This week the Debs are recalling their debut years.
This year has been one of the most amazing and craziest of my entire life. It’s been a dream come true in so many ways. Let me count them out.
- The writing/editing/publishing process – WOW what an eye opener this has been. Everything from learning the mechanisms of how it all works, to edits and copy edits and more edits and copy edits and then finally seeing my work in print. When my book showed up on my doorstep for the first time it was a tearjerker of a moment. So many years of hard work became real.
- My publicity and marketing team of Leah Morse and Kelsey Manning at Touchstone, and my external publicist Megan Beatie, aided by my SUPER AGENT Amaryah Orenstein, helped propel my book out into the world and into the arms of so many people. I had only dreamed of being interviewed/reviewed by NPR, Epicurious, HuffPost Book Filter, Milk Street Radio, NECN and the Associated Press. I have an amazing digital cookbook that has delighted a whole bunch of fans (omg, I have fans!).
- I did a class at the BCAE with Chef Patrick Campbell (No. 9 Park, Eastern Standard and Cafe ArtScience) which was so much fun. He modernized several recipes and gave participants a fun taste of the flavors of the ancient world. I talked about the food history in between. And oh was it delicious.
- And then, the dinner I had been dreaming about for the last decade. I still get a little teary thinking of it. I teamed up with the amazing Chef Michael Pagliarini from Giulia and Benedetto to do a full-blown recreation dinner of some of the foods of ancient Rome. It was a magical, delicious and extraordinarily special night for me.
- FEAST OF SORROW was nominated for a Readable Feast award and placed in third in the People’s Choice award. I was so thrilled to be nominated against some of my New England food heroes!
- One of the best curveballs that life threw me this year was that I lost my job the week before my book launched. It was the perfect time for something like that to happen. It gave me a little over three months to really focus on book promotion and working on my second novel, THE SECRET CHEF, which I finished right before I started my new job two weeks ago, whew! The best part of this arrangement is that I had, essentially, a “summer office” at a local cafe where I regularly met with my writing partner and one of my dearest friends, Anjali Mitter Duva, and fellow writers like ex-Debutante Jenny Brown (both of them pictured to the right!).
- The readings I’ve done and literary festivals I’ve participated in have enabled me to meet some really wonderful people–booksellers, event organizers, and readers. There is nothing so incredible to me than talking to someone who has read and loved my book. The idea that I can affect someone with my words is a true joy.
- I had a huge surprise when FEAST OF SORROW was longlisted for the prestigious Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. What an incredible honor to be listed among so many great books. Keep your fingers crossed that it makes the long list!
- I can now count authors of a variety of genres as friends, best-selling book and cookbook authors that I have admired for years, and debuts like all my new friends at the 17 Scribes. In many ways, this is what I love most about publishing a book–making new friends and hearing new stories and discovering new views on the world at large.
- And of course, I have loved blogging with the Debutante Ball. It was, truly, one of the best things I could have done for my book and I’m so pleased to have shared tiaras with Amy, Lynn, Jenni and Tiffany, four very gifted writers. But more on that next week!