Reflections on a Debut Year

My book debut year is coming to an end.  I’m half sad to see it end and half relieved it is behind me. You only have one debut year, just like you only have one first child, and I can’t resist putting these memories into my “baby book” to be savored forever.  If you are a fellow or future debut author some of this might resonate, and if not, well, thank you for putting up with my indulgences.

New Year’s Day, 2014—I can’t stop hopping, jumping,  and dancing around the house, Tweeting and Face-booking and emailing the world that this is MY year about to happen.  After all, in this case, it’s been way more than a nine-month wait!

OneFourKidLit (ongoing throughout the year)—I actually signed on with this fantastic support group of debut authors in July 2013, but I have so reaped the benefits all along through reciprocal blogging, circulating our ARCs, interviewing one another, sharing collective wisdom on the pro-boards, and forming lasting friendships.  Make note, future debuters:  hooking up with a similar support group for your calendar year is a must.

February 7 – Cover reveal, and the first of many roller-coaster days.  As I was writing Crazy I had a real bridge in mind that didn’t look anything like the bridge on my cover.  After a flurry of emails back and forth with my agent Julia Kenny and editor Kathleen Merz, I begin to appreciate the fact that artist Richard Tuschman has created a conceptual bridge that far exceeds in quality and dramatic effect the bridge in my head.  Check out this blog post or this one for the whole story.


February and March-A flurry of unexpected last-minute editing and a rash of nervous-Nellie emails to my agent, worrying that 2014 may NOT be my debut year at this rate.


April 4Crazy is finally off to the printer and to my amazement, we are still on schedule.  The reward:  Three wonderful weeks in Italy with my husband.  (We hadn’t planned it that way, but it surely was a welcome respite from book stuff!)

 2014-04-24 18.14.14

May 15– The ARCs arrive in the mail along with postcards and bookmarks.  Wendell loads up his jacket pocket with bookmarks, I start sending postcards hither, thither, and yon, and take the ARC with me from room to room, on errands, even to the grocery store!


June 6 – My daughter-in-law organizes a party on our newly built screened-in porch to celebrate the book, complete with music and costumes from the 1960’s.


September 2 –I receive news that Crazy has been chosen as a Junior Library Guild Selection for 2014.  Makes my day!


Oct. 20 –  It’s launch day in Oregon! After a bout of bad fish (or bad nerves) the night before, I wake up and have a good cry before somehow pulling myself together to make a decent presentation to an Abnormal Psych class at the community college in my hometown.  To those of you who would rather write than speak, I can assure you it does get easier!


Nov. 8 – Park Road Books Charlotte Launch – I speak and read to an overflow crowd, with Charlotte Observer book editor Dannye Romine Powell in the front row.  Park Road sells out all the books they ordered plus extras that I had in my car.



And these were just the high points, but I’ve gone on long enough.  Suffice it to say, 2014 was a very good year and I would like to thank all of you readers and supporters who have helped to make it so!




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