Not Every Book Follows the Standard Path to Publishing

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

I’ve been anticipating  this week since April of last year. This Mother’s Day week brings the release of The Waiting: The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up, a nonfiction story that has already brought joy and tears to most everyone who hears about it. Millions more will be introduced to it Friday, May 9, when the book’s subjects and the author will appear on The Today Show. (Note: The day of the airing is always subject to change.)

Several individuals have asked me how I came to represent The Waiting. And for those of who aren’t familiar with the story, I think you’ll find the way I worked with the author to create the manuscript instructive. Not every book follows a standard path to being published. The Waiting is a case in point.

Last spring, I received an email query from a woman I didn’t know, Cathy LaGrow. She summarized the book she was writing, with these words:

In 1928, sixteen-year-old Minka was working full-time on her family dairy farm in South Dakota. One day while on a walk in the woods, she was raped by a transient and became pregnant. Determined to keep the story a secret, her parents sent her out of town to have the baby. Minka gave birth the following spring, cuddled her daughter for five weeks and then released her for adoption. Years later, she married a troubled World War II pilot and started a family. But she never stopped longing for word of her lost child.

For nearly eight decades, Minka kept hidden a black and white photograph of her first baby. She often pulled the picture out and quietly prayed over it. On May 22, 2006, her daughter’s seventy-seventh birthday, Minka had a special request. God, I’d like to see her before I die. I don’t want to bother her, or interrupt her life. I just want to see her.

Six weeks later, Minka’s phone rang. A woman named Ruth Lee was on the line–she was Minka’s long-lost daughter. Mother and daughter were reunited within weeks.

I sat up a little straighter as I read the query. The story sounded so touching.

I contacted Cathy and found out that she is Minka’s granddaughter (the daughter of Minka’s second child) and the friend of several of our agency’s clients. I asked to see the manuscript.

As I read it, I realized that Cathy was “in the weeds” with the story. There was so much to tell of her family’s history and so much occurred in Minka’s long life, that Cathy didn’t know what to include and what to leave out.

I offered to represent her but suggested that she work with a collaborator to help her sift through the wealth of material, to structure the story with an arc, and to employ more novel techniques in the telling. Cathy, who is a good writer on her own, realized she needed that sort of help for this book and agreed.

I knew I needed to move rapidly to place the book and to get it published because Minka was 101. Her reunion with Ruth had been videotaped, but how much more wonderful if Minka remained healthy enough to appear in person with her long-lost daughter on TV talk shows.

So I phoned Cindy Coloma, one of my clients who is a best-selling novelist as well as a collaborator, mere days after she had given birth. I expressed hope that she would agree to collaborate with Cathy and explained that they would need to start to work on the proposal right away. The thought of giving up a precious newborn was vivid to Cindy as she pictured having to hand over the little guy who was in her arms as we talked. She readily agreed to work with Cathy.

The project was complex from the get-go. I had to be approved to represent the project by Brian Lee, Ruth’s son who had located Minka and master-minded the mother-daughter reunion; meet Minka over the phone; put together all the legal documents that Minka, Ruth, Brian, Cindy and Cathy had to sign, and puzzle out how the finances would work.

Then I pitched The Waiting at ICRS to pretty much every nonfiction editor I met with. Every time I told Minka’s story, when I reached the part of their reunion when Minka utters her first words in 77 years face-to-face to Ruth, all  five of us Books & Such agents would get teary-eyed. For those words were so full of mother love and longing: “You’re just as beautiful as I thought you would be.”Minka and Ruth reunite after 77 years.

The book ended up being published by Tyndale House, where everyone we’ve worked with has loved the

story, believed in it, and understood the importance of a fast writing schedule and a Mother’s Day release. The contract was signed in August 2013, and Cathy and Cindy blitzed their way through the writing, despite the holidays and Cathy’s severe bout with pneumonia. Tyndale set up  a photo shoot at Minka’s house for the cover, which is of Minka cradling the photo that she’s treasured for almost 80 years–of her and Ruth the day Minka gave up her baby for adoption.

Here’s a trailer for The Waiting,  if you’d like to take a look.

As this blog post shows, sometimes an amazing book comes to an agent as a diamond in the rough. The agent has to bring together a lot of moving pieces for the book to get published. It’s a daunting task because the agent, in a sense, constructs the framework everyone works within to make the book happen until the publisher takes over the process. With  so many personalities, it only takes one individual to decide not to be a team player for the framework to fall apart. That never happened with The Waiting.

