The fun part about being in a parade is that you get to see the spectators. The only drawback is that you miss the parade. But this year was definitely worth missing the other entries because Marsha and I participated with “Grandpa’s Book Buddies,” our ten grandchildren!
Our float (promoting The Anniversary Waltz) may have been small in comparison to the professional commercial ones, but it was big in the excitement it generated in our family. We worked for hours to decorate it. But nothing prepared me for the thrill of driving the parade route with our ten grandchildren aboard and laughing as they picked up candy by the handful and shouted to the crowd, “If you want some candy, make some noise!” Surprisingly, it was the adults who cheered the loudest!
After the parade, I held a book signing, and it turned out to be my most successful one to date. I was deeply touched by the show of hometown support.
Funny how seemingly small things can make such a big difference in the end.
I had spent several years writing a novel and had contacted dozens upon dozens of agents regarding representation. To no avail. Rejection slips piled up in quantities sufficient to wallpaper our living room. I decided to shelve the manuscript and chalk it up to the fact that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Shortly after this decision, my wife and I visited our son and his family, who live in in Salt Lake City, Utah. He mentioned that he had recorded a Glen Beck interview with Richard Paul Evans. My son knew I had read all of Mr. Evans’s books and would be interested in the interview.
During the interview, I was impressed by Mr. Evans’s account of the adversities he had faced in his own life and how he was working through them. No one is free from challenges, he explained. As the interview continued, a determination came over me not to give up. Not to shelve the manuscript and chalk it up to a “learning experience.” I decided right then and there to rework the manuscript once more and try again.
When I returned to our home in Alberta, Canada, I did just that. I spent six months rewriting the manuscript and trying to instill in my characters the courage and determination that inspired me that day as I watched the interview.
After completing the manuscript, I sent out another batch of letters of inquiry to agents. Within two hours, an agent contacted me to say she loved the story and wanted to sign me to a contract.
After a journey of years, The Anniversary Waltz was finally published in May of 2012 and is receiving encouraging reviews. My second novel is scheduled to come out in the spring of 2013, and I am negotiating another two-novel contract at this time.
And to think it almost didn’t come about.
Thank you, Richard Paul Evans. If not for your interview, my manuscripts would be sitting on the shelf, collecting dust—a shelf labeled “What Might Have Been.”
I am a schoolteacher by profession and a writer at heart. I have always loved to write, be it stories, poems, songs, or novels.