About that champagne thing. Let me tell you what has been going on the last few months.
Dr V is writing book in little less than half a year. So all I have to do is write the book, edit it, keep Brody alive, work, and add 4 hours to every day. After I plot the dethroning of the Evil Count AwfulSuperintendent here in my school district.
When I was seven, my mother once punished me by sending me to my room for an hour. Three hours later, she came upstairs and found me sitting on the floor with my dog Taffy, with every single book I owned perched on various flat surfaces.
“What are you doing?” she asked, goose stepping around Nancy Drew, Snoopy’s Big Book of Questions and Answers, and Mercer Mayer.
“I’m playing library,” I said, like it wasn’t totally obvious. “Taffy and I are having story time.” After that my mom wised up and started punishing me by making me go talk to strangers instead, which was cruel and unusual punishment.
I figured out I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was 21. I knew I wanted to write for, well, as long as I could hold a pen. I watched Beverly Hills 90210 (the first one) with glee, wishing I were Kelly, heck, I’d even settle for being Brenda, but knowing full well I was soooo totally Andrea: right on down to the huge glasses, bad hair, awkwardness, and taking the job of high school newspaper editor way too seriously. Lest you think I’m exaggerating:
“I want to study journalism,” I told my dad, a nuclear engineer.
“You can’t make a decent living doing that,” he said, so I studied biology and ended up going to veterinary school instead, because, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Nevertheless, I wrote the entire time: on papers, napkins, in journals, and, starting in 2001, on the internet. I studied because I had to. I wrote because I needed to. If I didn’t exorcise the running dialogue in my head and bind it to words on screen, I’d be drowning in my thoughts 24/7 and would never have time to memorize the dosing profile of etomidate versus propofol.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d probably sneak a writing class or two into my undergrad curriculum, you know, the way some people sneak a bottle of vodka into the dorm, because it probably would have been useful. I admit it. When it comes to the science and mechanics of writing:
I’ve always known I’d like to write a book the way my daughter knows she’d like a pony some day and my husband knows he’d like to be a concert photographer: yeah, that would be nice, and now I have 15 loads of laundry to do. I never seriously researched writing a book because I assumed that would never actually happen. Therefore, I spent exactly zero time actively pursuing the idea.
Deus Ex Machina
But back in November, something crazy and out of the blue dropped in my lap. I was given an introduction to an agent, Steve Troha, who likes music and doesn’t like witches and werewolves and did like my blog. We hit it off instantly. If you recall my life in November, I was in a cramped apartment unsure of where I was going to be living and losing hair by the handful, so part of me assumed our conversations were a stress induced hallucination and that I couldn’t possibly be talking to a real, live agent.
“Do you have a proposal ready?” he asked me.
“What’s a proposal?” I asked.
He took a step back. “Do you know what you might want to write?”
“Oh, absolutely. Here are 14 dissonant ideas that have nothing to do with one another.”
Because I am lucky, he still responded to my emails after that.
It took a mere 4 months, and took many judicious suggestions, lots of revisions, and a few moments of what I call “I’m a real writer now wheee” breakthroughs then I jumped out of bed at 1 am, started pounding on the keyboard with tears running down my face, and told my perplexed husband “No it’s OK…(sob)…this is a breakthrough…(weep)….I’m writing about Emmett…(gasp)”. But finally I had in hand an outline for the Project of Which I am More Proud than I’ve Ever Been, about being that sad child with the Polaroid glasses and a crazy dog and holding onto a dog for dear life for the next 20 years of insanity.
Then Steve worked his magic with the proposal and did whatever it is agents do in New York, and after a whirlwind week of talking to editors and pinching myself repeatedly, I ended up in the capable hands of Emily Griffin at Grand Central Publishing, who pinky promised she wasn’t playing a cruel practical joke on me and actually wanted to publish my book.
That’s the shortest I can make this version. The book will be much longer, though, and I can’t wait to share more about the process as it happens. If all goes as planned, it’ll be hitting the shelves Fall 2014.
The title, by the way, I’ve known since 2009.
It is, of course, All Dogs Go to Kevin.