Does anything in this process surprise you? Are you curious about some aspect of the process you’d like to know about it? In what ways does this case study encourage you?


What happens when a literary agent represents a diamond in the rough? Click to tweet.

Does a manuscript have to be perfect for an agent to represent it? Click to tweet.

A different path to publishing a book. Click to tweet.

92 Responses

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  1. There are two great stories here: the birth of/reunion with a child and the birth/publication of the book. Both reflect the guidance of God’s hand. Thank you, Janet, for sharing these uplifting stories of hope–perfect for a Monday morning.

  2. Anne Love says:

    I’m completely amazed by everything in this process, but then I step back and think of our Great Author I’m not at all surprised by this story. We’ve had an adoption reunion story in my husband’s family that God clearly wrote, and every story I hear or read has the same resounding quality of redemption. I can’t wait to read this one. Thank for working so hard to share it! How wonderful.

  3. Jill Kemerer says:

    Well, I’m getting all teary-eyed just reading this post. I can’t wait to read this book!!

  4. This sounds like a beautifully touching story. I can understand the challenges the author faced in bringing a story of decades and several lives together. And true stories can be the most difficult to tell. Sometimes when a story touches so deeply, the author advances to touch those tender places and put them into words. Then, at the hurt she encounters, she retreats again…

    • Janet Grant says:

      We were fortunate in that Minka loved what Cathy wrote. She made only a couple of itsy-bitsy changes to the completed manuscript. Minka was brave to entrust her story to someone else and not to shy away from any of the details.

  5. I appreciate the idea that Cathy didn’t have the work perfect. When “in the weeds” may have turned another away, you fell in love with the beautiful story and did your best to move heaven and earth to make it perfectly suitable for publication.

    It is a beautiful story. But as an adoptive mother, crazy in love with her children … waited years for them … is it okay to admit my heart selfishly sinks when I hear these stories?

    Thank you for being one to look at the story. That is hopeful.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Shelli, Ruth was raised by a beautiful couple and gave little thought to being adopted. But her parents were dead by the time she sought out Minka, and Ruth did so to learn more about her family’s medical history. She stunned to learn she was the product of a rape and had given little thought to who her mother would be.
      Part of the beauty of the story, is that her family welcomed Minka into their midst. These are all such wonderful people.

  6. The point of the story needing an arc is well-taken; if you look at the Amazon reviews of newly self-published memoirs you’ll find quite a few that say that the story didn’t GO anywhere.

    A memoir (or any work of nonfiction) has to have its framework chosen to reflect a coherent and purposeful story.

    Framework is timeframe, what to put in, and most importantly – what to leave out.

    What’s surprising about the story of the publication is the degree to which you, the agent, worked to put the deal together. As an unrepresented aspiring writer, I sometimes see agents as Olympian figures who can pick and choose from worthy projects that are ready to go, “out of the box”.

    It’s nice to hear that a good story can touch the Titans’ hearts.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Ha, I’m not sure I’m a Titan, nor would every agent do what was necessary to get this story published. It’s a lot of work and a lot of responsibility. When an agent assembles a team, everyone on the team just assumes she’ll get a wonderful deal for them.
      Last year I put together three projects this way, and every one of them gave me sleepless nights as I thought about how much each team and I had invested in trying to get the book published. What if I couldn’t pull it off?
      I’m thankful to say I did place each one.

  7. Okay, I admit it. I had tears in my eyes reading this story. I can’t wait to read the book. It’s good to hear the way this book came to publication. It’s always reassuring to know that agents are willing to look beyond the surface of what they see to find the beauty of the story. I love hearing how you worked with Cathy make her story shine.

    • Janet Grant says:

      An important part of the equation was Cathy’s being open to working with someone else to make the manuscript shine. If her ego had been tender, she wouldn’t have wanted to go there.

  8. Providence happens.
    Love, love, love it. Can’t wait to read this one, and knowing both the story and Cindy Coloma, it will be fantastic!
    Thank you for this backstory.

  9. Sandra Wheeler says:

    Just reading this blog makes me want to grab this book, go somewhere quite and feed my soul. What courage it takes to start a new project, especially if it is a labor of love, from the heart. I will be buying this book.

