Dear Gerard, Well, I'd be lying if I said I remembered you (sorry--I remember books but not names!) but I love your subject line and your e-mail is compelling. Send me as much of the novel as you want. And a resume. Will I be reading alone or is the novel out with other agents? Thanks, Jody
Dear Jody: It's been awhile. Four years? I can't keep track. I've attached the first chapter as an .rtf file, if you don't hate it, I'll send you a bunch more in the regular mail tomorrow. You're the only one who's looking at it at this precise moment, yes. Thanks. G.
Dear Gerard, Thanks so much for sending me Ophra Wimsfree & The Maynnaise Man. Your writing is fresh and compelling, and I adore Giselle. But I found myself thrown out of the reading experience by the religious and inspirational messages that crept in and got increasingly heavy-handed, and oddly ignored by Giselle. Sadly, I think I'm not the right agent for the novel. But I wish you all the best of success--unless, that is, the spiritual message is actually a MacGuffin, in which case by all means send me the rest of the book. All best, Jody Rein
Hey, Jody, a MacGuffin and not a MacGuffin, yes. How's that for a MacGuffinesque answer? Here's a synopsis which I may or may not already have sent you. I toned down the "religious" stuff, but didn't eliminate it. I've sent the latest version at their request to a couple way heavy-duty editors. If it's not your cup of tea, that's cool. It's going to be a tough book to sell because of the Oprah factor, but, perhaps also because of the Oprah factor, a million people will want to read it. Let it settle awhile and if you decide you want to see the complete manuscript, I'd be happy to send it to you. Thanks again. G.
Hi Gerard, OK--do send me the rest. I searched for a synopsis after I finished the chunk of ms. you sent me, but found nothing, not even my original request to see the ms, although I do remember a couple of e-mails. Either I got hit on the head myself, or there wasn't much correspondence to be found. Can you also send me your bio and your original pitch letter or anything else I might need to see? You're a fine, fun writer. (I thought Abraham was going to help Giselle see the light of Jesus, go to church and forgive her mom, The End. Obviously not.) Best, Jody
Dear Gerard, Well, now I have read The Mayonnaise Man in its entirety (save those last 50 pages) and certainly it didn't end up being the fundamentalist propaganda I feared! I wish I could say that the reading experience changed my mind utterly, and that now I know I can sell your work to a major house who will lovingly and professionally publish it. Alas, I cannot. I remain firm in my belief that you are a marvelous storyteller. I just wish the story told had continued to captivated my reader's heart, and it didn't. I understand what you're doing, I think, from a literary point of view, but the extended dream tried my patience as a reader. Perhaps you're too good--Giselle is such a wonderful character that losing her to an incongruous and unbelievable dream where she turns so wholly into an ineffectual onlooker is just too frustrating. Maybe, now that I think about it, I don't understand after all, from a literary point of view, what you're doing. I think maybe this book is over my head, that if you are using metaphor and allegory to make points about the world, I'm missing those points. What an original romp, though. I hope you find an agent who understands this book better than I do, and can help you find an enthusiastic publisher. You're a terrific and imaginative writer. Maybe you ought to go straight to Farrar Strauss or Knopf or Susan Kamil at The Dial Press and let the dense agents of more linear and transparent literature be damned. With all good wishes, and many thanks for sharing the Mayo with me, Jody
Hey, Jody, thanks for taking a look. An incongruous and unbelievable dream it is, yes indeedy, as dreams are wont to be, but so were "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Alice in Wonderland," as I recall. You're very likely less dense than most editors. The publishing industry will either be up for an original romp or it will not. The more linear and transparent literature I've heard about being written these days seems way more preposterous than anything in this, but, hey, is there any accounting for taste? Leslie Gelbman & Sally Richardson are reading the sucker all on their own. I'm sure they'll diss it too. Would that I could bring myself to write the sort of thing editors think people want to read. I can't. Oh, well. You're a sweetie pie. Stay away from them forest fires, man. Thanks again. G.