I contacted my wonderful editor, Beth Bruno, about “The Schneebelis Go to America” (working title). I knew something was missing and, deep down, I knew what, but I didn’t want to write it. Sometimes…
I didn’t even know if the book said what I was trying to say — it’s been a tough one to write as the protagonist is unsympathetic, and the destination was not one I would choose. But when I looked at it earlier this spring I saw it is a good story, the people seemed real to me (after months of not looking at it) and I wanted to give my Aunt Dickie the last wish she expressed to me, “Keep telling the story of my mother’s family.”
So I asked for help.
An editor your hire is your ally. Beth has worked with me on two books — Savior and The Brothers Path. We’ve worked on my manuscripts at all levels. I knew if she could see what I am doing, she would support that. If it wasn’t clear to her, she’d let me know. A good editor is a skillful reader.
Today I heard from her. I am so happy I contacted her. She read what I hoped to write.
…this is a touching story about family with its focus on marriage and how two people in love can still find it impossible to move ahead because their life goals are so different. Love doesn’t conquer all after all. They explore difficult issues of love, loyalty, compromise and taking risks at various choice points in their lives.The reason I think it deserves a longer ending that allows the story to develop further is that I don’t think enough happens after the family reaches America to give the reader some sense of whether the trip was worth it or not. The fact that their passage wound up being on a death ship only makes letting the survivors cope for a few weeks that much more important. Otherwise, the loss of Verena and Elisabethli is for naught and teaches Hans Kaspar nothing at all. The part about the ending that I do like is seeing Conrad come into his own and go forth into the future with a sense of purpose and readiness to create a family that honors Verena’s memory.Again, I found myself caring deeply about these people because what they are going through is so real — not only from the standpoint of your wonderful writing but also from the historical truths they portray.
Her edits couldn’t come back to me at a better time, either. My hip rehab has hit the next level which I recognize from last time. I’m at the “I feel pretty good; I get tired and need to nap; I take short walks that wear me out; God this is boring,” moment. My body is interested in healing the physical trauma now that the shock is over. I can fall into a deep nap at any point in the day, “Sorry sweet cheeks, we need a nap,” says the incision, the joint, the bone, “move over.”