Next month the first two books of my chapter book series, Phoebe G. Green, hit the stores. I just finished what will probably be my last round of revisions on the fourth book of the series (each one its own little marathon, but that's for another post!) and now I have a little breathing room for some reflection. I've been thinking about how this experience is different from when my first book, The Whole Story of Half a Girl, came out.
I can't help but make the parenting analogy. My first book was like my first child. Everything was new. I was in awe. I didn't know anything. Everything felt equally important and kind of terrifying. It was very special, thrilling, and somewhat strange.
This time around, I'm a little more relaxed and experienced. I know that the series will have the life it has, no matter how many tweets I tweet, blog posts I write, and appearances I make, yet I want to put myself out there even more.
I'm still in awe about the fact that I get to write books for a living and people actually read them. I'm in awe that I'm allowed to enter the private relationship between reader and story, especially the one of child reader and story. A lot of magic happens in that space and I'm grateful to be a part of it.
I'm more knowledgeable about marketing and publicity. And with each revision, hopefully I'm able to sharpen my skills. I'm less nervous about public appearances and have a better idea of what to do. But now it will be different in ways I can't know and I'm most excited for that--the unknown, the adventure, the new connections. Who knows where this is all leading? I'll tell you when I get there.
It’s finally here, pub day, the day when you can walk in a bookstore and buy THE WHOLE STORY OF HALF A GIRL. When I sold the manuscript back in 2010, I wondered where I’d be when the book actually came out. Well, I started teaching at a Montessori school. I’m a little older. My family is a little older. My daughter, who was a baby when I started writing this book, can now read the book. That in my mind is the most stunning milestone so far. When I received my box of shiny new copies a few weeks ago, I just kept running my hand over the front of it. This is it, I thought, the moment I hoped for since I started writing short stories in college. And it feels…great!! It is as awesome as I wanted it to be. My family and friends continue to cheer me on. I got some great reviews, from magazines, from bloggers, and from community reviewers. But what I haven’t experienced yet is feedback from my youngest readers.
I’m so looking forward to hear from the middle-grade readers that I wrote this book for. So if you’re out there, and this book rings true for you in any way, or if you have questions about the writing process, or the characters, please let me know! I’d love to hear from you. I remember how important reading was to me at that age. I hope this book can provide some, even just a drop, of the same companionship and pleasure all those books I read back then provided me. So thank you Roald Dahl, E.B. White, Judy Blume, Madeleine L’Engle, Lois Lowry, Patricia Reilly Giff, CS Lewis, Beverly Cleary, Katherine Patterson, Sydney Taylor, and J.R.R. Tolkien, just to name a few. I’m not putting myself in the same company, just saying thanks for all they gave and still give me. And a future thank you to my new readers who will honor me with their time and attention. I hope I can live up to your expectations!