The idea comes first. Sometimes in sleep. Sometimes in midsentence. The moment always arrives with two words. “What if?”
A year ago today I met with a publisher to talk about two of these what if’s. Ideas that had some potential. Two very different books that would be exciting to work on. I had sent them synopses for both, so the meeting was a chance to explore both projects in a little more detail. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to meet with the publisher and two acquisitions editors at a major publishing house, so I valued their time and input.
After the meeting, my editor emailed me to share their excitement over one of the ideas and to give me some suggestions on moving ahead with it. The nugget of the idea had come the previous year in 2018 during another meeting I had with the publisher. He had talked about a book idea that he summed up as “The Faith of Bono.” I told him I’d love to work on a book like that. This idea had grown into the discussion of doing a full-fledged biography on U2’s singer.
I’ve been journeying with Bono for the past year. After that meeting on January 24, 2019 with Zondervan, I dove into work on a detailed proposal for a biography on the Dublin singer. It took two months to complete this. Proposals like this take a lot of time since you’re figuring out the structure and overview of the book along with pitching it to the publisher. I included a couple of chapters in the proposal as well, meaning I had already started working on a project that hadn’t yet gotten officially approved.
Thankfully the proposal was well-received, and on May 23 of last year I got an official offer from the publisher. I was now fully immersed in the work on this biography, so I’m not sure what I would have done if an offer hadn’t come. I was beginning to realize the monumental task ahead of me, so every moment counted.
It’s been an exhilarating and time-consuming project that I honestly could never have imagined. I’m creating a biography that is truly unique in the way it’s told. No sentence is imagined; everything is researched. So to do something that’s both creatively different and meticulously documented is quite the feat.
Right now the book is scheduled to be released a little over a year from now in February, 2021. I can’t wait to see how everything unfolds—the book itself, the package, the release, and especially the response. It’s a really special project unlike any other I’ve been involved with.
Fiction will always be my true love and passion, so don’t think I’m suddenly going to only be doing nonfiction and collaborations. It’s a new decade. Exciting things are ahead. Please stay tuned.