Timing, Part 2

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Time is a theme throughout literature, television, movies, theater … even painting, if you count Salvador Dali. There’s time travel, the race against time, time and time again, ahead of its time, behind the times, and the persistence of time—Dali again.

I’m backing into this one because, frankly, it’s kind of painful. And it bums me out. But like the philosophers say, “That which doesn’t kill you … still really hurts.”

My story starts a little over three years ago. I had just signed with an agent, which is definitely the proverbial uphill struggle in the dead of winter with two of my sisters tied to my back. But I digress.

I was working my way through a list of revisions and line edits suggested by my agent while she figured out the best way to package me and my book for potential editors. And though, like any new starry-eyed writer, I had always feared someone else editing my stuff, I found the process exciting and delightful. Yes. Nerd that I am.


No, be honest, am.

YA Author Tom Hoover on TimingEvery time the phone rang, I imagined it was a publisher clamoring for my manuscript. Meaning I was also a bit delusional because no publisher had it yet. But it was an exciting time for me. Full of possibilities. And hopes. And you probably see where this is heading, don’t you?

So let’s fast forward a little bit, shall we?

The big day came. The package went out to a list of publishing houses. To editors who already had been made aware of me and what an awesomely talented noob I was. Or words to that effect. My agent was obviously better at this than I am. But my book was out there.

And honestly, it felt a lot like my 16th birthday. I was old enough to drive but I didn’t have a license, a car, insurance, or money for gas. All dressed up with no place to go. But lightning struck just a couple days later. Disney called.

Yes. The Disney. My hopes and delusions kicked into overdrive. My agent said, “Don’t get your hopes up. It’s really early.” But she was too late, long before she said anything. But to appease her, I lied and said, “Okay,” and tried not to dance around the house like one of the tutu-wearing hippos in Fantasia.

While I was pirouetting, my agent said, “Disney wants to know what other book ideas you have in the works.”

There were two answers to that question. The truth: “Nope, nothing.” And what I said, which was, “I need to take this, let me call you right back.”

I hung up. Wracked my tiny brain until I had a headache in my knee, and made up a list of books I was currently working on. None of them had ever entered my mind before that moment. I called my agent back and gave her the list, trying to sound off-hand and nonchalant … which is hard to do when you’re squealing by the way.

That was my first mistake.

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YA Author Tom Hoover on TimingYA Author Tom Hoover on Timing