Friday, January 11, 2008

Children of the Waters

That's the working title for my novel in progress. I'll tell you the sales story of my story. My agent called me at work because Ballantine wanted to make an offer (there was already one on the table) for Orange Mint and Honey, but first they wanted to know if I had another book in me. They wanted a one-liner. I didn't have a great one-liner, but I had worked on a short pitch. Unfortunately, it was the ONE day in months I didn't have all my book stuff with me at work. Figures, right? So I winged it and this is what we sent and sold for a decent advance:

What happens when two half-sisters, one white and one black, separated by adoption, find each other? Billie and Trish have the same mother, but different fathers. Billie's was black. Trish's was white. Their mother was a wild child who brought Trish home for her mother to raise. When she brought Billie home, her mother refused to raise her black child. So Billie was put up for adoption and was adopted and raised by a black family. Trish was raised by her white grandmother. Told from both sisters' POV, Children of the Waters is a story about race, identity and what really makes a family.

This was actually my first novel. I hit 100 pages and got stumped and put it away. I started Orange Mint and Honey and got stumped when I hit 100 pages and realized that's just what happens when I hit the 100-page mark. So while Orange Mint was on submission, I pulled those original 100 pages out and read them. They weren't half bad. I still liked the premise and the characters. However, the story of what brings the two sisters together and what they do as they get to know each other has changed dramatically. (This is where my research comes in.) I'm at work on the second draft. The manuscript is due to my editor March 1 and will be published in spring 2009.

12 comments:

Gina Black said...

What a great premise. Looking forward to reading it when it comes out. :)

Bernice L. McFadden said...

Congrats!!

Larramie said...

Given the research, though, is one sister a bartender and the other...possibly a "lady of the evening?" Just imagining with what I know. ;)

Lisa said...

You don't know how reassuring this post is to me. There is something about getting a good distance into a WIP and then setting it aside (for all kinds of reasons) that makes me feel like a negligent mother! I was actively working on one WIP and had set aside another when I started the DC. I actually think all three of them could have potential, but have felt like a bad person for abandoning a first and setting aside a second. I love happy endings and I truly love Orange Mint and Honey (lucky me -- I got to read it) and can't wait for Children of the Waters :)

Jamey said...

i love, love, love the title. and any story of a novel selling warms my heart since i am in the sea of creation now. onward! it still amazes me how long it takes to get a book out...due in march, out next year...sigh...

Julie Layne said...

Your story sounds intriguing! Can't wait to read it...of course, can't wait for your first one, either. :-)

I'm with lisa on the reassurance about the stopping and starting. I am so close to finishing the first draft of my WIP (maybe 25 pages?) and yet it just wants to mull right now while my braing thinks about the next one. I'm nudging it to the finish line little by little.

Julie Layne said...

My braing... hehe!! I've invented a new organ. It's my "writing brain."

Carleen Brice said...

Thanks all.

Larramie, Ha. I may have mislead you. One sister is a preschool teacher the other is a vet tech.

Lisa, Glad I could be of some encouragement.

Jamey, Good to hear about the title. I've gone back and forth. We'll see if they keep it.

Julie, You're too close to give up now! Hang in there!

Sustenance Scout said...

Carleen, have to tell you I had a dream last night that I was watching a movie of your first book with a room full of my husband's family! I woke up and wasn't surprised at all, and I haven't even read it yet. Four weeks and counting to the big day!! I remember you talking about this new book and can't wait to read it, too! K.

Moanna said...

I love the title too. I'd read the book just to learn what it means.

Patry Francis said...

Great title and premise. It's amazing how much a piece of work "improves" when you set it aside for a while, and look on it with fresh eyes.

Carleen Brice said...

SS, I hope your dreams come true (in more ways than one)!

Moanna, Yay! Another vote for the title. Once the book gets further (farther?) down the road, I'll be blogging more about it. The title has an interesting origin.

Patry, Thanks for your vote of confidence! It's important to see many things with fresh eyes, no?