[In life — and including the sometimes difficult to understand word of publishing — there are those events/experiences that make one believe. In today’s guest post, Therese Fowler (Souvenir, Reunion) shares the unexpected, favorable events surrounding her latest novel, Exposure, in bookstores next Tuesday, May 3, 2011.]
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Exposure, my third novel, is a book that seems to have been meant to be. My cynical side (yes, I have one) says that’s a dopey thing to claim. My spiritual side (yes, I have one of those, too) says otherwise. So I’ll let you be the judge. Here’s the evidence:
• Due to scheduling matters, in early 2009 my publisher pushed the publication date of my next book from 2010 to 2011, which stretched my deadline as well. That summer (’09), I was hard at work on the book I’d thought would be my third when my son was arrested for what’s come to be called a “sexting” crime—in his case a misdemeanor charge, but one that had potentially very serious consequences. The issues surrounding his arrest troubled me so much that they inspired a new story idea, a kind of modern Romeo and Juliet tale. Because of that extended deadline, I was able to set aside the book I’d been writing and write the story that became Exposure instead.
• A year later, when Exposure was done and being sent out for author endorsements (aka “blurbs”), I had some time on my hands, so I succumbed to peer pressure and joined Twitter. I was just getting familiar with the site when I saw a friend’s re-tweet of Jennifer Weiner’s tweet about the New York Times reviewing a debut novel Jen said she “might actually want to read.” (This was a slam against the Times, not debuts.) I read the review, thought the book sounded fabulous, and re-tweeted. That tweet included the book’s author, Eleanor Brown, who then sent me a message to thank me and say she was a fan of mine! A day or two later, I realized that her novel and mine had a connection: Shakespeare. On a whim, knowing she was on book tour and probably way too busy to read and possibly endorse Exposure, I asked anyway. She said she’d try—and she did, and her fabulous quote now graces the back cover!
• Around that time, a bound manuscript of Exposure that included the cover art was sitting on my literary agent’s kitchen counter when her twenty-one-year-old daughter came home during holiday break from college. The cover caught her daughter’s eye—especially the image of the girl. She said, “Hey, that’s Emily!” Emily: a good friend who is a model and actress and whose image just happened to be the exact right one chosen by the Ballantine Books publishing team for a novel soon to be published by Emily’s friend’s mother’s client (me).
• On March 26th, about a week before finished copies of Exposure would be sent out for media review and feature coverage, the Times ran this front-page article about teens and sexting. My first job as an author is to simply tell a compelling story the best way I can so that readers feel they’ve gotten their time and/or money’s worth. But I’d hoped that Exposure, which is a cautionary tale, might also help prevent future crises for other families. I never imagined it would land at the very moment the issue got “hot.”
What happens now? Now the book goes out into the world to be whatever it will be. Que sera, sera. Will there be other happy or interesting coincidences? I’ll be waiting to see.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this last interesting connection: four years ago, a generous blogger who loves books and was interested in emerging authors began visiting the blog I used to write. I was about to see my first novel, Souvenir, released in the UK, seven months ahead of its North American release. That blogger bought UK copies of my book for herself and a few other eager readers, then blogged about and reviewed the book, an act that led me to dub her “an author’s fairy godmother.” Today I come to you via her remarkable website, The Divining Wand.
Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of The Violets of March by Sarah Jio in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post, Presenting Debutante Sarah Jio and The Violets of March. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.