We’ve all heard the phrase “perfect timing.” It’s when everything seems to line up correctly at the same time.
In the publishing world, I used to hear people say landing a publishing contract is about “getting the right manuscript to the right editor at the right time.” I could work endlessly to make my manuscript the best story possible, but if it didn’t line up with those other two, I was stuck still trying for perfect timing.
Those three things finally lined up for me when I was offered a contract for my first published novel. Like a River was released 3 weeks before the 150th anniversary of the Sultana disaster. That disaster was part of the novel, which made its release date “perfect timing.” But I had worked on that novel for years in advance of that sesquicentennial event with no expectations of a contract, which made it more coincidence than timing.
Not on Fifth Street, my newest novel just released this month, seemed to have near-perfect timing. The 80th anniversary of the record-breaking Ohio River flood, which the novel is based on, was in January of this year.
The unplanned timeliness of the novel’s content is a bit more disturbing than lucky. In a season when flood event after flood event (those resulting from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and Nate, to name a few) fills the headlines, a story about a flood fits into the discussion. A somewhat scary coincidence.
Timing does not appear to be within my control. I don’t think about it when I write. I base my novels and short stories on interesting incidents in history that intrigue me. I will continue to write that way and leave timing to a Higher Power.