Friday, April 16, 2010

Story Time. PART TWO.

MAN do I have a story for you guys today.

Last Monday, when I had officially been on submission for about four days, I received a phone call from JSV (Joanna Stampfel-Volpe, for those not In The Know) telling me I should probably finish my synopsis of Divergent's sequel that day. I knew something was happening, but she (wisely) didn't tell me exactly what it was, so I crossed "working out" off my to-do list-- because let's face it, it's the first thing to go-- and sat in front of my computer in my pajama pants for about an hour, typing away.

I was three sentences away from the end when she called me again. And it went a little like this:

JSV: "Are you tired of me yet?"

V: (Thinking, with eye-roll: yeah, Jo, I totally HATE phone calls from my nice, funny agent.) "No! What's up?"

JSV: "So that synopsis...yeah, I'm going to need that like now."

After which she informed me that there was some interest in my book. And I promptly lost feeling in my legs.

I know people say that as kind of a joke, but seriously? I lost feeling in my legs. I was standing up, and looking at my feet, and thinking "are my feet still attached to my body?" I think I also let out a kind of strangled scream.

And then I waited for more details. With my tense face on. Like this:

Later that day I was in the elevator and I heard The Ringtone. Earlier I had assigned JSV's number a special ringtone so I would know when she was calling me (so I could take deep breaths before I picked up). It was the most urgent ringtone I could find-- it basically sounds like the phone is screaming "IF YOU DON'T PICK UP THE PHONE, THE PLANET WILL HURTLE INTO A BLACK ABYSS."

I got off the elevator and went into this creepy hallway in my building that leads to the loading dock, where all the dumpsters are. It has beige tile floors and beige walls and it basically looks like a place where people get murdered. And then, you know, conveniently recycled.

That was where I was standing when JSV told me that Harper Collins wanted my book.

My response?

V: "I have to sit."

(I sat.)

V: "Okay. I'm going to cry a little now."

JSV: "All right, but I'm going to keep talking."

V: (Laughing and crying and numb legs again.)

There's a little more to it than that (isn't there always?), but those are the juicy parts.

I have loved Harper Collins since I was little, even though at the time I didn't know that a lot of the books I loved were HC books. Never did I think "one day, I'm going to be published by HC" and actually believe it.

Does it get even better? Yes it does.

The next day I talked to Molly O'Neill, editor at Katherine Tegen Books (the wonderful HC imprint I'll be working with). For an hour. Let me tell you something about Molly O'Neill. She's one of those "instantly put you at ease" people. Which helps a lot, because last Tuesday I was a 21-year-old ball of nerves and energy, and "ease" was not something I had going for me. Actually, if "ease" and I had been on a spectrum, I would have been at one end and "ease" would have been at the other.

After that phone call, I knew that she would both love my book and improve it-- basically, that it was in great hands.

And then I had to wait.

And my face looked like this:

And simultaneously:

(That would be my in-chair happy dance. I know I look pained. My pained expressions and my happy expressions look very similar.)

I have also been getting teary-eyed at random moments throughout the week. And when I say random, I mean RANDOM. I mean while driving on I-94, just past the tollbooth. Or sitting at my desk, staring at the origami paper I just bought. Suddenly? Crying.

I don't get serious very often on ze blog, but I will say this: I know what an incredible blessing this is. I will try my hardest not to take it for granted, and to remember that it isn't a wage-- it's a gift.

Want a link, though?


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