Wow. I picked the right table.
I asked Shana and Beth about the origin of their last names, told them I hoped to make it to their panel after a pitch session, and asked Joyce Moore about her book. After we talked about that for a while, Joyce casually asked, “So what’s your book about?”
Shana and Beth leaned forward to listen to my answer.
God bless you, Joyce, I thought.
I said, “It’s about the Vestal Virgins.”
Shana and Beth’s heads tipped to the side in unison.
“Is it a romance?” asked Joyce.
“Absolutely not. My main character would only break the rules if she doesn’t believe in her religion, and if she doesn’t believe, her whole life has been wasted. Also, I’m sick of reading about women who solve all their problems by having sex. Then readers expect her to get caught and executed. That’s a terrible book!”
“So then there’s nothing like that in your book?” asked Shana.
“There is an execution. One of the vestals gets blamed for a war; people thought they lost the favor of the gods because she lost her virginity. Tuccia doesn’t believe she was guilty, but she doesn’t believe the goddess would let her die if she was innocent, so she’s conflicted about her religion her whole life.
“Then she gets accused of losing her virginity by a vengeful priest who failed to seduce her, and because he’s a priest, the only way Tuccia can prove her innocence is by showing she’s favored of the gods by performing a miracle. She carries a sieve full of water from the river Tiber to the Temple of Vesta. True story.”
Yup. Nailed it.
I told them I had to leave because I had a pitch session with Jennifer Weltz. Shana gave me her card and said, “When you get an agent, give me a call.”
So my day got off to a pretty good start.
Tune in Tuesday for "Learning from a Group Pitch Session," in which I talk about my meeting with Jennifer Weltz.