The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading was originally Charity’s solo project. I fell in love with her story the first time she let me read it and I pushed hard for her to make the revisions that a prospective agent suggested. Charity declined to make those changes until May of 2007.
That’s when my 21 year old son was diagnosed with tongue cancer. In those first days after the diagnosis and original surgery, his prognosis was grim at best – and Charity was a huge support to me. Her inbox was always open.
After a week or so I sent her an email thanking her for being such a good friend. She responded back right away, telling me that she wished she could do more – but that we lived so far apart (I’m in Indiana. Charity lives in Minnesota.) it wasn’t like she could pop down the street and deliver a hotdish to me.
But the next day, she did exactly that. She sent another email. In it, she invited me to join a private online group for just the two of us. She’d named the group Hotdish. There was a message waiting for me when I visited the group.
It said, “Remember that story? The one about the geeky cheerleaders? What if we worked on it together?”
Charity knew I needed something to think about besides my son being so sick. She knew I needed money too. She proposed that we revise the novel together, then try to get an agent for it.
If we were successful and the agent could sell the novel, I could use my part of the advance to help pay my son’s rapidly mounting medical bills.
Over the next few weeks, Charity and I worked on the novel together. By the time my son was scheduled for surgery to remove the cancer, we had revised most of the book. While my son was in the hospital, Charity created a new query letter and mailed it to a list of agents.
My son’s surgery was successful – and so was Charity’s query letter! We had a lot of interest immediately and, within a couple of months, we were working with an agent to further revise the manuscript.
My son started to recover. And, by the time his doctor said everything would be okay, our agent had sold The Geek Girl’s Guide to Cheerleading to Simon Pulse!