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“Wanted: A needle swift enough to sew this poem into a blanket.” –Charles Simic, Serbian-American Poet
Several years ago, I talked to my agent and great friend Meg Ruley about the book, but the story, like me, was a work in progress. I needed the perspective of time and my cold writer’s eye to transform the story from a self indulgent rumination into a novel readers could truly embrace and relate to.
I also needed to find a way to conclude the story that felt true and satisfying. This is something I struggled with for a long time and when I finally hit on the right ending, it was glad day chez Wiggs. At last, I got it right. I proudly submitted the piece to my publisher, only to hear the dreaded words, “This ending doesn’t work. You have to change it.” After much gnashing of teeth and ritual smearing of ashes, I realized that this was true. Back to the drawing board. The perfect solution came from the perfect source, my own daughter, the ever fabulous Elizabeth Wiggs Maas, now grown and married and an author in her own right.
She didn’t give me the answer, but she reminded me of the true meaning of the goodbye quilt in the story. It is a record of one woman’s days as a mom, and as such, it was an unfinished story.
Whether readers of the novel will agree or not remains to be seen, but for me, it’s the grace note at the end if a long and beautiful piece.
IMPORTANT: You can enter to win a $500 travel voucher to bring your college kid home–or to take you anywhere you want to go. All you need is to find your favorite quote in THE GOODBYE QUILT and you’re good to go. Details to follow so stay tuned!
At the end of the novel, you’ll fine a spectacular pattern for the original Goodbye Quilt, created by the ever-talented Joan of Cards.
Everybody’s doing a “Year’s Best” – here’s mine, in completely random order:
- best romance novel to re-read: The Windflower by Laura London (aka Tom and Sharon Curtis)
- second-best re-read: Hummingbird by LaVyrle Spencer
- best best-of list to feature a book by my favorite author (aka, me)
- funniest YA novel: Saving Juliet by Suzanne Selfors (there is some big upcoming news on this book and I can’t wait for Suz to spill the beans!)
- coolest Nora Roberts book: The Hollow
- novel most likely to send you into therapy: Cost by Roxana Robinson
- best sobfest: Last Kiss by Luanne Rice
- funniest: Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips
- most inspiring fiction: Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber
- best love-your-body women’s fiction: Bikini Season by Sheila Roberts
- best category romance novel: a tie–The Princess and the Cowboy by Lois Faye Dyer, It’s That Time of Year by Christine Wenger
- best reissued novel for kids: Looking for Bapu by Anjali Banerjee
- most overused device in literary fiction: a dead or missing child
- best serial thriller: Tailspin by Catherine Coulter
- best book you probably haven’t read but should: People of the Book
- stranger-than-fiction nonfiction: Identical Strangers by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein
- best photographs: Life: The Classic Collection
- biggest slog but worth the effort: The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
- cutest photographs with coolest story: The Daily Coyote by Shreve Stockton
- best ending: Run by Ann Patchett
- best holiday themed novel: The Letters by Luanne Rice, tied with A Virgin River Christmas by Robyn Carr
- best escape: Still Summer by Jacquelyn Mitchard
- beach read most likely to make you forget you’re at the beach: The Secret Between Us by Barbara Delinsky
- book that’s making all the “best-of” lists that people only pretend to have read: A Mercy by Toni Morrison
- favorite best-of list
- best-of list of books you probably won’t read
- best first novel: Oxygen by Carol Cassella
- best not-yet-published novel: Dog Days by Elsa Watson
- best book about books: Book Lust and More Book Lust by Nancy Pearl