Yeah, baby! Post #52! I did it!!!!
At the beginning of this adventure, I doubted my ability to churn out an article a week. But despite the effort required to make this blogging thing work, writing for The Debutante Ball has been infinitely worthwhile. I looked back over my year’s worth of posts this week, and while some of them did veer toward the crappy end of the spectrum, most of them did not suck. I found my voice, gained confidence, shared my journey, and learned a lot about the publishing industry. I also doled out the world’s best writing advice, got political, got distracted, failed, and endured some shag-nasty reviews.
More importantly, I met people: new readers, amazing authors, publishing professionals, and most wonderfully of all, my fellow Debs.
Much like a family, the Debs were flung together but did not select each other. We represent four different genres (Young Adult, Memoir, Women’s Fiction and Historical Fantasy) and, like those genres, we are each very different. If you read our posts each week, you already know that. But over the course of the year, we grew to depend on each other, coming to one another for advice and commiseration and and celebration and support. I looked forward every week to each woman’s posts, constantly marveling at their writing. Having colleagues who inspire you is a gift.
To that end, I’ve prepared a little tribute.
Her posts intrigued me from the beginning, because the tone of her novel is, by necessity, very different than her first-person voice when writing essays. From Unseen Fire reflects the tenor of the ancient world; there’s no hint in its particular narrative quality of the unconsciously hip twenty-first century free-spirited voice Cass displays in real life. The depths of her imagination are truly stunning. But in addition to being able to convincingly resurrect the language of days of yore, she’s also a remarkable modern essayist: her present-day voice is authentic and unapologetic and brave. Read Failing Advantageously if you want a glimpse of unfiltered honesty; or Not Of An Age But For All time if you want to appreciate her smarts; or Self Promo and Pecuniary Difficulties if you want to read a truly creative metaphor. Cass is also the queen when it comes to titling her pieces. Sheer brilliance.
Julie is a teacher in her day job and her posts reflect that: they’re clear and direct and succinct, while also managing to capture your attention. She has the gift of reeling you in before you realize what’s happening, so one second you are thoughtlessly reading, and the next you’d give up your firstborn to be able to continue. She also has the most sense of anyone, or, to be more specific, she has more sense than me. (Low bar there, you’re probably thinking.) Read Schedules and Deadlines Are My Superpower if you’re curious about how in the world she manages three of the world’s most time-consuming jobs (teaching, parenting, and writing) or We Are A Long Way Away From my Perfect Day if you want to get simultaneously enraged and fired up. Julie is an excellent writer and a powerful motivator, and her debut novel The Ones We Choose reconfigures that excellence and power into a moving narrative.
Lara is humble and funny and endearing and so is her Deb Ball writing. You can experience this for yourself in My Most Favored Things. She’s also gifted at memes, especially animal memes (Sometimes Time Spent Not Writing Is Necessary) and hilarious pictures Creative, Or Just Odd? Also, reading both her memoir and her blogs this year made me want to fling my arms around her and yell, “Let’s get drunk and talk until four in the morning!” It’s a blessing to find that person, you know? She can make your eyes misty in one sentence and make so laugh so hard you’re at risk of incontinence in the next, which is my ultimate criteria for a good author. I cannot wait for her next memoir, on mothering.
Kaitlyn Sage Patterson:
Kaitlyn has a gorgeous, unrivaled creativity and gift for description, which is all I could think about when reading The Diminished, a YA fantasy epic. Like Cass, her voice IRL varies from her narrative voice; it’s more frank and informative, while still peppered through with lush turns of phrase. (See Trunked: A Love Story.) And wit: What Sort of Human Are You, Exactly? And wisdom: A Poet No Longer. If I’m the rambler of our blogging group, Kaitlyn is the most concise: she has a knack for distilling out the bullshit. But the way she does it is beautiful.
In general, I am a sappy person. I hate goodbyes. I cry whenever anything ends. So please stay in touch with me if you’ve enjoyed these posts… I’m on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and I will continue to post bookish topics and event notifications on my website, kimmerymartin.com.
Finally, the paperback release of The Queen of Hearts will happen in February 2019, and will contain an excerpt from my as-yet untitled next novel, out the spring of 2020.
Warmest of welcomes to Kai, Martine, Stephanie, Devi and Layne! And happy reading, everyone!