I’m grateful for so many things in my writing journey. My supportive husband. My critique groups. My mom, of course. Not everyone gets to be Donita K. Paul’s daughter. Conferences. People like Susan May Warren and Jeff Gerke who write books that help me figure out what I’m doing.
Most recently, I’ve found myself thanking God for my agent. He inherited me after my former agent moved, and at first I thought, “But he’s a guy! He won’t understand my out-of-the-box romantic novels!”
After a meeting here and an email there and a few phone conversations sprinkled throughout, I realized two things about the guy I call Secret Agent Man.
1. He is, above all, supportive of my writing.
2. He quotes Shakespeare in every day conversation.
He has other great qualities too, including a background in marketing, keen instincts, and superfly Clark Kent glasses, but it’s the above two characteristics I find most reassuring.
The first is self-explanatory, but you might be wondering about the second. Or, maybe you also majored in English and right now you’re saying, “Oh yeah, if an agent quoted MacBeth to me, I’d feel totally at ease.”
It isn’t really love for the bard that feeds my confidence, but rather my agent’s appreciation for the classics, for high-blown themes, and graceful language—for everything Shakespeare’s work encapsulates. Those concepts feed my soul, even if my mind lives on the literary equivalent of fast food.
For the past two months, Secret Agent Man and I have been piecing together a proposal for my WIP, The Immortal Heathcliff. I’ll be honest with you, the process was somewhat laborious. I don’t know many writers who adore writing synopses, summaries, and market analyses. I was relieved in September when we had most of the pieces in place. Then Secret Agent Man tossed me a curve ball.
“Let’s put together a book trailer,” he said in his most non-threatening Clark Kent voice.
“Now?” I asked, sure I’d misunderstood. Weren’t book trailers for already published works? It seemed presumptuous to create one to go out with my proposal.
Secret Agent Man assured me all the kids were doing it, so I went home and handed the project over to my computer geek husband. It crashed two computers, cost nearly $200, and ate up our evenings for more than a month, but the end result is eye-popping.
I sent it off to Secret Agent Man and he loved it!
“We’re good to go now,” I thought.
Then Secret Agent Man emailed, “Why don’t we make a page on the Brontës to go with the proposal?”
I banged my head against the wall, then tried to say something brilliant about the Brontës that hadn’t already been said a million times. I failed, of course. But Secret Agent Man came to the rescue, formatting our page into a Q&A and supplying me with interesting questions to answer.
I handed it in and held my breath. I figured next he’d ask me to dress up as Emily Brontë and make a clip for YouTube. But, to my delight, he pronounced us ready to move and sent out the book trailer and query.
Our work paid off. No, I don’t have a contract yet, but we’ve had lots of positive feedback on the extras we put in the proposal. I’m so thankful Secret Agent Man understands the classic themes that drive my passion to write and also knows exactly what tools will clarify my sometimes less-than-focused interpretation.
And if he asks me to don Victorian clothes and talk about Wuthering Heights into a camera, I probably will, but only if he wears a black suit and sunglasses and stands behind me with a walkie-talkie.
Evangeline Denmark has co-authored two children’s books, The Dragon and the Turtle (available now) and The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari (available 1-11-11) and also writes adult fiction. While less cultured than most Austen Addicts, she enjoys a classic love story and a cup of Chai tea. You can find Evangeline online at http://www.breathenbreatheout.blogspot.com and http://www.dragonandturtle.com