Sunday, February 21, 2010

When an agent genuinely believes in you...

I've written fiction for the last eight years. But only be default. I wrote fiction because no publishing house would take my non-fiction. Non-fiction was what I really wanted to write. I wanted to be known for books that changed people's lives, gave them principles for living. Instead, I ended up writing a fiction book about crazy southern people and rigged beauty pageants where women tape their boobs and spray their butts. Not actually the profound impact I was going for. So, once Savannah from Savannah was published fiction simply seemed to be where life would land for me.
I did try a couple times through the years to get a non-fiction book published from a Bible Study I had taught. But again, the rejections piled up and the fiction opportunities were the only one availing themselves to me. It seemed I was going to be destined to write about certifiable characters and southern settings.
But a couple years ago things changed. After thirteen years of marriage I walked through a heart breaking divorce. During that season I walked away from a new three-book fiction book deal and from all of the teaching that I was doing and plunged head long into the healing of my heart. And a big piece of that healing came from journaling my journey. Each day I poured out the pain in my heart, the joy of new discoveries and the fear of all of the unknowns of my new life.
As my heart began to heal I decided I would see what fiction was still inside of me. My agent got me a new fiction deal but at one of our lunches he asked, "Would you be willing to try to publish your journals?"
"Excuse me?"
"You've walked this journey in a beautiful way. I think people could benefit from how you've lived this out."
"Excuse me?"
"Is that a no?"
"My personal journals? The pain of my divorce? Let people read that?"
"You're already doing that on your blog for singles. Why not let's just pitch it and see what happens."
I had tried to get non-fiction published and now something that was never meant to be a book, that held my deepest pain and darkest places my agent was asking me to unfurl for someone else to peruse through. "I don't know if I can do it."
"Just think about it. I think it could be life changing."
About six months later I sat down with my old journals and began to see if I could form a story out of my outbursts of emotion. Four months ago I received an offer for my first fiction book. A book never meant to be a book. Flying Solo: A journey of divorce and healing with a very present God will come out in January of next year.
For almost twelve years I've tried to get non-fiction published. What will finally come out would have never been anything I would have wanted to go through or would have planned on sharing. But because my agent saw something in my journey worth telling, because he genuinely believed in what I had to offer, something my heart has desired for years is finally a reality. Everyone should be so blessed to have an agent like I do...sounds trite I know. But nonetheless true.
Denise Hildreth makes her home in Nashville, Tennessee with her two shih-tzu's. She enjoys good friends, good food and Coca-Cola and every now and then she writes a few books. "Flying Solo"


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you had to go through such a painful time, but it very much makes me want to read your book because I'm sure its full of insights that will help others. Thanks for being so brave.

Karin Gillespie said...

Hi Denise,

I'm sp sorry to hear about your divorce. Cudos to you for sharing your story.


TOM said...
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