Friday, February 25, 2011

Dream Made Real

My copies of the UK edition of The Taker arrived today. Authors, can I get a witness? -- you open the box and look at them, and you want to gather them up in your arms and run around the house in glee. Your stomach does fillips, you go light-headed. The world is brighter, more vivid for a half-hour or so. The strange, hunted feeling that has pursued you since turning in your last pages to the editor dissipates (at least briefly) and you have no desire for chocolate. The terrible job pressures I have been carrying around for weeks drops away as though they were nothing.
Several hours later, I am still resisting the urge to go over and look at them, touch them like a new mother afraid her baby is a dream, going to disappear in the night.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Unexpected rewards

Thirty years ago I was in a writing class taught by John Irving. I was a junior in college, The World According to Garp had just come out in mass market paperback and continued to dominate bestseller lists.  I was lucky to get into the class: I was an undergraduate, and so a terrible writer by definition. Every other student in the class was far more talented. It didn’t help that I was in complete gape-mouthed awe of him and could barely speak in his presence.

Flash forward to January 2010, speaking to the editor who would buy my book. Do I think John Irving might blurb me, I was asked. Highly unlikely, I think. It’s been three decades. I was not one of the bright lights. He’s taught hundreds of writers at Breadloaf, for goodness sake! He has a policy of not blurbing his students. We can try, I offered.

The editor has a friend who knows Irving. I write a letter to Irving that will go with the galley through the friend, and it brings back memories. I think of him and think of everything I hoped to be someday but had known I probably never would.

He called my editor today. He’s going to try to read the book. No promises – he could dislike it and regret ever having taught my ass – but I will remember today for the rest of my life. I’m crying a little as I write this. Moments like these are the most amazing thing about finally – finally – selling a book.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Getting Your Dream Come True

UK edition of The TAKER

This is the place for you if you've ever dreamed of getting a book you've written published. That was my dream from when I was a teen-ager. I wrote all the time, filling notebook after notebook. My friends read my pages, wanted to read more. I was hooked. I went to college, wrote all the time, even during class (sorry profs!), wrote a thesis, graduated, wrote for newspapers. Wrote short stories. Had to quit for 15 years for work, for reasons I'll get into one day. Then at age 40, I started writing again. Went to grad school. Went to conferences, workshops. It took me ten years to get the Taker to the stage where it was salable, and during that time I also wrote four other novels (very important.) The Taker sold January 2010 and publishes in the UK on 14 April 2011 and in the US on 6 September 2011. I hope you keep reading this blog; from here on out the story gets really interesting.