If anyone knows a little about my writing journey over the years, it’s the readers of this blog. So, I’m beyond thrilled to share the news that my middle grade novel, NEXT TO NOTHING, will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers in 2018.
It’s been a long journey, as most of you know. A lot of writing, rewriting, revising, stopping, starting, from the middle and back, trying again and again and well, maybe, just one more time. I’ve had people have faith in my work, lose faith in my work, find faith in my work after a few tries, and people who have believed in me long before I knew how to believe in myself. I have novels and screenplays and short stories and plays in drawers, novels no one wanted to sell, and, then, a novel no one wanted to buy.
So I’m proud and thrilled that this book found a home. Rebecca Stead, a writer I have long admired, now, also, an agent, my agent (I still can’t quite believe that) was the one who, through some slush pile December miracle, took a leap of faith with this novel. She worked with me to refine it and, then, after an overwhelmingly positive response, beyond my wildest dreams, she found a place for it with Allison Wortche at Knopf Books for Young Readers. Allison is an editor who had taken some interest in my work in the past and I always secretly hoped she would love something I wrote and become my editor. She did and she is and I couldn’t be happier or more grateful.
I was a reader long before I was a writer — a girl who spent too much time with books and then sprawled out on the scratchy bedroom rug with marble notebooks dreaming my own stories in the middle of the night. As a kid (and adult) I wrote in secret for so many years. But back in 2007 I decided to gradually let people in, even when it scared me, even when, sometimes, I thought, is it perfect enough?, is it there?, it’s not there, it will never be there.
This book, I’ll admit, became a secret for me. I didn’t want to have to believe in it because that meant having to try to get someone else to believe in it and that can be exhausting. I didn’t want to answer when people would ask about all the books I wrote that never found their way. I was tired of telling people I was a writer when, in truth, all I had were thousands and thousands of pages the world would never see. I felt like I had made too many mistakes and I had sent too many wishes into the world before the sky was ready to hear them.
But I guess, I knew, deep down, that, even if you feel like you can’t shout, then you, at least, have to whisper your books out into the world. You have to hope someone will hear. That’s the only way. I’m glad I didn’t keep this book a secret. I’m glad it’s finding its way. And I’m excited to see where it all leads.