I want to tell you all a story. I may have spoken in person with a couple of you about this particular insecurity I've had, but I don't think I've really posted about it. (Btw, this is a special friend filter.)
Okay, so the truth is, ever since I got my book deal, I've felt unworthy of it. I felt like it never would have happened if not for the fact that Liesa likes me so very much.
I know, I know. That is totally fucking stupid. No one would do that! She would never risk her career like that. But I haven't been able to get the nagging thoughts out of my mind.
The whole thing seemed further evidenced when we got only the one offer back in May. Now, I knew about Dan Ehrenhaft's attempts to acquire my book, but since he failed, it all seemed rather moot. And I knew that there were other publishers who couldn't get it through acquisitions quickly enough, so we'll never know what might have happened with them. All I've been thinking is that no one wanted the book and that Liesa did me this big favor in taking it on.
Right. So, that whole thing got cleared up in a big hurry at Liesa's wedding reception. Dwayne and I took our seats at our assigned table. A woman already seated said, "Are you Mindi Scott?"
I answered in the affirmative and she introduced herself as "Liesa's assistant, Kate."
We started being all "so nice to meet you" ish and chatting. And then she said this, (paraphrased): "Wow! I remember when Liesa first started teaching your class. She came into the office the day after you posted your first pages just raving about them. She said she knew she wanted this book, but it was way too soon to approach you about it. She needed to at least be a little bit appropriate and wait until the class was completed to talk to you about it! I'm just so excited for her that it finally happened. She waited a long time to get to work on that book!"
It was the strangest feeling, realizing that the way I'd been seeing the situation was so very backward and upside down.
I had thought that Liesa really likes my book and really, really likes me.
The truth is more like, Liesa completely loves my book and really likes me.
That isn't a bad thing. In fact, for my feelings of worthiness as a writer, it's a wonderful thing. Liesa wanted this book so badly that she kept checking in about my progress over the months it took for me to finish all my revisions. She gave me agent referrals because she knew I didn't want to go straight to any publishers (and probably because she knew it would be a harder sell to the imprint if I wasn't represented). And when I got an agent and then let her know the project was going on submissions, she asked me to have Jim send it to her and went to Pulse and convinced them to let her acquire it for their imprint.
I had no clue what it all meant. I really, really didn't. Even when she would say things about how she thinks I'm so talented and how much she loved the book and how she knew I was going to get it published someday, I would think, God, isn't she just the sweetest thing to say all that!
When I met up with her in NYC, she told me she'd been bragging to the rest of her office about getting to meet me. I thought she was just teasing. No one would brag about something like that!
When she came to the writer's conference in Washington last year (over a year before she acquired the book), I thanked her for all her support and advice over the previous few months. She looked me in the eyes and said, "You deserve it. I wouldn't go out of my way if that weren't true."
I STILL DIDN'T BELIEVE HER.
Somehow, having her assistant tell that story made me finally get it. The truth snapped into place and now I can look back and see almost every exchange I've ever had with Liesa in a new light. (But certainly not in a bad light. Although I can definitely see how naive I've been all this time. I truly do believe that she likes me, too, though. She refers to me as her "friend" and invited me to her wedding and all.)
I can now feel confident that Liesa didn't hand me a book contract because of my sparkling personality. She did it because she was passionate about the characters, the story, and the writing in the book that happens to have been written by me.
I guess this means I must deserve it after all.
(P.S. I didn't tell you all this to sound all braggy. I hope it didn't come across that way. I'm not trying to say that I think I'm some great talent; I just finally understand that Liesa believes I am.)