A few months after beginning his new company, the investor called a few friends who also had an interest in publishing, for some reason, and they formed a new company, called Worldwide Publishers, which acquired Aspen Books, which had hired Stan to be its general manager.
A few months later I got a phone call inviting me to come in for an interview with the president of the new company. They needed an editor. Janet went with me, not trusting the vital interview to myself. It was a short interview, matter of fact, all business, few pleasantries, and I, or rather, we, were excused. A few days later I heard back.
No thank you.
Our money was running out. The credit card was still in my wallet, but we only wanted to use that for sure things, like publishing books that other publishing companies had rejected. But I was really determined to finish school (I was in my thirties), so we prayed, and I wrote my papers every night, and we waited for a miracle.
And it came.
A couple of weeks later Stan called and invited me to start work the next Monday.
The president who had rejected me had read The Invisible Saint and changed his mind. Something about “talent” and random humor and goofy characters. I didn’t ask any questions, and every day after school, I commuted up to the publishing company in Murray and edited for six hours a day, whereupon I went home and wrote papers until midnight or dawn. I continued to do all this, gratefully, for the next two years. Composite English programs take a long time, even if you do take 21 hours a semester, or 24, which I completed in my last semester.
About that same time, I felt impressed to do something unusual: I felt a strong but peaceful desire to begin fasting one day a week. I didn’t know why. Like most Latter-day Saints, I fasted on the first Sunday of each month and donated the money saved to the Church to give to the poor as our bishop and stake president saw fit. But this was different; it was not for anyone or anything in particular, just to help bring me a little closer to the Lord. So, without telling my wife or anyone at the office, I left home each Thursday morning without eating and didn’t eat again until dinner. No great experiences came from it at the time, but I knew that it was the right thing to do.
These were long, mostly contented days, when our house payment was current, our credit card balance was zero, and our family was expanding.
At work, I was doing my best to entice strong authors to write for us, not for the guys uptown or down the road. I did this by being sincere. I called Orson Scott Card and sincerely begged him to write a Christmas story for our Christmas anthology by and for Latter-day Saints. I wrote a letter to Senator Jake Garn, who had circumnavigated the globe in the Space Shuttle, and explained how we and only we could help him tell the world what he had learned from his experience—and why he also believed in God. The Gulf War had just begun, and after three days of talking to instructors at BYU, I came upon a young assistant professor by the name of Daniel C. Peterson, who was both smart and entertaining, and I implored him to explain the Arabic – Jewish conflict in terms that average Latter-day Saints could understand. Then I gave him a time-table that made him catch his breath; we needed the book in a hurry, as the war was threatening to end sooner than later. All of these became successful books, and so did many others. And then one morning, soon after I had graduated, finally, from BYU, I was walking out the door to go to work when, for some reason, I turned and saw a small stack of papers on an end table in our living room. The six pages stapled at the top would change my life.
The older children were at school, and Janet had taken the younger children to the club where she worked out. So, I was alone. I was also late for work. But, again for some reason, I was concerned that somebody had left those six pages behind, so I went back to check them out.