Chinese Space Stations and Literary Agents


A little while ago, I was pretty convinced a Chinese space station was going to fall on me.

The space station was due to return to earth, any day in an out-of-control descent. According to the experts, no one knew where it was going to land. Chances of it landing on a human: one in a trillion. Well! thought my brain. That means it’ll definitely land on me!

Because, you know, logic.

I spent the days before the landing imagining how you might outrun a space station, like, if you saw it coming, could you dodge? On the day the station was due to plop down to earth, I followed its trajectory on a somewhat-reliable site, and read scientists’ tweets about the landing—everyone in the dark and trying not to seem in the dark. Who would win in the great Space Station Landing Game? A mountain? A mountain goat? The sea? A woman in a suburb in Australia, patting her cat?

The station dropped into the ocean on April 1st. No one was hurt (including the fish, hopefully). Life went on. And I didn’t get hit by a space station, because people don’t get hit by space stations.

What I didn’t map the trajectory of, and what I wasn’t expecting, was an email five days later from Catherine Drayton, literary agent with InkWell Management, responding to my query about my YA novel.

Catherine very kindly asked to see more pages; I sent thirty of them on a Friday evening, fully imagining a no, any second, in reply. The very next morning, her assistant asked for the full manuscript. I sent that on, and then, well—of course the answer would be a no, because space stations don’t land on people and how were these not exactly the same odds?

Five days later, I got a phone call from Catherine. She loved my book, she said. She would love to represent me! she said. And there I was, completely landed on. And it felt incredible. I accepted her offer the next day. And now we’re working together. It’s amazing.

The moral to the story is (if there’s any moral at all!): It’s a whole lot more likely that someone will fall in love with your book than you’ll be hit by falling space debris. That is, as long as you keep writing and you don’t spend too long in bed, worrying about the sky.



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