I am out of town today–going to Denver for a retreat and the Christian Booksellers’ Convention. But, as promised, here are your questions and answers:

Betsy asked: What spiritual lesson did you take from this book?

Angie answers: I think IT’S the lesson I mentioned earlier–about not being so caught up in prophecy that we forget about reaching the people around us today. I’ll be honest–when I started writing THE IMMORTAL, I wanted it to be a prophecy novel. But then I realized the futility of what Asher was doing, and how, in his obsession, he kept missing the true image of what grace was all about. So I changed the focus of the book and took the same lesson away for myself.

Betsy also asked: Two questions so far 🙂 I have not read that story. So when I read about the Wandering Jew. I had not thought of that myth but I had thought of John the beloved who is believed by some to live until Jesus comes again. So my first question is did you find anything about that in your research? The second is for my own curiosity. Is it a positive sign when someone clasps your hand in his and surrounds it with his other hand?

Angie answers: the rumor about John comes from John 21:22ff–in which John himself clarifies that Jesus didn’t MEAN that John would remain alive, it was strictly a rhetorical question. Tradition does tell us that John outlived the other disciples and died of old age–the only disciple not to die a martyr’s death.

About that handshake–it’s typically called a “politicians’s handshake.” If given by someone you know well, it’s warm and endearing. If given by someone you don’t know well, this is someone who is trying too hard . . . and the handshake usually comes off as insincere.

Dana asked: Can you give us a list of these books that you’d recommend? There are sooooooooo many books on writing out there!!

Angie answers: If you’re talking about books on body language, I’d recommend READING PEOPLE by Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and HOW TO READ A PERSON LIKE A BOOK by Gerard Nierenberg and Henry Calero. Both are excellent.

Deborah asked: How many people proofread a book before it goes out?

Angie answers: I can only answer for myself and my publishers (but I’ve published with a LOT of companies): First of all, the author reads it. Myself, I read it between 4-5 times before I submit it, then I’ll read it after my substantive edit letter, and read it again at the galley stage.

Then there is at least one, often two editors who read it–for the substantitive (big picture or macro) edit, followed by the line editing (micro) edit. Then there are copyeditors who go through with a fine tooth comb–at least one of those. Then some companies hire people to proof after that. It’s sent back to the author so he/she can proofread the galleys, often called “first pages,” while someone at the company is proofing it, too.

Those are the people whose JOB it is to read and catch mistakes. But often you’ll have other in-house people reading for fun. (You might be surprised that designers and cover folks don’t usually read the manuscript.) Some sales folk will read it. And all those people who read for endorsement? They’re reading it, and sometimes they’ll point out obvious errors (at least, I’m always grateful when they do).

There are some mistakes that just slip by everyone–like Karl/Kurt. (That’s why I like to have the computer read my manuscripts back to me. My ear will often catch mistakes that my dizzy eyes gloss over.) And there are some publishing houses that don’t do nearly all the editing/proofing that I’ve outlined above, but that’s the typical process at a large publishing house.

Why do some typos still slip through? Because, as my pal Alton Gansky says, if you have a 100,000 word book that’s 99.9 percent perfect, you still have room for 100 mistakes. Ouch. We try to catch ’em, but sometimes we don’t.

Well, I’m happy to report that I finished the second draft of THE NATIVITY STORY right before my July fourth company arrived. I’m going to enjoy myself in Denver, then come back home to polish up the Nativity and do final revisions on THE ELEVATOR.

Thanks for coming with me on another book-of-the-month adventure!



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