Ever since Christmas and the arrival of the Lego version of Chancellor Palpatine’s Arrest, my 5 and 7 year olds have been convinced that all mail left at our house is potentially from Santa Claus. Laboring under this delusion, they race to the door whenever they hear the thump of a package and proceed to attack it with their small scissors. This is all very annoying, especially if you need to return an item and the box looks like it’s been disemboweled by wild animals.
So when the mailman happened to come by while they were at school, I was already in a good mood to have beaten them to it. There was only a single item — an innocuous-looking padded envelope from London. When I opened it, out slipped a book. Actually, it was MY book. A bound uncorrected proof from my UK publisher without the final cover, but with the form and heft of a real book. I was so excited that I jumped up and down in a most undignified manner, emitting loud squeaks. If anyone had been passing by, they would have heard something like this:
“AAAAaaaahhh! It’s a book! A book! Aaaaaaahhh!” etc.
How should I describe the magical transmutation of thoughts into paper and ink? Flipping through the pages, I glimpsed familiar passages, bits of dialogue that made me cringe, and other parts that I still felt pleased with. I was amazed at how surreal, yet oddly normal it was. It had become a story that you could physically pick up and pass to someone. And when the next person opened it, they too could follow the printed trail of letters into an imaginary world that had come out of my head. I think at this point I started shouting something like “Gutenberg was a genius!” and had to calm myself down by eating a large slice of cake.
This is the UK version, which has a slightly modified text and will be published as Young Adult/Crossover. It’s also what UK book reviewers will be getting as an advance review copy (ARC). At nearly 400 pages or 111K words, it seems like a fairly manageable read; a minor miracle considering that the original manuscript was 170K words without a proper ending. I had little idea of what I was doing when I started writing, but the end result, thanks to rigorous pruning and the intervention of my wonderful agent and editors from William Morrow and Hot Key, is a book and not a gigantic door stop.
I can’t wait to see the US version which is aimed at an adult audience and will be a larger hardcover book. When I do get it, I shall have to make sure that I open it before my kids do!
Large slice of lemon pound cake
Lots of dark chocolate with raspberries. Events like this require plenty of sugar to fuel them (when my husband came home later, the two of us were bouncing around like demented hamsters).
Thank you so much to everyone who has read this blog or encouraged me on this journey. I’ll have the first chapter up soon so you can have a sneak peek!
What’s the most memorable package you’ve received in the mail?
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