Fishing For An Agent: The Hook

16 Hills of Knoydart at Sunset

(Looking across the Sound of Sleat toward the hills of Knoydart. Isle of Skye, Scotland. Photo by the Hales)

A broken heart is not the end of all things. It can, if mixed with a hint of magic and a large amount of fate, lead to a life beyond ordinary dreams. Kathryn Trent, obsessed with a dream about a stone manor, leaves her failed marriage behind in Texas and embarks on an adventure. She escapes to Scotland in search of ancestors and the elusive manor. The wild and rugged landscape of the Isle of Skye, often shrouded in mist and shadow, is the perfect backdrop for Kathryn’s quest.

Woven through this modern day tale is the story of young Mari Macdonald, who lived on Skye near the Faerie Glen in a small farmhouse in the 1700s. She meets a young Alexander Macdonald, son of the clan leader, in the Faerie Glen and they fall in love. A promise to marry is made, but due to unforeseen tragic events this is a promise that will never be kept. Kathryn soon discovers the tie that binds she and Mari in a tapestry woven by Fate. What she finds on the mysterious island will change her life forever.

Kathryn’s new Scottish friends are as varied as the landscape on Skye. They include Donald, a Gaelic professor at the local college—who’s interested in more than linguistics when it comes to Kathryn, Jane, the genealogist at the Donald Library on the grounds of Armadale Castle, Angus, the rugged storyteller whose pub sits near the Faerie Glen, and Laird Duncan Macdonald and his sister, Lady Flora Macdonald of Glen Rowan. Kathryn’s two college age sons and her carefree younger sister, Beth, join her on Skye for her search for the stone manor.

There is a saying in Scotland, “The blood is strong.” Through a portrait and a promise, the magic of Kathryn’s ancestors illuminate her future. Once this future is revealed Kathryn must decide to take hold of it or walk away.

This is my initial book blurb. Does it grab you? Do you want to know more? I hope so.

After several years of working on my own (with input from friends and family), I felt my manuscript was as far along as I could take it without professional help. And I was SURE I needed professional help. I had been reading about self-publishing versus traditional publishing. I decided no matter which direction I chose to pursue, hiring an independent editor was worth the money. I did my homework, researched the top independent editors in New York City, and chose an editor from two different groups that sounded like they might be a good fit for me. I queried both, and as fate would have it, they both asked to talk by phone. After the phone interviews, they both offered to work with me on my manuscript. I was SO excited! This was going to be a significant monetary investment, so I took a day to reflect on the conversations I’d had with each editor. One took over an hour and we really clicked. The other was twenty minutes tops. She was very professional and straightforward, and I knew she would be fantastic but there just wasn’t the chemistry. I chose door number one.

Let me just say, “I LOVE MY EDITOR.” She’s amazing! I’ve gotten so much more than I paid for. First, there was the initial read through multiply times, then a detailed developmental edit with pages of the good, the bad, and the ugly. We talked by phone about it, and I began revising. This took months. She’d made some radical suggestions, but they felt right. After I’d completed the revision I sent it back for a line-by-line edit. Once I’d revised again we talked about agents, writing a query letter, and the dreaded synopsis. She is currently looking over my second attempt at the letter and synopsis. Once I revise these I’ll begin the process of seeking representation.

Taking a story from inception to publication is a lot of hard work. But I’ve loved every minute of it…thus far.

Enough about the “process” my novel’s been through. Let’s talk about the lovely picture at the beginning of this post. I took this from the driveway of the B&B we stayed in on the Isle of Skye. What you have to know is I’d never been here before. As I said in an earlier post, I’d only researched Skye on the internet. I chose this particular B&B because it was near Armadale Castle and the Donald Library, where I would be doing a bit of research on my ancestors. That, and the proprietor of the B&B was a Macdonald. I thought, “Hey, maybe we’re cousins…very distant cousins!” When we first arrived, and I saw this view, I was speechless. Really, I was. Below is an excerpt from my novel. Read on.

Kathryn set the phone on the seat next to her as she pulled into the cottage drive. She parked the car and sat looking out across the Sound to the hills of Knoydart. Life is as it should be for the first time in months, Kathryn thought. She leaned her head back against the seat and smiled.

DO YOU SEE IT? Look at the picture again. I was looking across the Sound of Sleat to the hills of Knoydart. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! It was the same view as I’d written in my novel. Coincidence? I think not. Lady Fate, I think so. I’ll introduce you to her in a later post. Her name is Rhan, and she lives near Uig, not far from the Faerie Glen.

Until next time.

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