A Green Letter Day

March 1, 2008

This has been a week to remember. But first I have to tell you an amazing thing: TODAY I GOT MY GREEN CARD.Yes, you read that right. After a journey of 13 months, during which I have been police-checked, finger-printed, vision-tested, X-rayed (twice, because first time it looked like there was a lump on my lung and that made me very undesirable as an immigrant), blood-tested (numerous times – and what is this obsession with syphilis?), financially assessed, and during which time I have produced several tons of paperwork, photos of the Greenhouse Husband and I in party hats and wedding outfits (to prove we really do know each other), and details of all my family over several decades . . . suddenly, suddenly, that little card plops into my mailbox and the stress, warnings, threats and constant anxiety are over. Praise be – especially as now I can come and go as I choose, and do business at the Bologna Book Fair knowing I can re-enter the States afterwards without fear. You have to be determined to make a life in the USA and right now I feel very, very proud to have got this far.

But it’s been a milestone week in other ways too. Early in the week Greenhouse featured in Diane Roback’s pre-Bologna previews in Publishers Weekly online. What a fabulous coup! And it happened on the very day I submitted Greenhouse’s first major novel to about 10 US and 10 UK houses. Interest has poured in (lots of requests to read by film scouts), and I have a feeling that there might be another exciting week ahead for the Greenhouse, though I always believe in waiting until the chickens have hatched. Will keep you posted.

Things are really fast and furious right now and I’ve decided the only solution is to clone myself. That way I’d be able to get to your queries and submissions a whole lot faster, though I am chomping my way through slowly but surely. The quality is mostly pretty high, but it takes a lot more than that. Your work has to leap right out at me as something really, really special – and that means potentially saleable to houses that have only a very few available slots for debut writers. As the saying goes, Many are called but few are chosen. Of necessity, because each client I take on represents a lot of time and commitment on my part. What is really hard to find is the big, potentially international blockbuster – the kind of work that will fire up a publishing house on both sides of the Atlantic. Those come around very rarely and I wish I could give you a formula, but I can’t. Instead I’ll say: think big, think global, think commercial, think dramatic, think ambitious. You see? I knew that wouldn’t help you.

But right now, it’s my very own Green Letter/Card Day – and I’m off to celebrate! Cheers – and take care.