  10. Micky Wolf says:

    What a beautiful story, and post, Janet. I’m definitely interested in reading the book. The theme of waiting, interwoven with the ‘action’ of persevering, prayer and hope, is so poignant–in Minka’s life and in bringing the memoir to publication. Thank you for sharing some of the details of this incredible journey! 🙂

    • Janet Grant says:

      Part of the waiting was that the family refused all requests for media interviews when this story went viral after it appeared on the AP wire service. They didn’t know how to respond to the requests, including those to show the reunion video, so they just said no. I find most people just say yes and thereby “use up” media opportunities, making it challenging for a publisher to convince the media to revisit the story.

  11. Cathy LaGrow says:

    Something that jumped into my head, while reading this: writers HAVE to be able to trust! In God, their story, and others. I worked on this book constantly for well over a year before I found an agent…the reason I kept going, through lots of rejections, was because I believed in the story 100%.

    Then, during my first conversation with you, Janet, you said, “The book needs to start on the day of the picnic.” This meant tossing out many chapters I’d labored over, but it took me about 30 seconds to see you were right. And now, the book starts the day of the picnic.

    Then, at one early point after we’d hired Cindy, she and I disagreed (politely) about something. She dug in her heels (politely), so much so that we ended up on a conference call with you. She was adamant…I just couldn’t see it. I decided to go her way, even though I STILL couldn’t see it. And (drum roll) she was 100% right. As I admitted to her later. Although I told her not to get the big head about it. 🙂

    A final point to remember, when things get discouraging while searching for an agent or publisher: you don’t need 70 agents to fall in love with your story…you just need one. And you don’t need 7 publishers to be fighting over your manuscript…you just need one to believe in it and to bring it to beautiful life.

    So appreciate you, Janet!! Happy Monday, everyone.

    • Lori Benton says:

      What you said about the writing/publishing process requiring trust, it’s so true. My editor is brilliant at what she does, and I’ve learned to trust her, but ultimately it’s God I trust to be in control of every detail.

      And I cannot wait to get my hands on THE WAITING. I hope my pre-order shows up tomorrow.

    • Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your struggles in this publishing journey! With your heart all over it, I can only imagine how hard it would be to throw out chapters. “You only need one” … thank you for encouraging!

    • Cathy, your comment spoke to my heart this morning.

      “Writers HAVE to be able to trust.” YES!! And believing in our story when our words seem to languish is key.

      With God at the helm, roadblocks crumble with His supernatural wrecking ball!

      Praying blessings over Minka and Ruth—I know their story is going to change lives.

    • It’s really a wonderful story, and I’m glad you believed in it enough to bring it into the light.

      Along with trust, though, it takes the discipline to acquire the skills needed to work in the story’s behalf.

      Janet said in her post that you’re a good writer (that’s obvious from what you wrote above, as well). But without the ability to present the story in a way that caught Janet’s heart, without the discipline you needed to acquire those writing skills…it might not have happened.

      But I’m glad you had them, glad Janet divined the true value of the story, and delighted that such a compelling tale of hope and love will live to inspire generations to come.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Cathy, if you’re willing, could you tell us a bit about your journey before you sent me the query? I’m sure that would be such an encouragement to others.
      And, yes, Cathy is a very good writer. As a matter of fact, when I read the final version of The Waiting, I couldn’t tell which sections Cathy wrote and which Cindy wrote. They made quite an amazing team.

      • Yes, please Cathy, I would love to hear more of your journey while writing the story and then querying. Deeply held personal stories are not easy to write! What got you through moments of doubt?

      • Cathy LaGrow says:

        Yes, Janet, I need to write about the journey! Let me know if you want that…otherwise, I’ll put it on my site at some point. 🙂

      • Cathy LaGrow says:

        Hi Angela…

        I’ll write more about the journey soon! As far as doubt…I never doubted in the story (which is what kept me going), but there was one point, shortly before we got the contract, when I got discouraged. Cindy was an absolute godsend, then…she talked me off a figurative ledge or two! She has tons of experience behind her, and is also just a very calm, nurturing person. I couldn’t have finished the book without her. 🙂

    • After connecting with an agent, did you feel like you were in a whirlwind in regards to getting all the pieces of the project moving at once? I imagine having Janet at the helm gave you confidence when you needed it most though.

      Praying for you and your family as you display the glory of God through His story.

      • Cathy LaGrow says:

        Thank you so much, Jenni!

