The long journey to pub...and hope

In May 2012, I was waiting for news, and I was anxious. My book was going to an editorial board meeting, which is often the final step when a publisher is deciding if they want to make an offer. This was the second ed board meeting the book had been to--the first was a pass. Those passes are sometimes the hardest, because your hopes are SO high.

At this point, in 2012, I'd been writing for 10 years already. I'd been trying to get published for probably 7. I'd had an agent, gone through two books with her, and stepped away. I'd gotten a new agent, Kate, with this new book, which felt like my last-ditch effort. If this didn't work, I thought, maybe I'd stop for real. But now there was a possibility, and I was waiting.

To distract myself, I opened up Word and wrote myself this note. 

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The book didn't sell at that Ed Board meeting--they passed. I was crushed. It didn't sell until almost a year later, in 2013. But it DID sell. It came out in 2015. And then I had more disappointments, but the sequel came out in 2016. Then I sold a book to Random House. And then another, which I just turned in last week.

I'm not a stupendous NYT bestseller or anything, but I will have four books out next year, and hopefully that list will continue to grow. I have readers. No matter what happens from here, I have achieved my dreams.

But I keep that note, and I open it every once in a while, to remember. To remember how very HARD it was to get to that first step. How long I worked. How long I struggled, and doubted so hard I really did quit once. How now that I'm here I need to remember that others are on that path now, and I need to support and help them through the hardest times.

But mostly I remember so I won't take any of this for granted. It wasn't overnight. It wasn't easy. It still isn't, but it won't be quite that hard and hopeless again. I'm in an awesome place right now.

It's all right, 2012 self. It's all right, those currently in the trenches. Hang on. You'll get there.

Lifting Other Authors Friday 5: ODD & TRUE

Hi there! I took a break from these for a little while, so I could work on revisions to FOREVER NEVERLAND. But now that's turned in (yay!), so I'm hoping to post over the next few weeks (before I dive into the next book) about some of the wonderful books I read when I wasn't writing.

First up: I've got to tell you about this marvelous, quirky, dark gem of a book I think has been far too overlooked: ODD & TRUE, by Cat Winters.

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Disclaimer: I've been a fan and friend of Cat's for a long time, but that doesn't affect how very cool this book is, so it has no bearing!

ODD & TRUE is, at its heart, a story about two sisters, Odette and Trudchen. Their relationship is complex: loving, a bit worshipful, but also twisted by lies and faith and tragedy. Cat tells the story masterfully, revealing details drip by drip about what Tru thinks happened, what Od told her, and what REALLY happened. 

It's also a wonderful, eerie, atmospheric story about folklore, history, and adventuring women. It takes place in the early 1900s, in Oregon and the eastern US, and a large part of the story is the hunt for the Jersey Devil. (I was fascinated to hear LORE's version of the story after I read the book, here: http://www.lorepodcast.com/episodes/9 It pairs perfectly with ODD & TRUE.)

Both main characters are strong, layered, and deeply sympathetic, even when they're up to strange adventures and telling lies. Other characters are equally well portrayed. I also appreciated the nuanced portrayal of disability--Tru had polio as a young girl, and uses a cane to walk.

It's hard to peg exactly what this book should be classified as--mystery, adventure, historical, a little paranormal, literature--so I'll just say it's a classic. Check it out! I highly recommend!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28078791-odd-true