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Posts Tagged ‘novel’

whdh

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

It’s official.  My bio is up on WHDH‘s website, so I’m officially part of the team.  I can’t tell you how super excited I am about being back here in Boston.

To be honest I didn’t think I’d be back.  After the first winter in Charlotte, which was sunny and gorgeous, hubby and I kind of thought we’d never leave the South.  We imagined my next career move could take us to Atlanta or we’d just stay in Charlotte forever; we didn’t contemplate a move back to the Northeast.  I even donated almost all of my winter coats and most of my snow gear.  We were done with snow.

Then came the call to come up for three months.  The station needed some freelance reporters to fill in as two reporters were out on maternity.  I hesitated.  I didn’t want to move back, live with friends and work at a station that was once competition (I’d worked at the Fox affiliate from 2003-2006).  We had dear friends here in Charlotte and while on sabbatical, I had finished my first novel, volunteered a ton, and took improv classes.  I was happy.  But I missed working.  So I took the assignment with this in mind, I’ll hate it and know I’m done with news or I’ll have some new, updated stories for my resume reel.  But it didn’t take long for me to remember why I loved reporting in a big market; stories of national and international significance were constantly happening.  I was covering the police raid of the accused Time Square bomber’s Connecticut home.  I was standing outside the Garden as the Celtics attempted another championship.  I interviewed a concert violinist who left her instrument on a transit trolley, only to have it returned.  Even with all that, I still hesitated when the station offered me a full time position.

I thought I wanted to pursue my news anchoring dreams more.  I thought I wanted to focus on my fiction writing.  I thought I might try something outside of TV news.  But in the end, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else but telling peoples’ stories; using their words,  my words, my photographer’s video.

While at WHDH during those three temporary months, I gained new perspective, saw a new opportunity, and regained my love of TV news.  Ultimately, what I found was a new place to call home.

Written

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I started writing in February 2009.  I boarded a plane bound for Los Angeles with my computer loaded with two movies.  I usually read on flights, but the laptop movie thing was new to me so I was pumped – 5 hours will pass in a blink of two romantic comedies.

I settled into my seat, paid handsomely for a beer and started up my movie.  I was ready to be lulled into my new flight plan.

You know where this is going right… if not… let’s just say my laptop failed me.  I could see the movie but I couldn’t hear a thing.  I was internally hurling obscenities at the screen! (Mainly because cursing out loud on a plane could have me arrested and there were children onboard.)

Faced with nothing but the SkyMall catalog and the USAirways Magazine, with its crosswords puzzles already vandalized, I was left to my own devices for 5 full hours.  No book, no magazine, no music (see earlier description of loss of audio)!  Just me and my wandering mind.

After several minutes of panic (let’s just say I need constant entertainment and engagement, that idle is not a good word for me) I thought about a hilarious story my friend, we’ll call him Tyler, told me.  He’d just taken a trip with his father to visit a dying uncle.  While there he was reintroduced to his aunt, whom he hadn’t seen in decades, and he couldn’t decide if she was crazy, eccentric or ill. 

Tyler is a successful gay man who’s been with his partner for decades.  While his relationship with his deeply religious father is completely loving today, it was not always like that.  I envisioned a story unfolding; one of love, reconciliation and deep family secrets.  I centered it around Tyler’s trip with his father to see his dying uncle.

I wrote feverishly until the flight attendants told me to discontinue the use of my portable electronic device, to make sure my tray table was stowed and my seatback was in the upright and locked position.

Those first 15 pages turned into 210.  I finished writing my first novel, Fix You, right before Christmas.  By the end of January I was done with my first rewrite and was ready to send this baby out in search of a literary agent.

To date, I’ve queried five literary agents.  Yesterday, I got one of my first rejections.  Even though my writing mentor, Bob, tells me it’s all part of the process… it doesn’t take away much of the sting.  It’s rejection and who likes that? 

Dear Susan:

Thanks so much for sending your query – I appreciate the chance to take a look at your project, and do hear how much you loved Garth’s books.  I’m sorry to say, though, that I’m going to step aside instead of asking to read more – as much as I wanted to, I just didn’t fall in love enough with the opening page of the manuscript that you included.

Please bear in mind that everybody has different tastes and interests – my decision is based on my present work-load, and also based on the kind of material that I’m presently representing.  That said, keep in mind that this is a crazily subjective business: I absolutely think you should keep looking for representation because what works for one agent (or publisher) may not work as well for another. I’m afraid, though, that I cannot recommend someone for it.

Very best of luck!

Jeff Kleinman
Folio Literary Management

I read, reread, and then read the letter again and finally decided that it was fair.  I’ve long been concerned about the start of the story, that it was not how I wanted it exactly but it’s part of what I had toiled on for a year. 

Being the über mentor, Bob gave me some simple suggestions to fix what I didn’t like.  I’m going to work on that and see how it goes.  Maybe in another couple of months, I’ll have a better beginning to my story and better yet, a literary agent willing to get it published.