News, Notes & Inside Info from a Children’s Book Author

Grateful

July 17th, 2012 Posted in Before You Go, the writing process

The writing life has its ups and downs, and more downs than I’d prefer. No, it’s not coal mining, and I’m not an ice road trucker . . .

. . . .but this job can be full of doubt and disappointment. Still, and here’s the thing: I’m grateful for this career, thankful for this writing life, because it literally is a dream come true. How many people can say that?

I published my first book in 1986. From then to now, more than half my life, I’ve done all sorts of work, from desperate, pay-the-rent stuff . . .

. . . to books that I’m proud of.

Today, 7/17/2012, my first Young Adult novel, Before You Go, will be available in bookstores near you. That’s the hope, anyway. I don’t expect it to sell well. Or for long. I don’t even know if many readers will like it. It’s not a book for everyone. But this is absolutely the book I wanted to write, the book I needed to write, and I am grateful to my editor, Liz Szabla, and my publisher Jean Feiwel, for giving me the artistic freedom to do the thing I wanted to do.

It’s a rare license these days. And a great feeling, like wind at your back.

And it’s not something I take lightly. It’s taken me a long time to arrive at that moment, to find that I’ve got good people who have my back. Hopefully Before You Go finds some appreciative readers along the way, whatever their number.

I don’t control what happens now.

Look, I want sales, I want to earn a living, I want my publisher to do well, I want great reviews, I want readers. But try as I might, not every book is going to be popular, acclaimed, beloved — these things are impossible to predict. My sense has always been that Before You Go is a quiet book, a slow story, not a whole lot of plot, and one that might be swimming against the tide of popularity. That’s okay. Sometimes as a writer you have to answer a different call. What’s amazing is to have such unbelievable support along the way.

So I look at this physical object in my hands and think, you know, hey, this is a well-published book. I’m glad for it. And grateful to have this piece of art in my hands that was published with such care, and heart, and commitment to excellence. Thank you, Liz, Jean, Rich Deas, Elizabeth Fithian, Holly West, Dave Barrett, Nicole Liebowitz Moulaison, Ksenia Winnicki, Anna Roberto, and everyone else at Feiwel & Friends whose efforts made this book possible. I’m grateful for it, and grateful to you. So thank you.

Just a lucky guy, I guess.

  1. 3 Responses to “Grateful”

  2. By Nan Hoekstra on Jul 17, 2012

    You are welcome. Stay near that desk and pad of paper…write the next one, I know you’ve got another story…

  3. By jimmy on Jul 17, 2012

    I handed in a manuscript yesterday, in fact, only two weeks late. Next summer I’ll have three books coming out — one picture book, two chapter books. Moving forward, typing with my fingers crossed.

  4. By Danyelle on Jul 20, 2012

    We will be adding Before You Go to our classroom libraries! Bystander was big in our school and I know your new novel will be the same!

    All the best,
    Danyelle Barrett
    English 8B
    Lynch Literacy Academy
    Amsterdam, NY

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