        Janet at the helm was crucial, but yes…it was a whirlwind. The project was fast-tracked by the publisher, so we got the contract in September, and the manuscript was due by Jan 6 (with the book in stores exactly 4 months later!) That schedule is about 3 times faster than normal, from what I hear. I literally worked on the book 7 days a week from Sept 1st to the end of the year. (And that’s after already working on it for nearly 2 years.)

        I’m a very healthy person, but in December my body shut down…I got Norovirus, the flu, and then a bad case of pneumonia. I nearly cracked ribs with the coughing, so it was too painful to sit at my desk…I’d lie in bed with my laptop propped on my stomach, editing. We got it done, but my body still hasn’t recovered! 🙂

  12. I can see why the summary of the book had you intrigued, Janet. It brought tears to my eyes too. The whole process is amazing, and it’s even more amazing that Minka is 101 and survived to hold her story in her hands. I can’t wait to read the book and see what happened to this incredible woman between 1928 and 2014. Wow.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Minka is totally amazing. Last year she joined a gym to stay in shape. Her first day at the gym she rode an elliptical bike for 20 minutes. Uh, I think I could have made it 2 minutes.

  13. Thanks for sharing, Janet! I’m going to have to read this book now. 🙂

  14. Angela Mills says:

    This story has me crying already, I can’t wait to read the book. Stories like this need to be told and everyone involved was blessed to have you bring it all together, and in time for Minka to read it! Amazing!

    • Janet Grant says:

      I’m so happy Minka gets to not only hold the book but also to be interviewed on national television. And the book “sponsored” two times in one year Ruth visiting Minka–for the photo shoot and for the taping of The Today Show. That probably made Minka happier than anything else. (Ruth lives in Wisconsin; Minka in California.)

  15. Janet, your post, Minka’s story, the book trailer—and God’s divine providence leaves me speechless.

    Just goes to show when God orchestrates the timing, the improbable shifts to “done deal.”

    I’ll be reviewing The Waiting on my blog in the weeks ahead and I can’t wait to share this miraculous story of faith and perseverance far and wide!

    I’m in awe of you and our entire Books and Such team for spotting the “diamonds in the rough.” Polishing gems is a God-given art.

    Thank you for sharing our Monday dose of encouragement!

  16. Laura Frantz says:

    This is such a beautiful post and it’s wonderful to get a behind-the-scenes look at all that has transpired in getting Minka’s story told. I am so moved by the cover – those hands remind me of my granny’s hands as she lived to be almost 100. I know this book will touch lives and hearts in untold ways and I can’t wait to read it personally. Thanks, Janet, for such a great post!

    • Janet Grant says:

      Minka’s hands are one of the threads running through the story. They were damaged early in her life from carrying heavy buckets of milk.
      Thanks for your kind words, Laura. I think you would like this book a lot.

  17. Lori says:

    Thanks for sharing Janet. I got emotional just reading this. It’s a wonderful Mother’s Day story!

  18. What an amazing story! I predict 🙂 this book will take off. Looking forward to reading it.

    I don’t think I’ve seen anyone else ask but is Minka still alive? You said the book’s subjects would be on the Today Show, right? I know I’ll be tuning in.

  19. This story resurfaces so many emotions from my own reunion with my birth mother, a delicate balance of dreams realized and disappointments with reality. I’m anxious to read it. Thank you, Janet, and all who were involved.

    • Janet Grant says:

      I’m sorry your reunion was mixed. Ruth and Minka act like long-lost girlfriends. They tend to have the same taste in clothes (they both like bling) and think a lot alike, which is pretty amazing considering how different their lives have been.

  20. This story is divine, and riveting, and perfect for a Mother’s Day release.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Amen, Jenni.

      • Janet, I have a question about long-term career path for a project like this. I’ve heard, (not specific to Cathy’s experience) that sometimes a NF author has one book in them, and then perhaps they speak on this topic or become involved in a relevant ministry. Maybe they don’t write another book, but instead fine tune their reach to niche markets as they proceed.
        I’m interested to hear your take on this. Thanks!

      • Janet Grant says:

        Jenni, often the writer of a personal narrative nonfiction book does focus on that one book and develops a ministry based on it. But that depends on the writer. In Cathy’s case, she knows she wants to write other books; The Waiting will be a launching pad for her writing career. I’ve represented books that I was pretty sure the writer had one strong book in her, and I saw the situation for what it was. The writer didn’t always realize that, and it took some time for him/her to figure it out, but publishing does have ways of communicating that reality.

