November 23rd, 2007

Ten years ago this month

I got my agent in 1994. She loved my book, Family Values, and sent it off to every editor there was. And they all loved it, too, except there was always a paragraph that began with “And yet…” or “Despite this…” or “However…”

Then I wrote a book about three siblings who are on an orphan train and adopted into different families (as often really happened). We never did have a good title for it. Keeping Track. Street Arabs (which is what they used to call homeless kids). It also went to every publisher there was. Someplace I still have the frustrating letter from Putnam, where the editor heaped compliments on it but then said it felt like three beautifully written character sketches. I made a mental note: to make sure the next book was plot-driven.

And then I wrote Circles of Confusion, which was very plot driven, and it sold in three days. And was 10 years ago, in November of 1997.
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[Full disclosure: Every single person in this photo is no longer with my department. I’m the only one left, and have been for some time. Six were forced out. The rest chose to leave. I always wanted to go, because I would have gotten a really good severance package. Which is probably why they never picked me. That, and I’m good at my day job, which is also writing.]

Circles came out in February of 1999. It was one of the first Booksense Picks. Short-listed for an Agatha and an Anthony. Since then, I’ve published six books, with more on the way. Sold foreign rights in Japan, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Daydreamed about movie deals and came close a time or two.

It’s been a long road and not always smooth. A lot of times not smooth.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.



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