Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Small World Connections

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and like you are a small part of the big picture of publishing. Then other times you feel quite connected. I had one of those “it’s a small world” experiences this week.

In the past, I’ve mentioned that I read Publisher’s Lunch. It’s a free email newsletter (so subscribe to it) with a large circulation. Often I skim the information or read a few of the links. For example, I learned that a New York editor on my collaboration panel last year’s ASJA conference changed publishing houses. Brenda Copeland was Pamela Anderson’s editor at Atria Books (Simon and Schuster) and has become an executive editor at Hyperion books. I caught this change of personnel from a bit of information on Publisher’s Lunch.

Tuesday’s Publisher’s Lunch included this news item: San Francisco Reads, Too
Gus Lee’s autobiographical novel China Boy is the first selection for San Francisco’s One City One Book program. The SF Chronicle files a long piece about the author and the book.

Instantly I had a small world connection with the story.  Almost two years ago, my wife belonged to a small book group of women in Colorado Springs. For one of their meetings, the group read China Boy, then invited Gus Lee to come and speak.  For this particular meeting, the group invited their spouses to attend the session. While I had not read China Boy, I enjoyed the opportunity to hear Gus Lee and meet his wife Diane. The novel is really an autobiographical memoir of Gus growing up in the 1950s in San Francisco and has become a classic tale about the immigrant experience. It was fascinating to hear Gus tell about his childhood experiences. When we talked after the meeting, I learned his literary agent was Jane Dystel, which is a well-respected New York agency.  On a completely different occasion at an ASJA meeting, I met Jane Dystel. While during our meeting, I knew Gus was a Christian, I didn’t know much of his story—until this week when I read the story in the San Francisco Chronicle. I found it encouraging to learn about Gus’ ongoing influence in the publishing community and his personal faith journey. I hope it will be interesting to you as well.

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