  21. Kristen Joy Wilks says:

    Oh my goodness I teared up too, just reading your blog.

  22. Becky Jones says:

    What a gem. Thanks for giving us all a peek into the beautiful backstory. I knew agents worked hard, but this…this is over the top!

    • Janet Grant says:

      Becky, if I needed to go down this path with every book I represented, I’d be ground down to a nub. I put together three projects last year in the same way as The Waiting. Let’s just say I was feeling pretty puny by the end of the year. These projects aren’t for the faint of heart.

  23. Jim Lupis says:

    A very heart warming post, Janet, and certainly a very encouraging one. It’s wonderful to see how the Lord put all the right people together to create and give birth to the book. Once again, it proves that an agent is more than an agent, and a writer is more than a writer. We are children and vessels of our incredible Lord and Savior.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Jim, amen. As I look at The Waiting’s publishing path, I see how those who had tender hearts for story were the ones God used to move the story onto the next step toward publishing. This book “waited” each step of the way until the next tenderhearted person came along.

  24. Jenny Leo says:

    All choked up here in Idaho, too. What a beautiful, uplifting story. I enjoyed knowing your role behind the scenes too, Janet, as her agent. Your instincts were so correct to choose this story.

    I’ve just finished listening to a (quite old) recorded interview with Jan Karon about the Mitford series, in which she emphasized the role of prayer in her writing and publishing journey. Between that interview and your post today, I realize I have recently been giving short shrift to the power of prayer. Time to get off my chair and on my knees.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Jenny, thanks for sharing about the role prayer played in the Mitford series. I remember that the book was published by a very small Christian publishing house and, between Jan’s savvy marketing, the power of the book, and God, the book’s success blew the roof off the publishing house–in a good way.

  25. Cindy Coloma says:

    Janet, thank you for sharing our amazing journey! I’ve felt sentimental as my baby Griffin turned one and thinking of him being two days old when you called about this project. A year later, I have a little boy taking first steps, and we have a gorgeous book releasing this week!

    There were days when working on The Waiting when I felt Minka’s pain so deeply, I’d take my little guy to bed, hold him tightly and just cry thinking of that day she left her Betty Jane behind and all the years and years of missing her. We were given copies of the more than 200-page adoption file with Minka’s almost 20 years of letters asking about any bit of information about her baby girl. It was heartbreaking, but also beautiful knowing the end of the story.

    Other “lessons” of this project for writers: while Cathy’s query captured Janet, then Janet championed the project through SO many angles, and Tyndale was over-the-top in love with the story (as was I), this is a very rare book journey. Yet every writer can learn from Cathy’s role in it.

    First, Cathy is a voracious reader. She knows good writing, and it was only after I gave her an unpublished short story of mine was she convinced to support me as the collaborator. Cathy also has talent – but this was not only her first book, it is also her family’s story. That was added pressure with two families to write about and over a hundred years to cover in one book!

    Cathy trusted the story as she said, but she also trusted others and didn’t hold so tightly to it that she wasn’t open to listening to professional input – though she digs in her heels when she believes in something, believe me! But sometimes having some direction opens everything up. It can be a matter of not seeing the trees for the forest, not just the forest for the trees. By her reading and talent, she gets the writing craft and would quickly see when it was pointed out where we needed to go.
    Also, I have NEVER been as precise with the final edits and galleys as Cathy was. I thought I’d gone over and over and over it. We were VERY deliberate about every sentence so that several times when the editors changed certain words, we’d come back with why it needed to stay. We often discussed a word! And I was an adverb killer. Any adverb in there was most likely discussed or studied and deemed worthy to live another day. But then when I thought the book was done, Cathy would go over it again! She’d print out those pages and go word by word. That was MY lesson. I have no doubt that Cathy’s off to a fantastic solo writing career. Sadly, she doesn’t need me any more.

    So advice – read a lot, get valued help (writer’s conference, a solid critique group, writing books and classes), and edit sentence by sentence, word by word.

    I do hope you’ll all buy the book! Minka’s story inspired me beyond what I can ever express. The power of prayer, God’s vast redemption and justice, and the scope of a life. Minka was milkmaid with an 8th grade education. She was raped and had little hope of a grand future. This week we’ll all see her interviewed on the Today Show by Jenna Bush Hagar – the daughter of President George W. Bush and granddaughter of President George H. W. Bush.

