CAFE: A gathering place. A place of refreshment.

Thirsty for the latest releases in Christian fiction? Ready for a peek into the world of publishing and writing conferences? Hungry for spiritual and real-life nourishment? Pull up a seat; you're in the right place, and I'm so glad you've stopped by.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Chasing Lilacs

Ta-Da! The new title of my debut book. Someone asked me why I'd gone from a weed (see previous post about my beloved Dandelion) to a flower. Actually, I didn't make the decision on my own. My wonderful publishers with marketing and sales expertise that I don't possess, wanted a title that suggested the essence of the story. This is perfect.

And as some of you have asked me to tell you about my publishing journey, I will share a couple of things here. After the initial angst of getting the physical contract and pinching myself that my dream was soon to come true, I had a number of things to do right away.
  • Submit book covers ideas that I liked. Alas, the dandelion ones have been snuffed, but I'm all over that. Completely. I haven't thought about it once. Honest. This was a fun exercise that took up some anxious moments while I was waiting on my first round of edits.
  • Have a professional photo made for the back cover of the book. THANKS, Sarah, for a great job.
  • Substantive edit. These came on the eve of my going to Dallas to the CBE. I read over them briefly and let some of my editor's comments filter through my head all weekend. Many positive comments (for which I am grateful). Quite a few things to fix and muddles to clear up. I spent about ten days doing this, and two days before turning the edits in, I panicked! Up-until-the-wee-hours panic. Since my story is set in 1958, I had weather scenarios around holidays. Perfectly feasible weather incidents (like heat waves, blue northers, and blizzards). WHAT IF someone remember the Christmas of 1958 and distinctly remembered that the blizzard that December came on the 29th of the month and not the 25th?? I researched the temperature (highs and lows), the moisture, and noted whether it was rain or snow for every single day from July 2 until the following April. Many cups of coffee and a couple dozen tweaks later, I was satisfied that I had gotten it right. Lesson learned: Check the weather if your story is time sensitive.
  • Title change requested. This was another one of those marathon searches. Two trips to Barnes and Noble to look at every title on the General Fiction, Literature, and Inspirational Novels shelves. I wrote pages and pages of titles, combining words in some rather clever ways, thinking of every subtle angle that my story contains. I hung out for hours of Amazon searching for similar titles. I really wanted a title that had not been done before. I submitted a few to my editor. Chasing Lilacs was chosen unanimously by my editor and the marketing board. This pleases me for a couple of reasons. It does fit the story, but now I also feel that I am part of a team that is trying to make my book the best possible. Gratitude clings to me like a favorite sweater.
  • My edits were accepted - contented sigh here - and I await the copy edits. They won't be done until June, so now I have more than two months to return to my unfinished book that has waited patiently at the edges of my consciousness. I can't wait to see what happens with my new characters.

I probably won't tell you every detail that happens along the way, but when the cover is ready and other exciting news comes along, you'll be the first to know.

In the meantime, there are other folks' books to read, writing lessons to learn, and lilacs to enjoy. The buds on my backyard bushes are just beginning to open. Soon they will be in full bloom and I'll be chasing the scent of lilacs in my own backyard. Lovely.


Erica Vetsch said...

Chasing Lilacs...there is something evocative about lilacs, springtime, fragrance, old-fashioned...I get all sorts of connotations from lilacs.

I can't wait to read your book!

carla stewart said...

Thanks, Erica. I'm pleased with the title choice. It does have metaphorical elements which I think will be obvious when millions of people read my book. Yes, I'm a bit heady from the lilacs blooming in my yard, but I do hope at least thousands read the book.

Myra Johnson said...

I love the new title, Carla! It's so much fun watching you experience all these exciting steps along the publishing journey!

Mindy Obenhaus said...

I love lilacs. Growing up in Michigan, I loved the way their fragrance filled the spring air. To this day it's one of my favorite fragrances. They're also beautiful. I can just imagine the cover now. It'll be gorgeous. I like Chasing Lilacs!