THE DAY has arrived. I’m a published author.
I’ve now checked off bucket list item #34 – Write a novel and get it published.
The book is out in the wild…which means people are reading it. (Thank you!) People I don’t know. Which is thrilling. And scary. And awesome. And scary. (Wait, did I already say that?)
And through it all I’m a complex mix of excited, exhilarated, and exhausted, with a healthy dose of grateful mixed in. So because I’m too verklempt to grab hold of exactly what this experience has been like and mold it into something tangible, I’m instead going to share 5 things you may not know about COME AWAY WITH ME:
- Gabe, the protagonist’s husband, is a fan fiction version of my husband, Adam. After Adam read the draft he looked at me and said, “This is me, isn’t it. Without all the bad stuff?” (For the record, there’s really not any bad stuff … except that sometimes Adam uses my toothbrush, which is on my list of NEVER DO THIS, and he doesn’t think we need matching coffee mugs, and he doesn’t like watching television as much as I do.) So yes, Gabe was inspired by Adam, and our relationship. We went through a very tough experience after only 3 weeks of dating (I was diagnosed with cancer) and he has not left my side side — 12 years and counting! So if anyone deserves to be fan fictionalized (is this a real word?) it’s Adam. 🙂
- I have travelled to the three locations Tegan and Gabe travel to in the book. I rode an elephant in Thailand, hiked the lemon and olive groves on the Amalfi Coast, and surfed the waves in Hawaii. The food from the Italy section of the book and the Maui banana bread are real things I had the pleasure of eating, but I did not try the deep fried grasshoppers in Thailand (eating a bug IS an item on my bucket list I’ve crossed off, but no grasshoppers, thankfully). I wanted to choose destinations I had travelled to so the experiences felt authentic to the reader. Plus, it was so much fun reliving my travel days!
- COME AWAY WITH ME is the book’s third title. I get so many questions about the publishing process, and how the title is chosen if often one of them. Some people are surprised I get any say in title; others assume the title is 100% up to me. At least for this book, the title is one I came up with … after brainstorming a fairly lengthy list of options with my editor and others at Mira. It is certainly a group effort! (For those who are curious, the working title I submitted the manuscript with was FROM THE ASHES — which I never liked but it was the best I could come up with at the time. Titles are HARD.)
- The Jar of Spontaneity is a real thing. Shortly after Adam and I were married, I read this article about how important it was for couples to be spontaneous (this was back in the pre-kid, pre-author days when I had time to answer magazine quizzes — does anyone do this anymore?) and so the Jar of Spontaneity was born. We wrote down experiences we wanted to have — big (like travel) and small (like trying a new local restaurant) — and when we had a date night or were planning vacation time, we picked one of the little packets of paper out of the jar. Though we still have the Jar of Spontaneity somewhere in a box in the basement, and I occasionally think resurrecting it, we have since created a family travel bucket list we’re trying to get checkmarks on.
- The song Gabe proposed to Tegan is a real song. (Sort of). I knew I wanted something sweet and romantic for the song Gabe sings to Tegan the night he proposes, but didn’t want to deal with borrowing lyrics from a known song (there are, understandably, a number of rules around this). So I asked Adam to write a few lines of a love song for that scene (he plays guitar but is not a songwriter) and what’s in the book is what he wrote. Perhaps one day I’ll get him to put it to music…
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