So there I was, in San Antonio, at an SCBWI (www.scbwi.org) conference, trying to concentrate on the various lectures and workshops, and all the time wondering whether Alyssa would like Faithful.
I walked into the room in a state of anxiety, only to have Alyssa seem so excited to see me - her first words were (to this effect), "I love this book!"
You could have knocked me over with a feather. I spent the rest of my ten minute critique in a fog. She asked to see the entire manuscript when she took her new job as agent about 6 weeks later. Of course, the second I walked out of the room I knew I was in for a lot of work - the manuscript was far, far from finished.
But I sweated to get it whipped into shape for her. And about a week before it was "due" (which is what I like to think about my window of opportunity), I was only halfway there.
I called my writer friends - Kathy Whitehead and Shirley Hoskins, and Kathi Appelt and Debbie Leland - and the advice I got was: "send what you have. Just send what you have. Don't wait, or that window might close." So I sent half a novel.
And Alyssa loved it, and was happy to wait until January for the rest, and she signed me as a client in January of 2007.
But the story doesn't quite end there...