Nancy Mercado, an editor at Macmillan, explains:
It’s been said before, but as an editor, sometimes you are reading a manuscript looking for a reason to say no. By far the best part of the job, however, is when a manuscript comes along and beckons you. It says, read a little bit more, come along with me, for I have a story to tell you. And that’s how I felt when reading Birthmarked (then called The Baby Quota) for the first time. I felt beckoned. I felt compelled. I talked my husband’s ear off about it. I described the plot at length at a crowded dinner party. In short, I became very annoying to be around.
So, what was it that so drew me into this manuscript? Mostly it was the main character Gaia who was so brave, and yet up against many obstacles. In the first chapter, Gaia has to do something unthinkable: she helps deliver a baby and then she has to take that child away from its mother and hand it over to unknown persons within the Enclave. I just had to know what Gaia thought about that, and how she was going to deal with the moral implications of her action. And then when Gaia meets Leon, the brooding soldier who grew up behind the walls of the Enclave, I just had to know what, if anything, might transpire between them. I was drawn into the book because I wanted to know what would happen next*; it was that simple and that wonderful.