(Feature Image by Cary Anne Photography, 2012) Last week, I whispered a final goodnight to Meg and Henry when I released Perfect Glass to my agent. And, if you’re wondering, they’re good. So good. They said to tell you hello.
I know, I know, that book has been a promise and a dangling carrot for months, years, it seems. For you and for me. I wrote it, worked with an editor. Rewrote it. Got an agent and rewrote it again. But, as the famous saying goes, a book is not written, it is rewritten. And it is through the fire that it is forged and perfected. I will say more about this in a moment, but let me say now that Perfect Glass is quite a story.
I feel I owe you an explanation about its delay, and I’ll try to do that as far as I’m allowed. And, in fact, I should apologize for not being able to give you a release date for it yet.
It means that I was too timid to take the huge leap of trying to find an agent and sell my book to a large house. It means I wasn’t sure I was cut out for this world. It means my writerly ego is tiny. I wanted to dip a toe into the angry waters of publishing first. Westbow was a perfect fit for me because it allowed me to move at my own pace and have complete authorial say in what my words expressed and my tone evoked and my cover spoke.
It means I could say ‘baptism’ and you would know exactly where I was coming from. It means I could write about a typical, red-blooded rancher’s son who knew what he was about and spoke openly about his faith while also admitting Meg was a big temptation for him. It means I could put Meg in situations that reflected a reality while allowing her to simply observe and learn. She could be me. She could be you. We could figure it out together. And, we did.
Here’s the beautiful part—you. You are the beautiful part. You got it. You understood Meg’s tenderness. You fell in love with the way Henry looked at her. You cried with me and wrote me and told your friends and the book sold and sold. And you forgave me what I did wrong and supported me where I did right. I will love you until the day I leave this earth for these things you did for me.
One of the best things you did for me was you bought the book in numbers great enough to make me interesting to an agent. A super agent—Amanda Luedeke with the MacGregor Literary Agency. Amanda is one of those young, up-and-coming types who loves YA like you do. And she believes in my ability to turn phrases and create moments. I like her. I think you would, too. And Amanda is going to bat for me right now, working hard to get Glass Girl into a publishing house where it will attract more readers and speak to more teens who are just trying to live meaningful lives full of heart.
This, as I’m learning, takes time. A lot of time. Maybe more than a year. Who knows? But, if Amanda is successful at getting a house to buy Glass Girl, she would follow it up with Perfect Glass. If not, I promise, I will make Perfect Glass available in the same way Glass Girl is currently available. Fingers crossed, please, that things don’t take long.
Now, more on why I love Perfect Glass. This book continues the love affair between Henry and Meg, but it, like life, throws some curve balls. Like long distance. Like other people who are mightily attractive. Like heartbreak in Nicaragua and in Chapin. Like a curmudgeonly old woman who has deep things to teach Meg. Like a former gang member who has the power to break Henry. And throughout the story, Henry keeps saying to Meg—“Yes. Still yes. Always yes.”
I can’t wait for you to read it.
And now, this week, I awakened another book. I love it already. It’s a story about place as identity. It’s about hating where you came from for some surprising reasons. It’s about believing the lie that you’re better than some place and allowing that belief to make you miss out on a whole ton of beauty. It’s about the regret implicit in missing out. It’s about coming home and being okay with that. That’s all I can say because my Muse is giving me the gimlet eye from the chair across the way.
In the meantime, I’m also hanging around Nicole O’Dell’s Choose Now Ministry a lot. You’ll find me there and on the radio every month talking about the morality of celebrities (Laura Kurk | On Hollywood). I’m finding it interesting work. And challenging.
I also work with a teen writers’ critique group through a great organization called NextGen Writers. There’ll be a virtual conference this August and I’m a virtual presenter. I’m still trying to wrap my head around what that means. Please, check it out and register. I’ll look forward to virtually seeing you there.
And one of my best things is I get to go to the Oregon coast this summer and hang out on a cliff over the Pacific for a while. I’m dreaming of it already. I’ll post a lot of pictures of the four of us windblown and salty.
My wish for you is a perfect, relaxing, no-strings kind of summer. Let yourself be bored and recognize the value in it. Let your mind wander. Smile and laugh a lot. And wear cut-off jeans and cheap sunglasses. And smell like cocoa butter. And by all means, listen to good music loudly. And read. Oh, my gosh. Read. You know. Summer stuff.