With the short story anthology put to bed for the moment and a little vacation time, I'm back to the novels I've been working on for the past six years. Each new bit of knowledge precipitates a journey back to the first one to incorporate what I've learned. Currently I'm doing rewrites on the second.
On the whole, Please Say Kaddish for Me, the first of the trilogy has been an immense learning experience. Because it has required tons of research to keep it as accurate as possible I've learned more history than I ever did in school. Of course, back then, I never saw the reason to pay attention.
The three novels with working titles, Please Say Kaddish for Me, From Silt and Ashes, and As One Must One Can chronicle a Jewish woman and her family's survival of the pogroms (Czar-sanctioned, organized massacres of the Jews in Russia and surrounding areas of Eastern Europe known as the Pale of Settlement) and subsequent immigration to the United States. The stories take place at the turn of the twentieth century. I've referred to PSK as "The Dark Side of Fiddler on the Roof."
The first novel has been turned down by four agents so far and accepted by one. Unfortunately, at the time the one accepted it, I was in the process of preparing it for a NY agent who'd shown an interest but said it was too short. In the end she turned it down. The next NY agent said it "was incredibly moving" and brought her to tears, however, it was too long and needed more editing than she was prepared to deal with.
I am in a heated debate with myself as to whether or not I should approach the one who accepted it two years ago to see if she still might be interested in the first one and, possibly, the series. I've made a lot of changes after expanding it and then shrinking it. I don't want to sound desperate or groveling but, on the other hand, I could use an agent. Right? Of course right.