I got this out-of-the-blue note in the mail yesterday.
How could I forget? This is a color copy of a photograph showing the actual giraffe that bit the head off my doll. This was taken post-bite. Look how disgusted my mom looks. I had no idea this photo existed, but I am so glad it does.
Speaking of giraffes, I feel a little funny about posting more news so soon–like I am being greedy or something, but…
Once again, so many thanks to my agent, Brooks Sherman. I had not planned to write a picture book, but he encouraged me to try it. I did, and when the story was ready, he found a wonderful publisher for it. [Writers: Listen to your agents. They are usually pretty smart--I know mine is.]
I am thrilled to be working with Mary Kate at Bloomsbury Kids. I was able to meet both her and Rotem, my editor for Hook’s Revenge, when I was in New York a few months ago. They are amazing. I know I am going to learn a lot from each one.
I’m very lucky.
I’m very grateful.
You know how I feel about giraffes, right? So. I wrote one that ruins absolutely everything, but at the end of the day, he’s pretty likable.* I don’t quite know what happened. I suppose it’s true what they say: Writing is therapy.
To celebrate, I bought myself a t-shirt of this image. I think it perfectly sums up the happy beginnings of my writing career.
Want your own? Get it here. (I am not affiliated with this company in any way. I just like to share the awesome.)
So, that’s it.
All Most of my secrets have been revealed. All the big ones anyway. My hair can deflate and things can get back to normal. Or, you know, normal for me. Whatever that means.
At least until next week, when I announce the sale of my new YA. (Kidding!) (Probably.)
*Don’t think for a second that I have let my guard down. Just because I happened to write one that I rather like doesn’t mean I have forgotten the truth: Giraffes are dangerous creatures. Hide your wife. Hide your kids.
Update: If you are interested, Giraffes Ruin Everything is now up on Goodreads.
Some of you may have seen my announcement on Twitter or Facebook over the weekend, but if you missed it, I have some book news coming out in this week’s print edition of Publisher’s Weekly. Here’s a sneak peek:
I am thrilled, humbled, and overwhelmed–all in the best possible ways. This is truly a dream come true. Not only that I will be able to fulfill my lifelong goal of seeing my words in print, but also that I can share this particular story with readers.
Sidenote: I am hyperventilating with delight–I am going to have readers! (I hope. You’ll read my book, won’t you?)
Peter Pan and its many adaptions, retellings, and spin-offs have always had a special place in my heart. I can hardly believe that my words will be a part of this amazing group.
The original J.M. Barrie classic was the first longer-than-one-sitting book I read to my daughter. I can still picture her as a pink pajamaed two-year-old laying in her toddler bed and quietly playing with her toys while I read aloud to her. Though at first I wasn’t sure any of my words were sinking in, she soon began acting out scenes that she had seemed to ignore when I read them. Peter Pan became both her imaginary friend and alter-ego for the next few years and we spent many hours pretending to “fight those nasty pirates” together.
One day, when Newt was about five, I came down with the flu. I made myself a little nest on the couch, put out some Goldfish crackers and juice boxes, and set up a couple DVDs: Hook and the live action 2003 Peter Pan. While she watched, I slept, the sounds of the movies filtering through my virus haze. When the movies ended I woke up with a question in my head: What if Captain Hook had had a daughter?
Hook’s Revenge grew from that day, though it would be several years before I would get serious about completing it. Last fall, I signed with my agent, Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Lit, and with his help, set about polishing the manuscript and preparing it to go on submission.
During the first week of December, Brooks sent my manuscript to several editors–I was officially on sub. I tried not to think about it too much, choosing instead to focus on enjoying the holidays with my family. At the end of January, I was thrilled when Brooks called to inform me that we had received an offer. Two days later we got another one. We were going to auction!
Several editors wanted to speak to me, and once again I was sick, this time with a terrible hacking cough. Over the next week, I took phone calls from five different editors–all from my bed. I asked and answered questions, took notes, and tried not to cough too loudly in their ears. I was very impressed with each one and remember telling Brooks that I would have been more than happy to work with any of them. However, for this story, neither of us could think of a better fit than with Rotem at Disney•Hyperion.
On the day of the auction, the original two publishers put their offers in early. As the clock started to run down, it looked as though no other offers would arrive. It was a little anti-climactic, but I still felt incredibly lucky. I was about to feel even more so: With only minutes left until closing, the remaining three houses sent offers. All five editors I had spoken to wanted to work with me!
The next day, on February 5th–the 60th anniversary of Disney’s Peter Pan–I accepted Disney•Hyperion’s offer. Hook’s Revenge would be a real book!
Confidential aside to Walt and Newt: I could not have done this without you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Now please excuse me a moment while I hyperventilate some more.
You may be wondering why it has taken a little while for me to make this announcement. Each publishing house has its own policies. Disney•Hyperion prefers to have a signed contract in hand before their authors announce and sometimes contracts can take well, some time. Brooks, Rotem, and I have all been sitting on this secret for months, but you know what? I think it has been well worth the wait.
I am both incredibly happy and incredibly grateful that Hook’s Revenge has found such a wonderful home. I can’t wait until next fall when I can share it with you. (You know, if you want.)
P.S. If you’d like to add Hook’s Revenge to your To Be Read shelf, it is already up on Goodreads. And watch this space, Twitter, and Facebook for more news as it comes!
Earlier this week, our neighbor knocked on our door and asked, “Did you get your chicken back?” We weren’t aware that one was missing but a check of the backyard confirmed it. Guinevere had run away from home. She had apparently spent some time in our neighbor’s backyard, unsuccessfully attempting to fly back over the fence. The neighbors’ attempts to capture her failed when she ducked under their gate and ran as fast as her stubbly little legs would carry her, out into the world.
I was just preparing to create some Lost Chicken posters, when she returned–a little sadder, a little wiser, but still harder than anything to catch.
She’s fast and she pecks.
Happy almost Labor Day! The summer is nearly over. How did that happen?
If the summer is nearly over, that means fall is nearly upon us. Hooray! I am so looking forward to boots and sweaters, apple cider, falling leaves, and pumpkin everything!
I’m also looking forward to the Wordstock Literary Festival in Portland this October. I am this year’s children’s specialist and have been working on programming for the children’s stage for months. I am so excited about the authors and special guests we have lined up. The full schedule will be on the Wordstock website soon, but in the meantime, block out the weekend of October 5-6 on your calendar. You really won’t want to miss this.
I am absolutely enamored with this set of photos of forest animals living in an abandoned house in Finland. Go look and be charmed.
A baby giraffe was born this month at the Woodland Park Zoo in Portland. I’m staying as far away as possible. I’d advise you to do the same. Giraffes are not to be trusted.