Some Thoughts on Book Contracts, Destinations, and the Importance of Hope

Photo by Danka Peter via Unsplash

The house is remarkably quiet, so quiet in fact that I can hear the hot water murmuring its way through the radiators. Outside, exhaust from our hot water boiler escapes the pipe, clouds up, gets swept through the breezeway, out onto James Street. It is a ghost, gone in an instant, frightened away by the scream of the passing ambulance.

This time of year always feels like the final stretch of an endurance race — winter not quite letting go, spring sports coming to an end, classes wrapping up, and summer beckoning. And you know me. I’m not great at waiting. Too often, I want to fast forward the journey and arrive.

* * * * *

Last week, Maile and I went out to Grand Rapids for the Festival of Faith and Writing held at Calvin College every other year. Two years ago, we went for the first time. Maile was pregnant with Poppy. I got to meet online writer friends I had never before met in person.

This year was no different. More wonderful people, more fun reunions. An amazing session with Walter Wangerin Jr. that I’m still processing. It was a beautiful time.

Yet, I couldn’t help but notice how different it felt to be there this time around. Two years ago, my agent and I were about to embark on trying to find a publisher for The Day the Angels Fell. I spent a lot of time at FFW two years ago walking around, staring dreamy-eyed at publisher’s booths, wishing, wishing, wishing. I was about to begin one of the most difficult periods of waiting in my life, those three or four months after we sent out the proposal for The Day the Angels Fell and started getting rejections.

But in the last two years, so much has happened. We teamed up with Revell publishing house to publish The Day the Angels Fell. The Edge of Over There comes out July 3rd. The book I wrote with my friend Mohammad, Once We Were Strangers, comes out in October.

Two years ago, I never would have believed where my writing journey is today.

Two years can bring a lot of change.

Are we willing to wait, to keep putting in the work, and perhaps most importantly of all, to keep hoping?

* * * * *

Cade wanders through the house, looking for a book. Maile goes up to bed. I chase her up the stairs and give her a kiss. She kisses me back, not a peck on the cheek but the real deal. Then, I hear a little pipsqueak of a voice coming from one of the dark bedrooms.

“You know I can see you guys, right?” giggles our 10yo daughter from her bedroom. “I’m right here!”

This is life. As real and at least as important as any book deal, any goal met, any achievement unlocked. Maile goes to bed and I come down to the dining room. The house is even quieter now. Night has settled over the city, and no matter the temperature outside, I know spring is on the way.