Can I actually cope with any more triumphs? Well yes, I can, though I also have a wish right now to lie down in a sunlit field and just watch the clouds float by. You know that feeling?This morning I achieved my final challenge to being a true Virginia resident: YESSSSS, I passed my driving test! I wasn’t going to mention it, just in case I failed (you see, I too fear failure). Not having been tested since I was 17 back in London, it was weirdly stressful, not to mention a bit arduous memorizing that huge manual. I’m now an expert on parking distances from fire hydrants and curfew laws for under 18s. So all this required a stop-off for a celebratory cappuccino (double shot) and a very sizeable muffin before returning to finish up a few bits of work before packing to leave for London tomorrow. I’ll be spending Easter with my family (I miss my two lovely sons like mad) before heading off to Bologna via Prague. Tough job, but somebody has to do it.
However, need I tell you that there’s already been something else to celebrate today? The DEVIL’S KISS deal is up on Publishers Marketplace as ‘deal of the day’ and the Bookseller in the UK is including it in their pre-fair highlights. Things like this are a real gift, and the foreign rights buzz is getting even louder. Oh, in case you wanted to know – the book sold to Hyperion in the US and Puffin in the UK; those lists share a number of major authors, including Eoin Colfer, Rick Riordan and Charlie Higson’s YOUNG BOND. They’re a great match which is one of the reasons I’m so pleased at the outcome. They’ll be publishing in different ways: the hardback is pretty dead in Britain at the moment, hence Puffin’s going straight into paperback original, whereas Hyperion is going out in hardback first. It’ll be fascinating to watch the two different publishing visions unfold, and I’m meeting with Hyperion’s Donna Bray and Puffin’s Francesca Dow in Bologna to talk further.
But now I’d like to highlight two other authors I’m working with: I’m not going to name them because I believe in lock-down privacy until an author gets a deal. Let’s just call them Author X and Author Y. They are both female, both incredibly talented, and both incredibly different. Author X weaves words like cobwebs; she’s a master (mistress?) of lyrical language of whom Han Nolan has said: ‘She’s a born writer. Her language feels so fresh, clean and spare – just perfect.’ I take a deep breath before I say anything to her about her work because my big boots could trample the beauty of her language and vision. I salute your talent, Author X; keep the faith. Author Y is brand new to me – and it’s been a highlight of my week that she chose me, the Greenhouse, instead of a New York super-agency. I am humbled. Author Y is one of the sharpest, funniest voices I’ve read since I found Meg Cabot for the UK (and believed PRINCESS DIARIES would make a series) in 2001. But Author Y has another gift too – for honing in on the moment of emotional truth, and that makes her so much more than just ‘another’ writer for pre-teen and teen girls. Way to go, Author Y.
I love my authors so much it is really quite embarrassing. They have demanding day jobs, demanding kids, pressured lives – but somehow they put so much into their writing.
If you could hold on to your submissions until I’m back (preferably till mid-April) I’d appreciate it or my computer could spontaneously combust. Apologies to those who will/have waited more than 6 weeks to hear from me. I’ve been doing way too many 12-hour days and I can’t keep up with the amount pouring in. I dream of an assistant. Meanwhile I wish you all a lovely Easter.