own. Ultimately, with the wisdom and obstinance of a very special husband, we opted for a coalition between 1 and 3; however, I wanted no part in this; it would be much too painful deciding what stayed and what would perish at the fatal red line. My editor — dear sweet man — took on this task, and did so with judicious acuity. It’s never easy losing any of the words that find their way onto the page, because they are important; but importance is a one hued spectrum, where the color begins leeched and fair, then proceeds to dark. The closer one can get to the richness, the better off the book will be. Still, after all was said and done, the novel reads at approximately 790 pages, a daunting book by any standards, though most especially for the YA market. Voracious readers might appreciate something of that magnitude, but the majority of teens want mostly to be taken on a quick, action packed ride. I didn’t write that book. And I am not willing to cow to the market. I believe in literature, real literature, and it is only my opinion that real literature does not happen in 215 pages.
And so, this is where I am today: the book in its entirety has been read and reviewed by a reader and writer I admire, and currently rests in the hands of 3 people I know and trust with taste, literature, and grammar. The book design is complete, and gorgeous if I may be so bold to say, this credit going to Mr. Michael Olsen himself. Once we are given back the book, we will then make appropriate changes and step prayerfully into marketing ourselves. The rest . . . is up to Him.
Thanks for journeying with me. It’s always a pleasure.
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Is there anything else we should know?
When I open a book for the first time, I am holding my breath; my heart is clenched in the hope that I will be carried away before I’ve yet to realize I’ve begun reading. Truthfully, this happens very rarely. I can count on one hand the authors who fulfill every respective wish and desire I have for fiction literature. With that in mind, I set out to compose a book rich and vivid in prose, a book which ignites the senses and spellbinds the heart. Did I do it? I don’t know. We’ll see.
Thank you for coming by today. I look forward to hearing from you. Please feel free to ask any questions, and I will do my best to answer them. In the meantime, until this book is available, please enjoy learning a bit about my characters in their bios. Pictures and music were instrumental is the incipience of Awakening Foster Kelly. That, and a whole lot of magic.
~ Cara R. Olsen