  26. What a fabulous story. I could barely get through reading it without crying. To me it proves that the right kind of story is worth going after and worth writing. And when God’s hand is in something, great things will happen.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Cheryl, I knew the story was a gem when I first heard it, but my confidence in its power to speak to people grew as I told others about it and saw them tear up as well. That’s the kind of story we all love; one we connect to on an emotive level.

  27. Janet:
    This reminds me of the words in Esther: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). What a testimony to the power of a mother’s prayer – and to the faith you and others showed in making this dream come true! I would love to review this story on my blog as well; is there a way to obtain an advance copy?

    • Janet Grant says:

      Deborah, I would suggest you contact Tyndale to find out about getting a copy of the book. Maggie Rowe is the publicist.

      • Janet –

        You have no idea what fun this morning has been! I’d like to share another twist to the “God-story” that is unraveling so beautifully here.

        When you replied with the Tyndale publicist’s name (Maggie Rowe) a few days ago, I thought to myself, “Hmmm… I used to be in ministry with a Maggie Rowe – how unusual!” I called Tyndale to obtain an advance copy for my review, and left a message for Maggie, not daring to say that we might know each other from 20 years ago. I said only that I was from New England and let her know I was interested in doing a review of the book.

        She returned my call a few minutes later. As we talked, we realized that indeed, she WAS the Maggie who used to live in Massachusetts, and that we had prayed and worked together in ministry in the early 1990’s! I knew her when her hubby was pastoring a church on Cape Cod and she was leading a women’s ministry in our area. She moved back “home” to be with Tyndale and sounds like she’s in the ideal position to use her unique talents!

        It was a true delight to reconnect with her and I do believe God must be chuckling to Himself right about now, as He puts all these connections together! I certainly am!

        Thanks again, for a VERY God-inspired comment on your wonderful blog. I realize you don’t know me very well (yet!), but I am confident that God is orchestrating a far grander symphony of events that anyone here can imagine!

        I look forward to reviewing The Waiting on the His Inscriptions website, and nervously hope my attempt to honor God and this story will help draw a greater audience into His awe-inspiring plan of redemption.

        Blessings to you, and thanks for reading my long (but heartfelt) post!

        Deborah 🙂

      • Janet Grant says:

        Deborah, thanks for letting us know about The Waiting bringing a reunion of you and Maggie. How delightful! And thanks for offering to review The Waiting on your blog.

  28. Probably what surprised me the most about getting this book published is the fact that Cathy was already a “good” writer. So many collaborations are needed because the narrator really has no idea how to write a book. What a relief for you all that Cathy had a solid foundation and was able to work well with both her co-writer and you as her agent, Janet.

    The love you have for this story, how you care for the people involved, your desire to see that it was done well and went to an excellent publisher, all of these things shine through your telling of this process. And show us as writers the respect you hold for both ourselves and our work. Thank you, Janet.

    This is a story of hope, to never give up, to keep trying in the face of all odds. It has encouraged me to remain hopeful, and reminds me so much of Job, who also went through terrible suffering but was blessed in the end.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Wanda, thanks for your list of nice surprises you found in the blog post.
      Just think how different the story would have been if, when I suggested to Cathy she work with a collaborator, she said no. I don’t know if I would have taken on the project; probably not. Or if Cathy had resisted my suggestion of where the book needed to start. Her open-hearted, open-handed response to my ideas was the catalyst for all that followed.

      • Yes. You’re right. That would have been a heartbreak.

        I’m very glad she was able to put herself aside and allow you to lead and guide her. Thus giving all of us the wonderful story of her grandmother and unknown daughter. I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

        Good work, Janet! And all of you at Books & Such.

  29. Todd Starowitz says:

    Janet, thank you so much for this wonderful blog post. I am among the large team of individuals working on this book at Tyndale House and there have been few stories and books that have captured our hearts quite like this story. For anyone who thinks this a female-only story, I am a 43-year-old male who previously worked in professional sports.

    From a publicity standpoint, we couldn’t have been handed a better story. It did have some challenges because the story had been discussed following the reunion, and then again when Minka turned 100 but, as Janet mentioned, the family did keep back the reunion video and that was probably what ultimately landed the Today Show booking.

