Tuesday was the book birthday for my debut young adult novel HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES (Simon Pulse). And let me say this, I think it was much better than a regular birthday, and not just because I didn’t have to think about getting another year older.The Twitter and Facebook love began in the wee hours of the morning and continued all day. (I think all of us here at The Lucky13s have said this at some point, but I’m very lucky to be a Lucky.)
After my MAX fitness class, where my instructor was kind enough to plug my book, prompting high fives from my entire class, I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble with my dear friend Jen (yes, we travel in pairs). I thought she was going to have to scrape me off the ceiling when I saw my book on the shelves beside the works of established authors I admire and new authors who I’ve come to know and respect through groups like this one. It was hard to resist stopping customers and saying something silly like “That’s my book!”My phone literally buzzed all day long as I received congratulatory messages in all forms, including photos of friends and family buying my book. By the time I went to bed, my head was spinning with joy and gratitude.
The next day was quieter, and it gave me time to think about writing this blog post, and also about a question a reporter from my hometown newspaper asked me a few weeks ago. “What do you hope readers take away from your books?”I was caught off guard when she asked me and I doubt my answer was very eloquent. For the past eighteen months I’ve been so busy working on edits for two young adult novels, I didn’t give questions like this much thought. But I’m thinking about it today. What do I want readers to take away from my books? Before I type another word, let me pause to say how thankful I am to have readers. That anyone may be taking the time to read the words I’ve strung together and put paper is mind-blowing.
That being said, I wish I’d given the reporter this answer when she asked. I want for my readers the same things I, as a reader, want. Does that make sense?I want to get lost in a great story. I want an author to help me find the funny in life when I don’t even feel like smiling. I want to lose all track of time and not be able to put a book down. I want to grow so attached to characters that they feel like friends. And when I finish a book, I want to imagine that those characters have gone on living, and hope to find myself wondering what will become of them five, ten, or twenty years from now. I want to feel butterflies in my stomach, get tears in my eyes, and laugh out loud.
This is a tall order, I know. If I’m able to accomplish just one of these things with my writing, I’ll be happy. But for now, today, all I can do is be so very thankful that I’ve been given the chance to try.
Congratulations to all The Luckies with books debuting this week!
REBOOT by Amy Tintera
THE END GAMES by T. Michael Martin
THE S-WORD by Chelsea Picther
MAID OF SECRETS by Jennifer McGowan
HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES by Jennifer Doktorski
CODA by Emma Trevayne
NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland
RIPTIDE Lindsey Scheibe