Thursday, May 20, 2010

Playing Catch-up

So I've been busy: finals at Pepperdine, moving to a new house, and before the boxes were even unpacked I headed off to Idaho for some decompression time. Right this minute I am sitting in a hotel room in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. My room overlooks the Tetons and a horse corrall; I'm in bliss. But more on that later.

In my time of radio silence a lot has happened: I've sold the audio rights to the book and my agent is working on foreign and film rights, which is crazy. HarperCollins hired a model to represent Clara and shot the photos that will be on the covers for the first three books. Then they printed up a trial-run cover for UNEARTHLY and shipped it to me. I had to pretty much open the package, look at it, and then ship it back. (I wish I could show you, but I think I better wait for the big cover/launch date reveal until HarperCollins tells me. . .) Needless to say, it was a beautiful cover.

All of this is getting pretty surreal. This time last year Clara was a ghost haunting me, an image in the back of my mind. Now she's real-represented by a real, flesh-and-blood person on a real cover with real pages being printed about her. When I told my dad about Harper hiring the model (they had a casting call where over 100 girls showed up) he said: Good job! You're causing employment! I had to laugh at that. Yes, that ghost in my head is now keeping lots of people plenty busy.

So that's news. But the thing I REALLY want to write about is that I got to meet with Aprilynne Pike. In person. She came to Idaho Falls to do a reading and some school talks, and was sweet enough to meet me for dinner last week. For those of you who don't know Aprilynne (read Wings! Read Spells!), she's a HarperCollins writer whose debut novel, WINGS, spent 8? weeks on the New York Times bestseller list last year and whose sequel, SPELLS, debuted a couple weeks ago at number 4. See her awesome blog here. Not long after I got my offer from Harper I emailed Aprilynne and asked if she might mentor me a little bit, being that we're both from Idaho (Aprilynne lived in Driggs, which is very close to Jackson Hole, where my book is set) and we're both moms and writers, and all the HarperCollins people could not stop gushing at how great she is. And she and I have emailed back and forth for months, and she has given me such great advice and encouragement.

I will try not to gush at how great she is. Dinner was great; Aprilynne was friendly and fun and a font of useful information. Afterwards, I went to her reading, and I was so impressed with her easy, energetic presence in front of the crowd of adoring fans who'd gathered at the Barnes and Noble. She talked a lot about the publishing process and what it's really like (as opposed to in the movies where writers always write a novel in a montage that last a couple of weeks and then sees their book on the shelf almost immediately) and read from the book and made them laugh and signed copies and stood up to have pictures taken with them.

The whole time I was thinking: Wow. Wow. Wow. I hope I can do as well as this when my time comes. 

The next day I went to my old middle school: Rocky Mountain Middle school and watched Aprilynne do a talk. And she blew my socks right off. Middle schoolers can be (hmm, how do I phrase this?) hooligan monkey children. Do they ever have a lot of energy! But Aprilynne immediately held their attention and got them involved and answered their questions. She was, in short, amazing.

See now, I'm gushing. Sigh. The whole thing was a great big dose of reality, a "this is what's possible" moment. And it was scary and wonderful. And, oh yes, surreal. Let's not forget surreal.

Afterwards I went up to my dad's house in the mountains and spent the next few days writing, writing, writing, on book 2. And then I came back to IF for a day and then headed up to Jackson. Tetons! Horses! More on that later.