Okay, I’ll admit it: a few months ago, I told a little fib. In my post, “Feeling Some Envy? Great!! Get to Work,” I may have said something about not being very susceptible to jealousy. I only admitted to a few instances, and I overlooked a time when I was ripe with envy.
Several years ago, when I was fresh out of the Air Force Academy and making the decision to pursue a memoir, one of my friends who had done interviews in 2003 about her experiences there was being set up with a ghost writer. You see, my friend (whom I call “Becky” in CAGED EYES) had been on 20/20, and Larry King Live, and Good Morning America…and Oprah. One of Becky’s lawyers, Gloria Allred, set her up with a literary agent, who then set her up with a ghost writer.
Meanwhile, I wanted to tell my story too, but unfortunately, I couldn’t construct a sentence! As I mentioned in my very first post here on the Debutante Ball, I was a math girl to the core. Numbers always made sense to me, not words. So in order to write my book – sans ghost writer – I was going to have to learn the craft of creative writing. It didn’t take me long to realize that this would require years of dedication (and talented/patient mentors!).
Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful I did that work. I love being a writer today and I love that I was able to tell my story in my own words.
But back then I couldn’t anticipate any of those feelings. Back then I just wanted the work done for me. I wanted whatever path would potentially happen for Becky.
Becky’s memoir hasn’t materialized, at least not yet, and I’m thankful to TRAPPIST-1 and back (whops, my inner nerd is showing!) that mine is out in the world today.
Here’s the cool part, the serendipity part: Becky’s potential ghost writer was Helen Benedict. Helen’s editor is Gayatri Patnaik at Beacon Press. Do those names sound familiar? Out of all the editor’s in the publishing industry, I ended up with Gayatri as my very own!
When Beacon Press presented my agent and me with the publication offer, this connection helped. I knew I could trust Gayatri with my vulnerable work in part because Helen Benedict also trusted her.
The connection calms me, too. It gives me a sense that no matter how things had transpired for me, this story was always destined to be in Gayatri’s hands and with Beacon Press.