Dear dedicated reader,
When THE SNOW CHILD first began to move toward publication, I got two seemingly conflicting impressions from seasoned authors. Some told me that publication would change my life. Others warned me it would change nothing at all. After this past week, I’ve come to a conclusion — they were both right.
I spent several days in New York City during Book Expo America, one of the world’s largest publishing events. When I was first invited, I fretted over what to wear and what I would say. Once I got there, I was struck by an important realization – I was among my own people. People who love books.
During this whirlwind trip to New York, I talked with the editors of some of my favorite books. I visited with booksellers from around the country – Colorado to California, New York to Ohio. I talked with sales representatives, who help get books into stores. I met publishing CEOs and directors of publicity and marketing. I even had a chance to visit with Malcolm Jones, the book reporter for Newsweek Magazine,who had his own memoir, LITTLE BOY BLUES, published last year.
What did we talk about? Books. What books to recommend to middle school readers like my daughter. What book we had read most recently and loved wholeheartedly. What it’s like to have hundreds of books pass before you, whether you’re a reviewer or a bookseller, and know there is never enough time or space for all of them.
I also got to have dinner with some amazing authors:
- Pete Hamill. His newest novel is TABLOID CITY and he was recently interviewed on NPR’s Fresh Air. His writing evokes a deep, loving knowledge of New York City.
- Josh Bazell. His second novel, WILD THING, comes out around the same time as my book in February. I recently read his first novel, BEAT THE REAPER, and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, so did both.
- Luis Urrea. The critically acclaimed author of THE HUMMINGBIRD’S DAUGHTER and several other books. His newest novel is QUEEN OF AMERICA, a fantastic, historical story of a saint making her way through the United States.
- Ayad Akhtar. He wrote AMERICAN DERVISH, a moving novel that I think will contribute to an important national discussion. Ayad also happens to be an actor starring in the HBO movie Too Big To Fail.
- Chad Harbach. His debut novel THE ART OF FIELDING is one of the most surprising and wonderful love stories I’ve read in a while, and I don’t even know anything about baseball.
And what did I talk about with these novelist superstars? Books, of course.
The truth is, if it weren’t for THE SNOW CHILD, I would never have had this opportunity. I had stepped into an entirely new, exciting world where you chat with renowned editors and dine with famous authors.
For about 12 hours. Then I got on an airplane, and I came home.
Where, thank goodness, everything is how I left it. My husband, Sam, is still working on our house, building walls and hanging Sheetrock. My daughters are still excited to see me and to find out what treasures I brought in my suitcase from the big city. The chickens are still clucking around the yard, and the tadpoles are still growing in the aquarium.
There are also still dishes to be washed and seedlings to be watered. The checkbook needs balancing, and no one did the laundry while I was away. My mom and I still talked on the phone at 9 a.m., and I still had to remember to get a moose roast out to thaw for dinner. The sun is shining, and will continue to do so until 11 tonight. The cottonwood trees are suddenly fully clothed in green leaves, and the snow is melting off the mountainsides. Yesterday, Sam spotted one of the first king salmon of the season while he was out on the river.
Everything changed, and everything is still the same. What a wonderful feeling.