A few years ago I sent a facebook message to Rachel Kelly, a woman from church who I didn't really know all that well. I'd heard through the grapevine that she had written a couple of (unpublished) novels, and since I'd been working on my sweet (and seemingly endless? haha) book for a while at that point, I was curious how another mom was finding time to write. I asked her a couple of simple questions, she responded with some book recommendations and her thoughts about publishing (she would probably do it someday), and that was about it.
Fast forward to autumn of last year. The hubs and I were traveling a lot as he enjoyed the simultaneously harried and relaxed schedule of a fourth year med student, and as we were preparing to leave for another looooong trip, I got a message from Rachel. She'd decided it was time to get her book out into people's hands, and she needed an editor. She'd read my blog. She liked my writing style. She wanted me. (!)
It was both a daunting and an exciting proposition. I've always loved editing papers (I did it freelance for other students in college, did critiques in round tables in all my upper division writing classes, and edited a magazine my father-in-law had for a short time) but oh man--to edit an entire book? AND be a mama! I wasn't sure I could do it. And, okay--what if her book wasn't good? How can you tell someone you know (but not well!) that you think their book needs a lot of work???
But Rachel sent me the first twenty pages so I could take a look. And (*phew!*) they were very promising. Her story was was different than anything I'd read before. In fact, I was kind of excited to take the job just to see where her plot lines were going.
So we worked out the businessy stuff (deadline, fee, expectations) and she sent me the full manuscript of Colorworld. I was one of the first people to ever get to read it. Like, I got to read it before her husband did. (But he's cool with that, don't worry.) Still, that is a pretty cool thing, right? And then I was going to get to talk to the author about her book. In detail. In excruciating detail! I was a Lit/Writing major in college, so that is basically my version of heaven. :)
I printed it out (several hundred pages), picked out a red pen, and got to work.
I helped make that manuscript into this book!!! Yay!!!
I can't tell you how much fun it was to read a book and then get to tell the author what I thought: what I liked, what I hated, what made sense, what was confusing. Yes, I made grammatical corrections, pointed out inconsistencies, and added punctuation suggestions. But as Rachel's editor I also got to go through her story line by line and help her cut out the fat, dig deeper into her characters, and basically play devil's advocate. When I boxed up her copy and mailed it out to North Dakota, I was relieved and exhilarated. I couldn't wait to hear back from her, to talk more about the talented/cursed Wendy, overbearingly educated Gabe, quirky Ezra (he's my favorite character), and the freaky-calm-yet-terrifying Louise.
Over the last year I've had the privilege of editing two more books in her Colorworld series (yes, I know what happens next! It just gets better from here--book 3 is my favorite so far!) I finished marking up the third installment in the series literally hours before I went to the hospital to deliver my now-9-week-old-baby. (Since she was induced, it was an item on my last-day-of-pregnancy to-do list: Rachel's book!!!) We've written countless emails arguing the merits of comma placement, engaging in intense philosophical discussions about the realities of real-life relationships, and even going over potential changes in the structure of individual sentences. So I feel pretty confident in telling you that Rachel has written and rewritten, refined her stories and the way she tells them, until it is glaringly obvious that these books were a labor of love.
Colorworld was released on Amazon on December 24th! (SO EXCITED FOR RACHEL!) And guess what? She actually put my name on her title page, just below hers, with an editing credit. Not tucked in the acknowledgements at the back--on her title page. Isn't that the sweetest, most generous thing? I was floored. I am still kind of in shock. It was an amazing feeling to see my name in print like that! I've always wanted to have a book published--and eventually I will get my own out there--and Rachel gave me such a lovely, thoughtful gift in lending me such a prominent credit on something she worked so incredibly hard on.
My name! Is on! The title page! !!! !!!!!
Rachel is self-published, which means word of mouth is incredibly important to help her book find its audience! So if you're looking for a new read--something fun and engaging, a paranormal/sci-fi-style love story that makes you ask questions--you should give Colorworld a look. It's available for Kindle here (it's only $2.99), and it will be out in paperback in late January 2014. (Or you can borrow it for free if you have a Kindle and Amazon Prime. Or I think I can lend it to you through Kindle...?) And if you read it, help my girl out by giving it a star rating and quick review on Amazon and/or here at Goodreads!