Tomorrow – March 1st, 2016 – my new book will be released. Hope For a Cool Pillow, published by Jon Roemer and Outpost 19. I am excited and grateful and amazed. No dreams of Amazons this time around.
It has been four years since Good in a Crisis came out. The path to getting this new book into print has been long and rocky.
Writing HFACP was an arduous process, involved much research, and – because it was partly about my family – required me to step carefully through my personal history to evaluate what I wanted to record. I wrote a lot that I subsequently deleted. It felt important to write it down first. It felt equally important to parse that history and make editorial decisions based purely on what was needed to move the story forward, not on what I wanted to say about myself or them. I feel as though I stood in one spot and turned a full three hundred and sixty degrees, keeping track of what was in front of me at all times. I tied my observations together in a story about end-of-life care, a story that juxtaposes the personal and the professional, the empathetic with the economic, the orchestrated with the riotous. From this singular vantage point, I can continue to turn, taking on other issues, and other stories.
In the past four years, I have learned a lot about publishing. The industry has changed during that time and continues to do so. The agent who represented me for GIAC tried to sell my second book, couldn’t, and so fired me. I didn’t write material that she could sell. But shortly after firing me, I sold the book by myself. I don’t know what that means, exactly, but I guess it means she wasn’t the right agent to sell this book. She suggested I write fiction, specifically humorous fiction.
I have begun working on my next book. It is not humorous fiction. But I’m liberated nonetheless.
I am grateful to Jon, who really gets the book. It’s so nice to work with a publisher who appreciates your work.
Several people helped me at key steps in this process. One friend read for me when I was just beginning, encouraged me to keep going. Another friend helped diagnose a lump in the first third of the book, recommended simple surgical treatment that turned out to be curative. So many friends provided critical life support, the belief that I had something important to say. And that I had the ability to say it.
So many times I feel like an oddball. Most people I know don’t do this. They don’t feel the need. I’m not part of a writing community. I can’t explain why I write, but the thing is here inside me and I can’t make it go away.
The need to blog, however, comes and goes. At the moment, it’s mostly gone. I suppose this entry is more for me than for anyone else. Sometimes I just prefer to keep my thoughts to myself. I recognize that this represents the germination stage of the next book…and it comes not a moment too soon.
Time to move on to the number three.