“Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale
Her infinite variety: other women cloy
The appetites they feed: but she makes hungry
Where most she satisfies…”
Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra
Love this quote! Tonight, it came to mind as I was browsing through an “Indie NEXT List” brochure from my favorite local bookstore, Watchung Booksellers.
Reading quick reviews from the staffs of independent bookstores from Vermont to California and everywhere in-between, I was struck by the incredible range of stories that both writers and publishers had invested in. And, of course, they all hope that their books will strike a chord with readers and become huge hits.
Still, as I read some of the abstracts, I couldn’t help but wonder what had driven the writers to devote enormous amounts of time and energy to their stories. What made them feel that these ideas were novel-worthy? What made the publishers willing to bet on them? In my mind, it just goes to show how mysterious—even strange—the publishing process is.
Just to show you what I mean, here’s a sampling of novels featured in the May Indie NEXT List: Doc by Mary Doria Russell, which captures the colorful life of Henry Holliday of O.K. Corral fame; The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert, the story of an 83-grandmother who’s been writing obituaries for a small-town newspaper since she was a teen; 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson, about a young couple living in Warsaw at the beginning of World War II; The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak, a novel about a sharpshooter in World War I; and Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, a story that traces the education of the first Native American to become a Harvard Grad.
Some of the story lines sound so far-fetched and yet in the hands of a masterful writer, they may burn off the pages with gem-like flames. All these writers had to pitch these ideas and they all succeeded. If they can do it, so can we!