The “Acknowledgments” section of any book shows that it takes more than a single writer to produce it. One peek reveals a lot about what it takes to get a novel from its inception into the hands of a reader.
There are all the fellow writers with whom you share your first wobbly steps on a page, who scribble their observations in the margins and look you in the eye when they deliver news you may not always want to hear.
There are the family members, the loved ones who put up with your absence or, just as frequently, your absent mind as you move about the house lost in the world you are trying to create.
There are friends who, like your family, encourage in ways you never expect. A phone call at just the right time. The Wednesday night your church friends surprise you with a chocolate cake shaped like a book with handwritten pledges from each to buy your book.
Those you never meet who contribute their knowledge through their own work and research and the strangers you meet who provide details and bring you to another level of understanding about what it is you are trying to write.
There are the matchmakers (agents), the deciders (editors and publishers), the advocates (all of the above) that decide your novel is worth taking a chance on and guide you through to the end.
I’ve listed many of these people in the “Acknowledgments” section of Casualties. Here, I would like to recognize a few more.
Peg Dorsey, one of the first editors to go through my manuscript with a fine-toothed comb, helped me to avoid all kinds of errors and, among other things, made sure my characters had enough time to get from one place along their route to the other without having to travel at the speed of light. I know Peg only through email, social media and a friend in common but she became one of my early and most ardent champions.
Mae Wright, a fine writer, valued friend, and fellow reader, lent her perspective on early drafts, particularly with early efforts to portray Robbie’s homecoming. Her encouragement and willingness to discuss writing and books at any time are special gifts that I treasure. She tells it as she sees it, doesn’t hold back, and for that I will always be grateful.
Kim Dower and Lauren Burnstein arrived on the scene to guide me through the publicity phase of the publishing process. Their efforts on my behalf have shored me up when I’ve been overwhelmed by all the things I don’t know about launching a book.
Finally, I am grateful to every bookstore and every reader who takes a chance on Casualties. Each one of you brings a unique perspective born of your experience as a reader and a human being who has spent time on this planet. This is how stories live and breathe. Thank you.