editorial bits and pieces: The Endless Forest

There’s a limbo period after you turn in a novel manuscript. If the contract was contracted ahead of time it’s not a question of selling it. The question is, is it acceptable to your editor and his or her bosses.

It’s a nerve wracking time, and there’s not one thing you can do about it. After months or even years of pouring sweat and blood into the story, you must stand aside and just wait for a verdict. This may take a couple weeks or even months. During that time you try not to think about it too much. I personally forbid myself from looking at the manuscript while I’m in this limbo.

A thumbs-up from the editor will be full praise. The letter will also contain a list of issues the editor would like to address. These can be minor or earth shattering. It does happen sometimes that an editor will want a big change. It also happens that the editor wants a change that you absolutely do not agree with. That’s when negotiations become tricky. Most usually the list you get contains thoughtful and reasonable observations and suggestions.

So you work through that list, make changes, and off it goes to the next stage in the process.

When I handed over The Endless Forest, I hunkered down to wait for three or four weeks. Editors are busy people, is what I told myself. Don’t look at the manuscript. Don’t look at the calendar. Don’t think about it.

The big surprise was that I heard on January 12 — less than two weeks in — and not from my editor. I heard first from Nita Taublib, who is a Big Cheese at Bantam. The following is via Publishers Weekly:

NITA TAUBLIB is appointed Executive Vice President, Publisher, and Editor in Chief, Bantam Dell. Formerly Deputy Publisher and Editorial Director, Nita joined Bantam in 1982 and became Associate Publisher in l990. In her new role she will direct the hardcover and mass-market publishing programs of the Bantam Dell imprints—Bantam, Dell, Delacorte, Delta—as well as remain the editor of Danielle Steel and Luanne Rice. The Bantam Dell editorial department continues to report to her, as do GINA WACHTEL, who has been promoted to Vice President, Associate Publisher, and KATE MICIAK, editor of Lee Child and Lisa Gardner, promoted to Vice President, Editorial Director.

Nita has been closely involved with the Wilderness series from the beginning. She is the person who called me way back when to congratulate me on joining the Bantam family, and she’s the ultimate decision maker. So when I saw I had an email from her on January 12 with the subject line Endless Forest, I started to hyperventilate.

It would be bad manners to reproduce the email, but I’ll quote one line, because it is the nicest thing any publishing executive has ever said to me: “I have to tell you that in the last month I have not felt like reading — anything. Its been such a trying time, but […] you brought me back from the brink of not wanting to read — to being so happy to be in your pages and living with all the Bonners.”

Reading that was a huge boost, of course. All my worrying could be put aside; I could wait for my editor’s letter in the certain knowledge that the news coming my way was good, and that the changes would not be very many or large. And that’s the way it turned out. About ten days ago I got the editorial letter, with a short list of questions and suggestions. If I concentrate hard, I can take care of the whole thing in one day.

But I haven’t. I find it really hard this time, and the reason is pretty obvious. For the first time it really became clear to me that I’m at the end of the series. Really at the end. My goal is to take tomorrow to make all the changes, and then to send it off and sit down and get used to the idea. I think the process may require chocolate. A lot of chocolate.

22 Replies to “editorial bits and pieces: The Endless Forest”

  1. Congratulations on the good news! I can understand how it must be difficult to let this series go — trust me, it will be hard for your readers, too — but every end is a new beginning — so we know you’ll have something wonderful in store for us in the future!

  2. Fantastic! Congrats! Now I’m even more eager to read the final installment. It must be a real page turner!

  3. congratulations. i’m sure you welcome the grand compliment after a year of ups and downs. and my toddler also smiles at the news. (well, the little cheer i did might have something to do with her smile.)

  4. Congratulations Rosina! What wonderful news for you. Eat lots of chocolate! Looking forward to Endless Forest!!

  5. Congrats, definitely a epic series, your work, both before and after ITW has bin awesome too, looking forward to more from my fave author.

