A BookLocker author and I got into an interesting discussion about cars with sentimental value the other day. He said I reminded him of Chapter 69 in his book (that made me blink a couple of times). He went on to say that one character was promising to take good care of the vintage Cadillac he was buying from the seller. That story reminded me of my very first Mustang.
I was 19 years old and living with my first husband and a new baby in a run-down apartment in The Woodlands, Texas. For reasons shared in one of my first books, I really needed to start making some money. So, reluctantly, I decided to get a job. The thought of putting my child in daycare broke my heart but it was that…or starve. I needed a vehicle so I got a loan, and bought a Mustang. I LOVED that car! It wasn’t a convertible (I couldn’t afford that) but it was black, and cool, and AWESOME!
I had it for several years and it never broke down (except when I forgot to put gas in it one time). Eventually, I needed a bigger vehicle because three kiddos wouldn’t fit in the back seat.
I put my beloved Mustang up for sale and, when the first woman came to see it, I got all teary-eyed while telling her I used that car to drive my children to and from school for years.
I took all three of them to their very first days of Kindergarten in that car! Our daughter got car sick for the first time in that vehicle (I didn’t tell the woman that part). And, at age 28, she still gets queasy when she sits in a back seat. Our son spilled chocolate milk on the floor in the back that I swear stank for two years (I left that part out during the sale, too). Trips, school and sporting events, talks about their days, our lives, their futures… Sooooo many beautiful memories.
Plus, did I mention that I LOVED that car? The lady bought it and I cried as she drove it away.
I’ve had two Mustangs since then. Our middle son totaled one of them (except for a scraped shoulder, he was not hurt) being stupid on a country rode. I sold my last one a couple of years ago when our third son, Max, reached six feet tall. I felt sorry for him every time he had to literally fold himself into the back seat.
Maybe someday I’ll buy another one but, for now, I’m driving our old 2006 Ford F-150 that has 160K miles on it, and has also never broken own. It’s rusty. The seats are stained. It’s ugly as heck but it ALWAYS gets us where we need to go. This year, I’ll be handing that gem off to Max.
I believe the author who was sharing the Cadillac story was referring to the fact that authors are very nervous when handing over their children (their manuscripts) to a publisher. They’re afraid the baby won’t look the same when they get it back, in the form of a printed, bound book. They’re afraid somebody is going to change a word or sentence that they spent so much time and sweat crafting. They’re fearful that the formatting won’t be what they want. And, being new to the industry, they don’t know if their book will even look like the books they see at bookstores.
I, and everyone on my team, take very good care of our authors’ babies. I frequently receive emails from authors saying the cried with joy when opening the box that contained the very first printed, bound, glossy, beautiful copy of their finished book. I understand. I’ve done the same with my own books!
And, since I am an author myself who has experienced that joy (24 times now), I know the emotional connection authors have with their own books. I share in that moment of elation and pride with them! Everyone here does! We all LOVE being involved in the very last part of the book-writing journey – the transformation from manuscript to book form, complete with a beautifully designed cover that portrays exactly what the author wants, and page after page of beautiful words that the author has birthed through months and sometimes even years of VERY hard work.
I wouldn’t trade my job for ANYTHING! 🙂
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