Look: It’s my book!

Cover for HOW IT FEELS TO FLOAT

THIS.

THIS!

My book had its cover reveal this week and I am over the moon about it!

It’s completely gorgeous, this cover. The amazing Kristie Radwilowicz at Dial/Penguin Random House designed it; she put together something completely stunning, including the extraordinary illustration by Karolis Strautniekas, whose artwork just blows me away. I feel incredibly grateful that I have a cover I want to pore over, every time I see it. There are so many tiny, gorgeous details. The font, and the way the letters are gauzy like clouds, and the way you can see the hair through the letters, and the colour, my goodness the colour, and the way the whole cover absolutely captures the sense and essence of floating. I could go on and on! (And I have with my family, lucky things, who love the cover too.)

Then, cup-runneth-over time, my cover reveal happened on Tuesday, on Bustle.com. It was incredible. They called my book a ‘modern THE BELL JAR with ghosts’. The author, Kerri Jarema, talked about my novel’s ‘honest, nuanced portrayal of grief and mental illness’. She called it ‘mesmerizing and timely’. I mean. I MEAN.

Please go check out the article. It’s just lovely. And there’s an excerpt! The first four chapters are in there. These words of my heart, the ones I wrote in cafes by the sea, at the dining table, on the train, in the library…they are going out into the world for people to read, people I’ve never seen or spoken to, lovely strangers who will meet my characters and through their story, meet me. And that feels like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life before.

I am so, so grateful.

 

Dream coming true

bowl-of-broccoli-2584307_1920

Recently Facebook memories told me about a dream I’d had three years ago.

The Facebook post went like this:

I just had a dream that a literary agent was going to take on my novel and had already found me a publisher…on the condition I wrote a murder scene into the book, and turned the novel into a murder mystery. At that point, she assured me, ‘Agatha Christie Publishing’ would take it on. 

The agent gave me ten minutes to write the murder scene…I was sent off with her assistant to my writing room, set at the top of a tall metal tower we could only get to by some super-fast UFO-like shuttle. When I got to my writing room it was filled with little old ladies catching up and having tea. So I had to go downstairs to the tower atrium to write. 

Time was running out. My brain was nearly blank, but I gave myself a pep talk into a little mirror set into the wall. Then I wrote and wrote and it was good! When the agent arrived, I showed her my scene. 

Which I had written in BROCCOLI. 

Clumps of broccoli sat on the paper, each little floret representing a word I could not remember. I could not for the life of me tell her what I had written. 

End of dream. 

This may be hard to believe, but that dream did not come true. I don’t have a murder mystery novel written in broccoli and I’m not being published by Agatha Christie Publishing.

BUT!

I DID write a new book about a year and a half ago—a YA novel called How It Feels To Float, about a girl and grief and mental illness and losing yourself and love holding you up as you find yourself again.

And then an agent DID take on my novel! The amazing Catherine Drayton of Inkwell Management. And she wonderfully found me not just one publisher, but TWO.

And now I’m getting published!!!!

My book is coming out next May with Dial/Penguin Random House in North America and Pan Macmillan in Australia and NZ. It’s been an amazing ride so far, and it’s only been three and a half months. I’ve loved words and stories and writing my whole life—publishing a book has been a really, really big dream for a very long time. Now, right in front of me, the dream is coming true.

So VERY cool.

 

(As for my written-in-broccoli murder-mystery? Maybe in some alternate universe, it totally exists.)

 

 

photo credit: Allan Lau

Chinese Space Stations and Literary Agents

sky

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.