  6. Is there a place we can donate chocolate for your recovery? I am eagerly awaitting “Endless Forrest”, but I sincerely hope it’s not the end of you writting. I really want to hear about those sisters from “my best friends wedding”.

  7. Congratulations!! What wonderful news and I’m sure such a relief. I can hardly wait to read The Endless Forest!

  8. forgive me…I hit the enter key by mistake!!! Have a great glass of red wine with that chocolate!!!!!! Thanks again for the beautiful Bonner family.

  9. That is wonderful news and no doubt a huge relief. You are truly deserving of such praise! I can’t imagine what it must be like to know that this is the end and part of me is a little sad that it is the end – such a wonderful series, wonderful characters. I’m already re-reading ITW in preparation for EF. When all the amendments are done, sit down with as much chocolate as you want. Congratulations!

  10. Someone and I were discussing this mess about financial people getting bonuses for losing money. He said a bonus one year means a bonus is expected every year, else the person doesn’t work as hard. I said the true manager is one who give the employee attaboys as often as possible. That’s what the person values, and it costs nothing.

    So you got yourself a fantastic attaboy when you weren’t expecting it. Feels good, huh?

    And, yes, I do understand about the end of the end. Kinda like letting GirlChild go off to college without you, wasn’t it? Letting go is hard.

  11. I am looking forward to reading The Endless Forests. But I know that after I finish it I will be depressed for awhile knowing that that is the last book in the series. I have read all of the others several times each and feel as if the Bonners are real friends. While I can always go back and reread the entire Series the anticipation of “what will happen next?” will now be gone.

    Linda Howard had a series of books revolving around the McKenzie Family. When she wrote the last book in that series the hero and heroine who were in the first book were now in their sixties with white hair. I remember reading in an interview that Ms. Howard did that she said that she would not be writing anymore in this series because she could not bring herself to kill off either of them. I imagine that you feel about the same way regarding Boots and Nathaniel. (Unless they die in this last one). I hope they don’t, but each author and each Series is unique.

    I am hoping that your creative mind invents another family in hopefully another Early American setting for a new series. You might be surprised at how few novels are written in this time frame and place in History. I have been frustrated trying to find more of high quality.

  12. That’s great to hear!! I will be looking forward to your next project, and of course getting my hands on Book Six when it’s released.

  13. That is an awesome compliment to be paid!

    As a reader I will be said to see the Bonners all go off into the literary sunset, but at least I will know that if I need a little visit I can just pick up one of the books and be back in Paradise (or Scotland or New Orleans or wherever) with them any time.

  14. Ah, such a bittersweet post. I’m very, very happy for you to have such high praise and to reach this point with The Endless Forest. However, I will miss having the series continue. I know I speak for my friends and family who are also hooked on the series that we will miss it.

    However, I have faith that you will write something just as fabulous in the future. And, I will continue to look for your book suggestions to find other good works.

    You didn’t say, are you a dark chocolate fan? Personally, I’m into Valhrona 64%. yum. Combine that with a good cup of All Day Breakfast tea from Republic of Tea and I’m set. ;-)

  15. So happy for you, but sad for me. The end. No more Bonners? It’s so…….final. I’ll look forward to it nonetheless! Bittersweet to say the least.

  16. The end is near… It’s like saying goodbye to a really good friend with very beautiful memories to revisit over again… I am really looking forward to the sixth book and will come to the end when it gets here!

    Congratulations on the editors notes!

  17. Phew, this is all new to me and amazing in scope. My daughter #1 passed a much used copy of “Lake in the Clouds” and told me I should read it. The place, the people are familiar not in name but in character. This is our family story. This is where our family came to and from. My great grandmother was a Mohawk girl whose family lived along the Sacandaga River in the early 1800’s. My great grandfather’s family entered the valley in the late 1700’s. It looks as though I will have to go back and read “Into the Wilderness.”

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