Monday, August 11, 2008

That No Good Cheating Rat--John Edwards

They are rapt in scrapbooks of 60th anniversaries and trips to Disney and gap-toothed tots.

They're framing their best memories in glitter and lace.

They talk families and foreign oil. They debate the war. They recall first concerts and favorite shows.

Tonight, they talk about that no-good, cheating rat.

So began a story which ran August 10 in the St. Petersburg (FL) Times.
• • •
Seems that the news of John Edwards’ infidelity is everywhere you turn this week.

“I tell you, Joanna, these men,” sighed my villa neighbor as she shook her head. Later she shared the story of her own husband’s fling with a co-worker. A fling that ended their marriage and ruined his career and his relationship with his children.

Hearing all this makes me sad—and, strangely, I also feel vindicated.

You see, one of the editors who read an early draft of Paper, Scissors, Death: A Scrapbooking Mystery turned it down, because “people won’t read about a woman with a cheating husband.”

I don’t know what planet she came from. On the terra firma where I stand, cheating husbands getting what comes to them ranks right up there with, oh, slap-downs of smug young movie stars.

To that editor’s credit, she is a lovely young lady who turned a brilliant smile on me and said, “I hope you prove me wrong.”

I sure hope I do, too. In fact, I'm banking on it.

Meanwhile, let me add this: We’re all human. We all fail. Someone of us go down in a spectacular blaze while others simply stumble around in the dark. John Edwards made a huge mistake. And yeah, we’re all reading about it. As will his wife and his children. Frankly, I prefer fiction some days to real life.

How about you?


Kathryn Lilley said...

Why in the world would anyone think people won't read about a cheating spouse? Anything's fodder for mystery--it just has to be well written and compelling. What I can't believe is that people who run for president assume that this stuff won't come out in the press. That's one of the first questions they use to vet vice-presidential candidates--ie, are there any affairs or scandals in your background? If it's an answer that would disqualify a vice-presidential candidate, why is it that the candidate for Prez thinks he's exempt from the rule?

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I belong to an online book club, and it's taught me that all of us bring ourselves--our baggage, our world view--to what we read. I guess my reader just couldn't imagine this scenario. I'm just glad I didn't give up on publication because of her response. As for John Edwards? As he said, he got to thinking he was pretty special. I believe they call that "beltway thinking." And when you start believing your own hype, you are ripe for a tumble.

Kathryn Lilley said...

Yeah, he was only thinking with his belt (grin).

Betty Hechtman said...

And now the news is going to keep going over and over the John Edwards affair. He's a jerk for cheating on his sick wife, but he's not running for president. End of story.

Joanna, I can't believe an editor actually said people didn't want to read something with a cheating husband -- particularly a mystery.

Camille Minichino said...

Joanna, you already have proved that editor wrong.

An editor told me that the small town setting for my first series wasn't big enough to support a lot of crime. Hello? Can you say Cabot Cove?

The best "explanation" I heard for JE and others like him who think they can get away with anything is that they are high-risk people in general or they wouldn't be where they are.

LOL Kathryn on thinking with his belt!

Anonymous said...

Both Mr. & Mrs. Edwards knew about this sordid affair when he was running for president, and they went forward, collecting money and enjoying the spotlight anyway.

That's really questionable behavior on both their parts.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Anonymous, that's a fascinating point--and one I hadn't considered. Thanks for sharing.

And Camille, you are so right. I think someone could "write" a book of amusing responses from editors, don't you?

ellen said...

Comments from editors, pfaugh. One of them even criticized the typeface I used on the manuscript.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

Ellen, Wow.

Well, one agent told me, "Why would anyone be interested in a book about scrapbooking?" And I explained that one in every five (or every THREE by some counts) households in the US has a scrapbooker in it. He still shook his head and said he'd take a pass. But here's the important point: If an editor or agent doesn't believe in your project, it's best that they take a pass. Best for you, best for them, best for the project.

Cinnamon said...

Good posts but it made me wonder on a few things though.