Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"And the Fun Just . . ."

Usually I quote this line from Buffy at stressful times, since the complete line is "And the fun just keeps on leaving."

But in the wake of the last couple weeks, I'm having to revise my usual cynically practical view of life into a 'holy cow, why are so many good things happening? Am I about to be diagnosed with a fatal illness?' view of life.

(Note: "cynically practical" is NOT the same thing as "pessimistic." I'm perfectly prepared to believe that bad things have and always will happen--often to me personally or those close to me--without ever conceding that life sucks. Because life is just life and I've had some awesome moments of pure joy wrapped up in a package of outer misery.)

And no, I don't really suspect I'm about to be diagnosed with anything fatal--I am however, prepared to believe that our water heater needs to be replaced, as I found out today. That's a trade-off I'm willing to accept for the awesome news that has come my way from New York these last two weeks.

Question: what do the books READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN and THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY and HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET and DEFENDING JACOB have in common? What about authors E.L Doctorow, Sharon Kay Penman, Anna Quindlen, Sarah Addison Allen, Carol Goodman, and Alison Weir?

Answer: They are all part of a prestigious group, the Random House Reader's Circle. The titles offered are "the very best for book groups" and each book includes additional material such as discussion guides and author interviews. RHRC also provides opportunities for book clubs to speak live with an author during one of their meetings. Click here to explore the RHRC website.

Question #2: Why am I telling you this?

Answer #2: Because two weeks ago I got this email from my editor--"I wanted to share the good news that in our in-house planning mtg yesterday, I was delighted to discover that many of my colleagues in other departments--marketing and publicity foremost among them--have read Boleyn King and are wildly in love with it. So wildly in love, in fact, that the novel has been elevated to a Random House Readers Circle (RHRC) publication, which means it will not only have a more aggressive marketing campaign . . . but a special Advance Reader's Edition and there will be additional material in the published book . . ."

That's right--come June 4, 2013, THE BOLEYN KING will be on sale as a Random House Reader's Circle book. My book! On the fringes of a group that includes some of my favorite writers and favorite books of all time! And also . . . my book is being aimed at book clubs! Considering that my book club is one of the very best things that has ever happened in my life, is it any wonder I grow faint at the thought? (And also at the thought of that 'additional material' which I am now required to write--fortunately my editor, Kate, has some good ideas of what that should entail so I'm not completely flailing around.)

Question #3: Isn't it a dead certainty that after that much good news in a single month, the next email from my editor would have bad news?

Answer #3: Not in this new, not so cynical world of mine. Because the next email was this one: "This is one of those unfortunate scrambly things that I hope you can help me with.  Our Subrights Department is asking for an author photo to use for Frankfurt Book Fair materials." 
Let me get this straight, I mused upon reading this. You would like me to scramble to send you a photo of me that will be used at the largest book trade fair in the world? Used by Subrights for, presumably, getting the word out about my book to publishers outside the U.S.? Um, yes, I believe I can scramble for that. 

I try--really, I do--to not dance too gleefully in public over good news. But just for a minute, I have to squawk with pleasure and dance a little gleefully. It's nice to be cool for a minute or so. Because all too soon I've forgotten to get something at the grocery store or failed to pay lunch money to the school or haven't done laundry in a week or any one of a hundred other moments in my actual life that serve primarily to remind me that I am not that cool and no matter how my book is packaged and how well (or not) it sells, I will still be surrounded by a life that's mostly cynical practicality. 

But every now and then, in the midst of cynicism, I grin for no apparent reason when I remember what the universe is giving me. And I give thanks. 

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