It feels impossible to me that we Debutantes have already crossed the halfway point of our blogging together. I can’t imagine moving through my debut year without my fellow Debs. They have been an endless source of support—from listening to me freak out to making me belly laugh to telling me to get over some minor detail I am obsessing over (Jennifer Brown gave me a family saying that the chefs and I now all use in the kitchen—you get what you get and you don’t get upset!)—and my debut year has been much richer (and saner) thanks to them.
I just hit the five-months mark—five months until my book is a real-live book in a bookstore that anyone can walk up to and touch. It feels like just an hour ago it was nine months out. Time is moving both swiftly (will I have time to lose my winter layer before I have to get in front of strangers and reveal my soul? Not to mention the possibility of photographs being taken and shared online?) and slowly (seriously—five more months of obsessively Googling my title in hopes of a little bit of new news is going to make me bonkers.) I am in the quiet time of publishing, where my work on the book is done, but the outward facing publicity and marketing stuff hasn’t kicked in. It’s a challenging time because in general I am an impatient person—not the best quality in a novelist—and because I am also an anxious person, so I have a lot of time to dream up worst-case scenarios in every arena: bad reviews, no reviews, empty folding chairs at readings—all the fears I mentioned in this post have had the time and space to come to the surface.
But I find that it is also a very sweet time. There are little bits of cheer that arrive as surprises that fill me up with hope that readers will find my book and it will mean something to them. Last week I woke up to a Twitter notification that a librarian had read my book and tweeted that she loved it. Then she posted a picture of the ARC—I didn’t even know that the ARCS were out in the world! So the idea that the book is starting to make its way out there, the possibility of more readers—there is no other way to describe it other than it is a dream come true. Underneath all the striving of wanting my novel to be a success, there is the one simple wish that someone will love the world that I made and the people in it as much as I do.
One of the most exciting developments is that blurbs for the book—those little endorsements that you read on a book jacket from published authors—have been coming in. I am so grateful to all the wonderful authors who have taken the time to read my novel and for the lovely, generous things they have written about it.
There have been other wonderful surprises. I have sold the translation rights of THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING to five territories so far. I love the idea of my novel traveling to places I have never been, and can’t wait to see all the other covers! And I have recently sold the English large-print and condensation rights as well.
In the meantime, I spend my days thinking about my next book. I am still in that day-dreamy space where the characters are starting to reveal themselves to me. I hear bits of dialogue while I am chopping apples, and write it down on my greasy baking prep list. While I am riding the subway, scenes pop into mind that make me laugh out loud. A secret was just revealed to me the other day while I was glazing chocolate peanut butter cakes. This is my favorite time—it feels tender and private and sweet—like having a secret crush, before you tell your best friend about it. It feels especially important to me to have this story that is all mine while I try to let go of the first one and share it with the world.
Thank you so much, dear readers, for sharing our debut year with us! You all help make it feel more real.