|Liz Waniewski, Senior Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers|
|Chris Richman, agent with Upstart Crow Literary Agency|
|Alvina Ling, Senior Editor at Little, Brown Books|
"If I hadn’t promised Daddy that I’d try and stick it out, I’d be on the first bus back to South Carolina. Wish I could hide under the linen tablecloth hanging to the floor like I used to. But I’m not a kid anymore.
"Ginny scolded me before dinner. 'Katie, you should wash your hair and put on a clean blouse before going downstairs.' But like always, I didn’t mind her advice. Just because she’s three years older than me she thinks she knows everything. Miss Smarty Pants. Almost as bad as Grandmother herself.
"So here I sit in my grandparent’s house in fancy Myers Park, grubby as a cotton picker. It doesn’t matter I’ve been unpacking boxes and trunks all day. Ginny has been too, but somehow she looks fresh and pretty. I notice my broken, dirty fingernails and I shove my hands into my skirt pockets. At least I changed out of my dungarees.
"'Anna Katherine!' Grandmother’s voice is sharp. 'Would you please fold your hands so that Granddaddy can say grace?'"
* * * * * * * * * * *
Two hundred words that I spent hours on. What would the panel say? Would this be enough to grab their interest and make them want to read more? Would my manuscript make it through this first critical reading?
I wanted to hear their comments but was scared. The last time my first page was read -- from a previous version and prior to developing this plot line -- was dismissed as uninteresting. My heart pounded. Here are some of their comments that I scribbled as they talked: