OUR LADY is Officially Out on Submission

I’m very pleased to be able to type that title, as OUR LADY OF QUESTIONABLE MORALS (there you go, folks: the full title at last!) was one of the trickiest books for me to finally get to this point. I first wrote a book called GET CUPID about a teenage delinquent and his faithful sidekick teaming up with some other magic users to save Valentine’s Day. It was a fun book, but extremely haphazard. My agents said it was just too much for one book, and looking over at it, I agreed.

It was a not-fun discovery to make. I’d spent a lot of time and effort on that book, and there were things about it that I really loved. The main characters, for one thing. They were cool and fun and light, and I’d gotten to know them very well over the course of those edits. The thought of just mothballing them all wasn’t appealing.

So I decided to revise GET CUPID again. And I began the project, trying to decide what to keep and what to throw out, but it didn’t take long before I threw my hands up in disgust. “It would be easier to just write a new book from scratch,” I said, then paused, because it was a really good idea.

Eldin and Braces (the two main characters of GET CUPID) met at a school for the magically delinquent called Our Lady of Questionable Morals. (Growing up, there was this convent(?) sign I’d always see on the way to church: Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart. I liked to play a game each time I saw it: try to come up with cool sounding riffs on it. “Our Lady of Questionable Morals” was one of my favorites, and it seemed like a perfect fit to use as the name for an American Hogwarts that’s focused solely on the criminal underworld.)

In GET CUPID, I’d shied away from writing a “school book.” It was still too close to Harry Potter’s glory days, and I worried it would get tossed out as another wannabe. But by the time I was thinking about this new book, Harry Potter had stopped looming as large. What if I just jumped back in time and wrote about how Eldin and Braces met, and how they learned the ropes?

My agents agreed with the idea, and so I was off and running. It still wasn’t a book that wrote itself by any means. I finished the first draft, and there were serious issues with it. In the end, I had to write four drafts to get it to the point where my agents were happy with it, and I was happy as well. Along the way, I feel like it went from something that could be exciting to something that really was great. It had the fun of GET CUPID without the shotgun approach of throwing everything in. Much more focused and less zany.

The final product is just what I’d wanted it to be: Ocean’s Eleven meets Harry Potter. I know comparisons get tossed around like candy these days, but I think this one is pretty spot on. It’s YA, thieves and con artists, a magic school (distinctly American, not British), diverse group of characters, heists, capers . . .

It’s pretty much my favorite book that I’ve written so far. It’s also the first to go on submission where I purposely tried to be funny. Being funny is a side effect for me a lot of the time. This was a book where I really wanted humor to play a role. (Any book that involves talking panda bears better not take itself too seriously, you know.)

Anyway. It’s on submission. My twelfth completed novel. What does that mean? It means I’ve begun the long waiting game yet again, as we see if any editors out there share the same opinion about the book that my agents and I do. That can go quickly, and it can also take years. I personally am hoping for the former, but we all know the latter is a distinct possibility.

I won’t be updating about OUR LADY until something real happens. Meaning, it sells. I’ve found worrying about a book once it’s on submission is a recipe for heartburn and disaster. Easier to forget it even exists. In the meantime, I’m revising MAGIC AT 30,000 FEET, and then I have a sci-fi book I’m tweaking for my next project.

Onward and upward!

2 Comments

  • By Matthew, December 14, 2015 @ 6:42 pm

    Good luck! It sounds like a lot of fun and I’d love to read it! 🙂

  • By Bryce Moore, December 15, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

    Thanks!

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