“Out you go,” Kit Kat highlighted several paragraphs and pressed the delete button. Gone was any mention of faith or losing it. Gone was that tacked on character and every reference to him. She had cringed at how awkwardly she had added the distraught footman with a dark night of the soul. She could tell how much she hated even adding him in the first place.
The dowager was safe. She was going to India unmarried and unescorted to have her own adventures without the shackles of men. As horrible as her writing had been when she added the religious elements that Antioch House had requested, she was glad to excise it from her book. It felt good to take large swaths at it, highlighting text and deleting it.
Of course, she had saved the bastardized version of the novel as well. She renamed it and saved it in an archived file on her external drive. She loved restoring her novel to the way it was supposed to be, but something inside of her worried. She might have to eat her words and go crawling back to Antioch and if she did, she didn’t want to have to create the footman from scratch again.
Her worries weren’t paranoia. Kit Kat had tried to shop her book around to other publishers, but the only responses she had received were rejection letters. Each one was a stab in the gut. It didn’t matter to them that she had been the highest selling author at Antioch House, she was completely unable to get any recognition from any other publishers.
She cursed herself for never getting an agent. She had sold her first book to Antioch, got a contract with them and continued to write for them exclusively. All her loyalty to them was NOTHING compared to the fact that she was divorced. They didn’t care about her sales or the integrity of her book. All they cared about was how her author blurb looked in a Christian book. It made her bitter with anger.
She looked at the envelope she received back from Mira yesterday. DIVORCED. It was final. Everything had been accepted. She didn’t need to pay any alimony. She was not financially responsible for anything to do with his vitamin business. In his desperation to impress that girl, Dave had signed away all his rights. Kit Kat simultaneously wished Mira had been more ruthless and he had been more cautious. If he was going to divorce her, she really wanted to hurt him, but if he had been more cautious, maybe he wouldn’t have wanted the divorce after all. She wanted to hurt him, but at the same time, she wanted him back. It was a very strange feeling to have.
“Not important,” she thought to herself. It doesn’t matter. “All that matters is work. I need to get an agent. I need to get this book cleaned up. I need to get writing the next one. THAT’S what’s important.” She picked up her phone and tried calling another agent. “Hello? Yes, I’d like to talk to Megan Moore, please?” She identified herself to the secretary and hoped that the agent would take her call.
“This is Megan.” Kit Kat felt a glimmer of hope at the woman’s voice. “Hi, this is Katherine Townsend. I was an author with Antioch House, but I have a novel that doesn’t really fall in their parameters. I sent it to you last week…” Her voice trailed off.
“Is this that dowager book?” A rush of joy filled her. “Yes, The Independence of the Dowager of Langthrope! Yes!” The woman on the other line paused and Kit Kat felt her spirits fall a bit. “Yeah, I read it. I gotta tell you, some of those characters have GOT to go. That footman is the WORST!”
Kit Kat laughed, “Yes, I had added him on later to appease Antioch, but it wasn’t enough for them. I am working on a rewrite taking him back out, cleaning it up, you know…” The agent was quiet, so Kit Kat kept talking, “My sales with Antioch were really good.”
Megan interrupted her, “Not normal publisher good, but better than they usually get. Why’d they drop you?” Kit Kat froze. It hurt so bad to say it out loud. “Honestly, there were a couple of reasons, some of them my fault. Firstly, I got divorced and that doesn’t really work with their Christian image.” The agent agreed and Kit Kat could tell by her voice that she had a kindred spirit in that respect.
“Secondly, they wanted to marry the dowager off to the merchant and…” She shook her head at her own stubbornness. “I just couldn’t marry her off to him.” Megan replied, “I’m not going to lie to you, Katherine. A historical novel is difficult to sell if there’s not a romance or an adventure. I’m sure the dowager is going to have lots of adventures when she gets to India, but there sure isn’t one in this book.”
Kit Kat could see the dowager’s future as clear as day. The stately woman WOULD have many adventures in India if only she were given a chance. She had known that all along, but never addressed that possibility in the book. “What if Independence is the first in a series? I could rework Independence with elements of an adventure novel…” She ran out of ideas. Would her fop of a son try to kill her? That seemed highly out of character. How would she make Independence the first in a series of adventure novels? She had no idea where to start. All her novels had been very quiet and introspective. She felt lost and excited at the same time.
“Have you written the second one?” The agent brought her back to the present. “No…” Megan laughed, “You’re too honest. LIE to me and say you have outlines for seven adventure novels and I might be willing to take you on.” Kit Kat couldn’t lie, “I don’t have outlines, but I can write an outline for the next novel if that will help.” The woman clucked her tongue. “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you.”
They hung up and Kit Kat added a reminder in her calendar to call Megan in one week to see what she had decided. It was the most hopeful she had felt in over a month, and she immediately started working on the outline for The Indian Adventures of the Dowager of Langthrope.