Monday, March 9, 2009

Obama signs reversal of stem cell research funding

As soon as my alarm went off this morning, the first words on the radio I heard were, "Embryonic stem cells have never been proven to work. Adult stem cells do."

Unfortunately, I hit the snooze so fast I missed the rest before the words could even register in my foggy brain (it's an automatic reaction).

I couldn't find the rest of that report (or editorial, most likely), but it has me thinking a lot about my finished book, and how relevant it is, and the whole query process. I thought agents would love the idea: a southern Baptist woman's daughter is faced with death unless she bucks the church's view of stem cell research and puts her daughter in a clinical trial.

It's got controversy, faith, medicine, love, protests, and a lot of misunderstanding of the difference between adult and embryonic stem cell use, without being preachy or lecturing (so I've been told. I hope that's true, because I tried very hard to not make it a referendum on stem cell therapy as much a just a good story with a controversy). The book is based on medical facts, true reports and AMA findings, and real-life successes.

I thought the topic would be hot. In-the-news-today kind of hot. Everyone's-got-an-opinion kind of hot. It was the writing I couldn't be sure was great.

Turns out, agents really like my writing - want me to submit anything else - they just aren't sure if the book should be marketed as Christian or mainstream. They suggest I find an agent willing to submit to both markets - agents with contacts in both markets. There is possibly too much faith to be desirable for some agents, and the words "stem cell" frighten others away before they can read it and judge for themselves.

The news today makes me more frustrated. While the book addresses all sorts of issues - faith, questioning, sacrifice, illness, a parent's love, how far friends can go before they go too far - it felt relevant to me on so many levels other than picking a side of a current contemporary political topic. But maybe I was wrong.

And I'm thinking relevance might be overrated.


  1. I think this will be a debate that will wage for a long time. I understand how you feel you might be missing your chance, but you're not. Babs will have her say.

  2. See, as far as your book is concerned, this right here should have been enough:

    "a southern Baptist woman's daughter is faced with death unless she bucks the church's view of stem cell research and puts her daughter in a clinical trial."

    I sitll don't know how that could be turned down by so many.

    But I agree with Kerri 100%. STem cell research will be controversial for a long time.

    And Babs will have her say!

  3. Maybe now, with Ohama in control, stem cell research will finally have its say. It's big here in California but even here you hardly hear of it. I used to think how wonderful it would have been if my brother could have lived to benefit from it.

    Hang in there, Heidi. I know you're frustrated but Babs will have her day.

  4. Ohama. You know who I'm talking about, right?

    Obama! Obama!

  5. I agree with Kerri. This won't be a one time thing, and even tho Obama signed it, the battle will continue.

    Keep your chin up. It will happen, maybe just not how you envision it.

  6. I don't blame you for feeling the way you do. Write it or finish it and see what happens. You never know...

  7. Shelli - Rachelle has a query, but I think she's running quite a bit behind and I haven't heard from her yet. I did get it in before her new no-repose policy, though! :)

    Marsh - I'm not sure really Obama will have a lot to do with this book being more relevant than it is, seeing as how it's about how adult stem cell therapy is already successful and uncontroversial, where embryonic has been wholly unsuccessful, despite plenty of private funding. Still, all this new flurry of interest just proves it is still relevant, and a subject still in flex on.

    Jennifer - welcome to the blog! I always love meeting new authors! The book is written and several agents have it.. it's just been a tough sell finding the right one. I take it you know how that feels! :) It's a long process, isn't it?