Another guest post by another amazing author at Jolly Fish Press. I love featuring writers who have a passion for writing as much as we do! I'll let her take it away!!
One Boy, No Water Finds One Home, No Shibai
Some of life’s most momentous events turn on the smallest of things, like already wearing mascara or where you sit in a room.
I’d just scrapped 80,000 words of an unfinished adult novel, set in Hawaii with a lot of Pidgin dialogue, in favor of creating a self-published YA/MG series based on the same characters, when I heard that Jolly Fish Press was speaking that night at our local writers’ group. Chagrined that I hadn’t attended in years, but hoping to pick up a tip or two and figuring I was already dressed, I headed out the door.
The presentations were good, but I was listening with self-publishing ears. Trapped in a corner, I couldn’t sneak out without disturbing everyone. I was wondering about a back door when Christopher Loke, JFP Executive Editor, announced he wanted to hear about our books.
I quit fiddling with my keys and focused on what everyone said, adjusting what I planned to say based on Chris’s responses. I took a deep breath and pitched the series. I felt like I fumbled and stumbled since I was still in the process of creating the story and identifying the audience. My jaw hit the floor when he thoughtfully said, “I can sell that. I can definitely sell that. I’d like to see it.”
I tried to shrug it off since he’d only heard, not read, but it niggled enough that I sent off a submission package expecting it to be rejected. (Pidgin? Really?) Some feedback and a nice note was all I hoped for.
Two weeks later, when Jolly Fish Press asked for exclusivity and whole manuscript, I didn’t believe it. I actually called Chris to ask him why. He laughed, then described his vision for the books, the audience he wanted to reach, and how he would put the books in their hands. I finally began to understand that he believed in me and these books far more than I did myself—he saw greater things for this series than I ever imagined. A week later I signed a five-book deal with Jolly Fish Press for the Niuhi Shark Saga. It hasn’t slowed since!