Earlier this summer, I put together a proposal for a new book.
It’s a subject that I’ve been wanting to talk about for a long time, but I only now felt ready to write about it. I worked hard with my wonderful literary agent, Lisa Jackson of Alive Literary Agency, to craft a proposal that captured the book. Then she began sending it to publishers, and I waited anxiously (notice I didn’t say “patiently”) for the response.
When the replies began coming in, I was stunned. The reaction to this project was better than anything I could have hoped for. We ended up with over half a dozen offers, almost all from imprints of Big 5 publishing houses, and all from teams whose work I respected and admired.
Having to figure out which group was the right fit for this particular project was honestly one of the most agonizing decisions I have had to make in my life, but it eventually became clear that this book was meant to be brought to life in one place. And so it is with great joy and no small amount of awkward giddiness that I can finally tell you:
I HAVE SIGNED A TWO-BOOK DEAL WITH ZONDERVAN!!!!
Zondervan publishes books by Ann Voskamp, Rick Warren, Simone Biles, Shauna Niequist, Melanie Shankle, Alli Worthington, and many other folks who are doing great work, and I’m honored to be in such company.
I’m so excited about this that I took a picture of the moment I signed the contract…
…But, of course, me being me, it turned out that I signed and returned the wrong version of the contract, and then I forgot to take a picture again when I finally got to the right one. So my memento of the deal is a picture of me signing an invalid document.
Welcome to my world.
Anyway! The book is a story that’s deeply personal to me:
It is a memoir about how I went from thinking I never wanted to have a family to having six babies in eight years, even while facing serious medical issues. But I’m hoping to make the story bigger than just tales of failed battles with scorpions and eulogies for Shaun the Sheep’s presence on Netflix (although there will be plenty of stories along those lines — and I’ll have to check the contract to see where Zondervan stands on discussions of Trucknutz).
In my mind, this is not as much a story about having a lot of kids as it is a story about opening your life to other people.
It’s the tale of how I learned that opening your life to others means that everything will get noisy and chaotic, but that it is in this mess that you’ll find real joy.
It will chronicle my journey to figuring out how to pursue my passions and love my family and not flog myself with guilt every minute of every day while doing it.
And, most of all, I hope this book will strike a chord with anyone — whether they’re married or single, whether they have zero kids or ten — who has ever stumbled into the realization that sometimes the life you need is not the life you would have originally chosen for yourself.
The book is inspired by a quote from the husband of my favorite saint, St. Frances of Rome, who said to her at the end of his life: “My life has been one beautiful dream of purest happiness. God has given me so much in your love.”
St. Frances of Rome always imagined she’d be a nun. She was introverted and intellectual and convent life seemed to suit her perfectly. God’s plans were different than her own, though, and she ended up married with children during a tumultuous time. Yet it was through all of these unexpected twists and turns that she saw that God’s plans are always better than our own, and that when we truly open our hearts to others, our lives and the lives of those we love will become “one beautiful dream.”
As I begin the adventure of writing this story with a two-hour daily radio show and six homeschooled kids, I hope I’ll have her prayers, and I hope I’ll have yours as well.
. . .
[Quote image from the fabulous When Beauty Met Truth shop]