    As a publisher, one of the great things about this story is that the book is worthy of this amazing story. It’s very well written and beautifully packaged. It’s just a really special project and, just so all of you know, Cathy and her entire family are wonderful people.

    It looks like the Today Show piece will now air on Friday. I won’t at all be surprised if it’s the final piece shown on Friday morning heading into Mother’s Day weekend. Jenna Bush really took to the family and she put great care into the interview, as did the producer. I can’t wait to see the result.

    Also, more information, including a book trailer is available at and the book is on Twitter at @thewaitingbook.

    • Janet Grant says:

      Thanks, Todd, for commenting on the post and sharing your perspective, especially as a guy. You’ve given me the perfect opening to talk about what a beautifully designed book this is. We all know what to expect in a book’s photo insert, right? A bunch of pics with captions. But the photo insert in The Waiting is like viewing a scrapbook. It feels personal and lovely. The same goes for the back cover and the jacket flaps.
      I also was going to mention that I just found out The Today Show airing has moved to Friday. I’m so eager to see it!
      Thanks for all your work in helping to publicize the book, Todd.

  30. Carrie Padgett says:

    What a beautiful story! I’m setting the DVR right now for Friday morning, then heading to Amazon.

  31. This sounds like such an amazing story! So moving. A story of heartbreaking loss, but of redemption at the same time. I can’t wait to read it. (Drying tears…) ; )

  32. There is a correction to the airing date for the Today show (again) everyone. According to Tyndale, it has now been bumped up to next week, not this Friday as hoped. Keep your eyes open! If anyone hears the final date/time, please post it here so we can be sure to see it!

  33. Todd Starowitz says:

    The Today piece has been bumped until next week. We were certainly hopeful that it would air this week leading into Mother’s Day but that isn’t going to happen. We should know no later than tomorrow the actual air date. Electronic media is always quite fluid, especially for a pre-packaged piece that’s easily moved.

  34. Todd Starowitz says:

    Janet, of course. We were disappointed. When they originally moved the story from Thursday to Friday I thought for certain they’d close the show with The Waiting. It just made so much sense heading into Mother’s Day weekend. Normally, however, we prefer a piece early in a week because stories aired on Fridays tend to lose momentum over the weekend. That’s why negative news dumps are Friday afternoons/evenings.

  35. Janet,Cathy, & Cindy:

    I just finished reading The Waiting today. I am in awe, not only of Minka and Ruth’s stories, but also of the authors, family members, agents and publishers who put this together. What a fantastic job!

    And Cathy – I am most humbled by your willingness to take on such a huge project to honor your grandmother. I am praying it will have a major impact for the Kingdom as it hits the market. Happily recommending this to everyone in my network!

    My review was published this morning on the His Inscriptions blog if you’d like to read it. Thanks again for sharing the backstory. 🙂

    • Janet Grant says:

      Deborah, thanks for your kind words. Everyone who has worked on this book, regardless of his/her role, has labored with love. That has made being a part of the process pure joy. I love its hope-filled message.
      Thanks for reviewing the book on His Inscriptions; you might also drop over on Amazon to write a review. I was just noticing it has 14 reviews, but Amazon’s algorithms kick into a higher promotional gear after 25 reviews. The hardback version is ranked #580 for all physical books. Yahoo!

  36. Janet,

    The review has been submitted to Amazon today. :-)It should be viewable shortly.

  37. Susan McCrea says:

    Hi Janet,
    A friend referred me to this site. I have a story from the birth child’s perspective that is similar to this one.
    I found out I was adopted when I was 38 years old. That began an amazing journey, which culminated in a reunion with my birth mother in 2002 on February 14 in her hometown. The next time together, on my turf, we spent our sixtieth and eightieth birthdays together, one day apart. She met her five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. grandchildren on that trip
    I am writing my story, which includes sub-plots of reunions of both an adopted cousin and a birth cousin. [email protected]

  38. Anita Rivera says:

    Dear Janet,

    I was directed to your blog from another blog friend who sent me a copy of The Waiting. She is actually an acquaintance of Cathy’s. I read the book and finished it last week, and just can’t get it off my mind.

    There are many reasons why this story resonates within me, and I just wanted to thank you for helping Cathy make her book possible and publishable. I too hope to work on my memoirs, and though I am aware that the possibilities of publishing are slim and painful, when one decides to write, there is no stopping the effort.

    Thank you for the work that you do! Anita