"I would like to represent you," he said.
He and his wife met me for coffee; he is the business, she is the intuition. Together, they are renowned in their field as a tremendously successful literary team.
And he wants to represent me.
I think my expression was somewhat quizzical. "So, are you saying I have an agent?"
His eyes twinkle when he smiles. "You have an agent. And I have a client."
Oh... oh my goodness. I have a literary agent.
("And what does a literary agent do?" is what most people have asked at this point when I tell them this story.
Well, if publishers are at the top of the bookselling ladder, and we writers are at the bottom, the literary agents represent all the steps in between. They sort through the chaff of what might really be best as a blog or a magazine article, and they can sniff out a book a mile away.
Agents have relationships and rapport with the people who make decisions in the industry. These skilled agents take the book proposal to their top-shelf friends, and they say, "Hey, I think I've found one you might be interested in."
Agents make things happen. They turn writers into authors; they facilitate the chrysalis evolution from the idea to the bookshelf.)
"You have it in you to make a career as an author."
Through our conversation, we explored my book outline, my voice as a writer, and the kind of books today's readers want. She shared her brilliance, he shared his expertise, I shared my ideas.
I told them that my voice and my courage as a writer lean more toward Ann Lamott than Karen Kingsbury.
She said, "Well, that's great, because we love Ann Lamott."
He interjected, "And I was Karen Kingsbury's agent."
(Google Karen Kingsbury, if you're unfamiliar. Go ahead, I'll wait.)
He said, "Now, what I don't want you to do is to write a scriptural how-to book on the process of grief."
"Well, that's good. Because I am not equipped to do that."
She leaned across the table and put her hand on mine. "Tricia, you have PhD in Hope. That's what has equipped you. Just tell your story."
"You have a PhD in Hope."
I said, "I really want to tell you: I can do this."
He smiled. "Oh, I know you can. You have it in you to make a career as an author."
Author. He said Author.
And so, with a handshake and some signatures, I have signed with a literary agent. My heart spills with joy, my mind with ideas.
As I got in the car, I reached for my phone, desperately wishing to call my husband.
Hey, babe? I think it's happening.