I’m a neat-nick. There, I said it.
So, the day circa 2003 when I saw my daughter and her two friends baking in my kitchen, I twitched a little. Eggshell here… flour there… but, I saw how much fun they were having and thought it would be great if these girls had some kind of cooking club (at someone else’s house…jk). And that thought — “a cooking club” — was like a match scratched against a rough surface …
Like most writers, I suspect, once there’s a spark the mind goes and goes and goes…
Here’s how mine went:
No, I can do better than that: A Secret Cooking Club! Yeah, that’s it. Anything secret is better.
Why is it secret? Hmmm…
Who’s in the club? A girl named Kelly Quinn—yeah, that’s a cute name. And she has two friends, partners in crime. What are their names? Darby. That’s a cute name too, and not very common. And Hannah. Darby and Hannah are in Kelly Quinn’s Secret Cooking Club.
And there you have it… I was going to write a tween book called Kelly Quinn’s Secret Cooking Club.
I wrote the first draft quickly, in a few weeks. Then I rewrote it for a year. I thought it was good. But then again, I’d thought The Untitled Vegetable Book and my big pharma thriller were good too, (see episode 1). For the first time I queried a long strategic list of literary agents and one responded. I was both surprised and hurt when she asked me to rewrite my manuscript. But, after hearing her out, her advice made sense and I rewrote the book, mostly the ending, according to her specifications. She signed me as a client and sold the book to Simon & Schuster.
So, maybe books are better written in a dirty kitchen. (The imperfect rhyme in that sentence was unintentional, but catchy.)
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