An Interview with Barbara Laymon
How did you get the idea for the Inbox?
I had already published some short pieces - articles for religious periodicals. But I had never tried anything book length. I didn't really intend to, when I started on this project. Then one day I was driving a carpool with my two daughters and five of their friends were all piled into our station wagon. It was around 5:30, that fussy time of day, and the girls were all picking at each other and the traffic was just miserable and I began to think about the classic temptations of life - not the big, dramatic stuff, but the little things that make up most of life - and how I had a female version of "The Screwtape Letters" going on right there. When the girls got out, I started writing. Kept at it day and night, and in about 6 weeks I had my first draft. And 7 years later, I had a published book!
How did you get published?
When I finished my first draft, I sent ten copies out -unsolicited, simultaneous submissions - all summarily rejected. But I also gave a copy to my New Testament Greek professor, who kindly read it, made comments, and encouraged me to talk with another professor who was also working on a manuscript. He connected me with his freelance editor, and that turned out to be a huge break for me. I will never forget the night that I opened the email from Augsburg Books, indicating an interest in publishing my little book.
So you recommend a freelance editor?
It made all the difference in the world for me. The editing process took a long time, but it was worth it. It brought my writing up to a level I hadn't even imagined. I wouldn't consider submitting a manuscript to a publisher now without first working with a freelance editor.