There's a classic Peanuts strip where one of the characters, Linus, I think, quotes: "It's better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness." And Lucy scowls, raises her fist to the heavens and screams: "STOOPID DARKNESS!"
I try not to be a Lucy in life. I try to keep a good attitude and to not to spend too much time obsessing on bad stuff. But honestly I'm not the sunniest of personalities. I'm just not wired that way.
One of the greatest things about working with my agent, Nathan Bransford, is that he appreciates the darkness in my work (and there's a fair amount of it), and yet he is such a positive, upbeat and encouraging person to work with. That helped me be upbeat through some pretty tough times and channel the dark stuff into the work, where it belongs.
We've had an amazing creative partnership. For those out there who think that nothing happens in publishing without connections, I'll start by saying that I had never met Nathan and did not have any "in" with him before he agreed to represent me. I just wrote a query and sent it. He liked it, asked to see the partial and then the full, and then we started working together.
He is a hands-on guy, the best editor I've ever worked with, with an incredibly sharp eye for both big-picture strokes and the smallest detail. That didn't mean that we always agreed, but if Nathan saw a problem, there was a problem. Sometimes the problem was with what surrounded the thing that wasn't working. Sometimes I'd take an oblique or even contrary approach to fix what was wrong. And again that was one of the coolest things about our working relationship. He's a tough reader, but not a dictatorial one, and there was never one absolute "right" way to problem-solve.
Not every moment was easy. But overall...
We had fun.
If you're a writer who hangs out on the interwebz at all, then you know that Nathan is leaving agenting and going into a new career. I'm excited for him and to say that I wish him every success hugely understates the depths of my goodwill and appreciation.
Nathan took a chance on me. He took me on as a client, worked closely and incredibly hard on both helping me get the book(s) into shape, selling ROCK PAPER TIGER and negotiating the contract. He was there for every question and crisis, and his optimism never flagged. His faith in me as a writer launched my career and completely changed my life. I could not have asked for a more supportive partner, and I'm so happy that we got to share the excitement of ROCK PAPER TIGER's publication and success.
I'm going into another situation that I'm very excited about and that I think is going to be a wonderful relationship. Change can be bracing, stimulating, and a good thing. And all of this was handled with kindness, professionalism and grace.
But it's still hard, because I am mourning the end of a working relationship that has been one of the most significant of my life.
I'm supposed to be a writer, but I don't have the words to express my gratitude.
Thanks, Nathan. It really has been fun.