Book Deals and Champagne Flutes
Kristy Woodson Harvey
“How are you doing?” my agent asked me.
How was I doing? I think panicked pretty much summed it up. Anticipatory. Scared. Excited. Worried. Elated. Anxious. All of the above.
Because it was the day. After months of submissions, a fortuitous contest win, and back and forth and back and forth, Berkley – an imprint of Penguin Random House – was making the final decision about my book, Dear Carolina.
My entire fate, it felt, rested on this one moment. My entire future. The career I had dreamed of. Seeing my book on bookshelves. Sure, I could start over. We could submit to other editors. I could write a new novel. But the mere idea of being so let down when I had been so close was too much to even consider in that moment.
So I replied, “I don’t know. How am I doing?”
“You’re great,” he said. And I could hear the smile in his voice.
I was standing behind my desk in my office, and I instantly plopped down into my rolling chair, which skidded precariously.
This was it. I was an author.
So, so many questions were fighting for position at the front of my mind. I couldn’t pick one, so I just started spouting them all out.
My agent finally laughed and said, “You’re not really making any sense. Why don’t you call me later?”
And then I was just there. In my office, looking out over the front lawn and into the nest of trees, the same way I had been the entire time I had been writing this book and sending query letters.
My son was at preschool. My husband was at work. There were so many people to call, but, for the moment, I was utterly alone with my entire life changed.
Instead of picking up the phone, I walked down stairs, opened the refrigerator, removed a bottle, grabbed a glass, walked back upstairs, sat down behind my desk, popped the bottle, poured those bubbles and took a sip.
For one entire, silent glass, I concentrated on normalizing my heart rate and letting it sink it: I had just gotten a book deal. I was an author. It was a realization even sweeter than the champagne.
I say in the acknowledgments of my second novel, Lies and Other Acts of Love, that if a first novel is a dream come true, a second novel is a dream taking hold. It seems impossible, but I think I might have been even more nervous about getting my second book deal than my first. Because, at that point, my life had changed in every possible way.
I spent most weekends doing book events, I Skyped with book clubs all the time, many of new friends were authors, with whom I shared a common bond now and book bloggers who had been so kind and generous toward Dear Carolina and me.
And the best part? When people would ask, “So, what do you do?” I got to say, “I’m an author.” Those are sweet words for someone who dreamed about writing books for a number of years.
I didn’t want all of that to be over.
My second book deal didn’t happen quite like my first. I wasn’t exactly sure when I would hear or when the decision would be made, but, let me tell you, I was checking my email every five minutes.
One afternoon, my husband and son and I decided to walk to lunch. In a very uncharacteristic move, I left my phone behind. I was on social media overload, and I needed to unplug for just a moment.
When we got home, I pulled my email up, just to see what I had missed while I was gone. And there it was, just sitting in my inbox, unassuming, like any other old email. An offer! For Lies and Other Acts of Love!
Which just goes to show that what my mom had always said was exactly right: If you can just let go of your need to control everything for a few minutes, what you’ve been wishing for the entire time will finally happen.
A huge thank you to the lovely Kristy for this post.
Dear Carolina was praised as “Southern fiction at its best.”* Now author Kristy Woodson Harvey presents a new novel about what it really means to tell the truth . . .
After sixty years of marriage and five daughters, Lynn “Lovey” White knows that all of us, from time to time, need to use our little white lies.
Her granddaughter, Annabelle, on the other hand, is as truthful as they come. She always does the right thing—that is, until she dumps her hedge fund manager fiancé and marries a musician she has known for three days. After all, her grandparents, who fell in love at first sight, have shared a lifetime of happiness, even through her grandfather’s declining health.
But when Annabelle’s world starts to collapse around her, she discovers that nothing about her picture-perfect family is as it seems. And Lovey has to decide whether one more lie will make or break the ones she loves . . .