I sit here on a day I’ve anticipated for a year and a half, and it’s hard to believe it’s finally here! Although I’ve gotten texts and emails and Facebook posts of Friends and Other Liars out in the wild, today is the official release of the book. Amazon pre-orders are either being delivered or on their way out the door, independents are stocking them on shelves, small stacks lay on the New in Paperback table that sits conveniently at the front of Barnes & Noble. As I’ve referred to them being out “in the wild,” I picture releasing a truckload of little book creatures into bookstores, where they climb on shelves themselves and jump into people’s arms and shopping bags, cooing as they are opened and the first pages are read. I’m allowing myself to be a little silly, clearly.
This day has been a long time in the making, and I can’t help but sit here in such complete gratitude. And I thought, today of all days, (this week of all weeks), that I should take the opportunity to say all the things I’m grateful for. Buckle up, it’s going to be a long one. But stick with it, because you will probably be mentioned!
I’m grateful that this little piece of my heart is out in the world, that no matter what happens, I will always be able to say I am a published author. I am grateful for the experience of finding my book on that table at Barnes & Noble. I am grateful that in just a few days, I will do my first reading and book signings, and be surrounded by people that love and support me and my work. I know that there are many writers out there who are still dreaming of these things, unsure if it will ever happen for them, and I remember what that’s like. I know that could just as easily still be me, if my book hadn’t found my agent, Stephanie Rostan, and my editors, Sara O’Keefe at Corvus and Shana Drehs at Sourcebooks, at the exact right time. I’m grateful that I never gave up.
I thank these women and their entire teams for the incredible amount of work they’ve invested in my book. Special shout out to Liz Kelsch, my publicist at Sourcebooks, for organizing all the local press and my blog tour, and for setting up my readings and signings. As a debut author (especially one who works full-time), having someone to do this was invaluable.
I am grateful for Donna at Eloquent Page in St. Albans and Kristen and Tod at Phoenix Books in Burlington for hosting my readings and signings. I am grateful to all the reporters who have chosen to write about the book, getting the word out. I am so grateful to the book bloggers who are featuring me on their blogs this month (full list available here). I am grateful to every. single. person. who has read and reviewed the book on Goodreads, Amazon, and other platforms. I am overjoyed that so many people are liking the book, that people are holding it in their hands and allowing themselves to be caught up in the drama and the uniqueness of Chatwick.
I am grateful mostly for the people in my life who have and continue to support me. My husband, who as soon as he woke up this morning yelled “HAPPY RELEASE DAY, BABY!” He has championed me and my books for YEARS, reading early drafts and trying (sometimes successfully) to convince me they didn’t suck. He’s been there for every single rejection (all 189 of them) I received between two books. He’s never once shown doubt that I would make this dream come true. Without him to share this with, none of this would mean nearly as much.
I’m now going to rip off from the Acknowledgements of the book, to make sure I don’t forget anyone.
I am grateful to my friends and family, who have listened to me bitch about how hard it is to get published, without once outright saying that I should give up on the dream. Every time I learned I was going to be in a publication, the first thing I thought was, “My Mom is going to be SO proud.” And the most meaningful compliment I received, and will ever receive, about this novel came from my sister, Stina Booth, who said she teared up at the end, sad that the story was over. If you know her, you would know this is the highest praise conceivable. She is not a crier.
I’m grateful to all the other wonderful people who read this book in its early phases: Shayla Ruland, Cathy Wille, Meredith Tate Servello, Kristin Fields, Kathryn Saris, Loren Bowley Dow and my mom, Deborah Plant, (who, reverting to her schoolteacher days, put a checkmark at the top of every page that didn’t contain a spelling or grammatical error), and Louise Walters, my mentor through the WoMentoring Project. Without question, Louise’s honest feedback and relentless encouragement is what made this manuscript worth publishing.
To Meredith Tate Servello and Kristin Fields, I am grateful for all the advice and support you’ve offered me in the process of trying to get published. Thank goodness for Twitter, or I would never have met them! And to Amy Burrell Cormier, my writer friend, for understanding the trials and tribulations of being a writer. May we one day (tomorrow?) be sitting with a pitcher of margaritas, laughing about our naiveté in the first place.
I’m grateful also for the beta readers for my first novel: Rebecca Nichol, Brian Holmes, Jaci Mills, and Veronica Grenier. Even though that book was not published, they gave their time and patience as they slogged through my early drafts and offered constructive criticism and ideas. Perhaps almost as important, they helped me get used to receiving feedback without inhaling a Costco-sized chocolate cake in the process.
And last, but certainly not least, I thank the people who inspired the characters for this book. I won’t name you, even though I really really want to, because you deserve to be thanked, but I also want to protect your anonymity. In case you missed it, Friends and Other Liars’ dedication is:
To my crew, for the family kind of friendship that endures through all the drama, that feels the same no matter the time or distance between meetings, and that loves even when it doesn’t like.
Thank you all. So much.