Friday, January 8, 2010

Light Beneath Ferns

Since I've blogged about my dog, I think it's only fair to devote one blog about a new book I have coming out.

Probably the number one question people ask me is, "So what is it like to get a book published?" I think my answer to that has changed. With my first book, I actually felt terrified. I liked anonymity, writing whatever I wanted without anyone knowing anything more about me other than where I had previously published. And it was really, really weird to go from that to having people send me manuscripts to pass along to "the people at Flux" -- I guess everyone knows by now that if you have a published writer's email address, you're just about there...

But you get used to it. And you get used to people asking you to sign the book and telling you what's wrong with the book and how they would have written it and what both you and Andrew Karre (the previous editor at Flux) should have done. But it's definitely a life transition. The readers force the change in your life. There's one Library Thing reader review of The Shape of Water that speaks to how that's done more than I ever could:

This novel helped me let go of some painful and shameful things I had a difficult time with in my own life that I had...I was able to finally speak up to my father about anger that I had never been listened to without him cutting me off mid-sentence and that was the one main thing I was angry about. This novel changed my being able to speak up for myself, by persisting and clarifying what I meant to him. I have never been able to say that before about a book. I really love this book. As a result of reading this book, I dealt with tying up some loose ends in my own life. TERRIFIC!!! HIGHLY RECOMMEND. The entire review is here.

That amazes me. And it reinforces what I've always believed: that books have the power to change lives. (Wonderful, I hear my son's voice saying, "Yeah, Mom, but so do diets." He's not here now, and I don't recall him ever saying that; I just hear that response. He really needs to go away to college...)

Anyway, I'm not talking about my NEW book which I said I would. First off, I love the cover. Everyone does; they tell me how great it is. I always say "THANKS!" even though the lovely folks at Flux did all the work. They figured out what went with the story, scouted for it, put it together, showed it to me, and I get the credit. So I love covers.

And second of all, I've already gotten emails that ask "It's not like your first book, is it?"

Nope. It's different. I think it's easier to read, less dense, and probably for a younger reader. I'm sure people will tell me what I and Brian Farrey (the present editor at Flux) should have done.

Or maybe not. I'm not sure what it's like to have a second book out yet, since it's not really official until February. I do know that if someone asked me now, "So what is it like to publish books?" I would answer: "It's great. It's really, really fun." How else would I ever open my email to read this from a thirteen year old girl: "Your new book is Parnormalish, right?"



Lisa Amowitz said...

Hi Anne!

Did you realize after you posted on my blog, my critmate told me your book, The Color of Water, changed her LIFE?

So, it is next on my reading list and then I will certainly read your new book. Would you possibly be interested in an interview on my blog? I'd be honored. First, let me do my homework.

Please let me know!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

That is a dynamite cover. I can't wait to read it. I know just what you mean about having your son's voice in your head, with me, it's my daughter's voice.

Mary Witzl said...

What a great review, Anne. If I were published and got a review like that, that would be it for me -- I could die happy. Your book sounds fantastic -- it's been on my list for some time now. When we get back to the U.K., I'm going to have a whale of a time reading all the books on my list.

Mary Witzl said...

And yes -- that really is a great cover. Mysterious, intriguing -- I'd reach right for your book if I were a kid.

Jemi Fraser said...

Exciting news!! That review is amazing. You should be very proud. :)

Hardygirl said...

Soooo . . . what's it like to have your second book coming out??? I wonder if it will be different . . . more manuscripts handed to you, more unsolicited comments, more bliss and wonderful comments and reviews . . .

Let us know!


Bish Denham said...

Gosh Anne, I'm sure I left a comment yesterday! Congratulations on your new book. LOVE the title and the phote to go with it.

Anne Spollen said...

Wow, Lisa, that's wonderful news. I know books can change lives - but most of us, including me, are way, way more used to READING life-changing books than writing them. Thanks for passing that along. I'm not sure I've ever been more flattered. And sure, I'd do an interview. However do keep in mind that after all this, I'm going to be impossible to deal with...

That's the thing, Elizabeth. Do you think it's because they once inhabited our bodies that their voices linger?

Anne Spollen said...

Thanks, Mary. Yes, the cover -- I take full credit for receiving the email that showed me the cover. It's harder than it looks.

But yeah, they really did a good job. I actually like all the covers at Flux.

Thanks, Jemi. I can't tell you how nice it is to do something I like to do and have it help people in some way.

I'll let both you and Katie know, sf. I can say this so far: it's way easier than the first. Sort of like having your second baby -- you know kind of what to expect. (Then again, my second baby was Philip, and if you follow this blog...)

Sorry, Bish, I maybe I didn't see it or it didn't send. I had to enable comment mod since I was getting "very sexy time" and that kind of spam in my comments section. But thanks!

storyqueen said...

Anne, I love the title of your new book...and the cover is gorgeous.

Congratulations. I am excited to read it.


Anonymous said...

You write YA books that people love, have two kids, work at a college and have a life? Somehow that's not fair.I can bareley take care of one elementary age kid, I dont' work and I have been working on a manuscript for over two years.

What's your secret?

And congratulations on your second book! It looks very intriguing and I can't wait to read it.

Karen Karson (we met at the college luncheon)

Anne Spollen said...

Thanks, Shelley. Nice of you to stop by.

Hey Karen - I do remember meeting you. I actually have three kids, I'm sure there will be negative reviews of the book, and I have not much life - if by that you mean friends and parties and such.

I write in between things, and have never had a formal writing schedule. I almost never watch tv, and I am behind in a good many housekeeping arenas (my Christmas tree is still up; I'm scared that there are ceramic Halloween pumpkins still on the dining room shelf...that kind of thing)

I guess I think about what I'm going to write while I'm doing things like driving, folding laundray (or listening to the dean's speech), then when I get some free time, I write like crazy, really fast and fix it later. You just have to stick with it; your ms will come together.

K.C. Shaw said...

What a fantastic review! Wow, just wow. Did you walk around stunned and awed the rest of the day after reading it? :)

Anne Spollen said...

That pretty much sums up my response, K.C.

And what it also helps to do is strengthen my resolve to protect what little writing time I can wrangle. But yeah, I was amazed - and happy.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I sometimes struggle with different aspects of writing v. publishing. An MFA recently scolded me about my drive to follow the market. "You should write for yourself," he chided.

The best thing, I suppose is when we can do both, write for ourselves and for the marketplace. I've always said, what's the use of writing unless you're being read.

Anne Spollen said...

I always felt that writing for myself is called journaling.

Your quote, "...what's the use of writing unless you're being read,"
is exactly true. There is no point.

And I've never understood why the "market" is construed as this evil, materialistic type of entity - it's really more of a trend indicator and it's comprised of readers - and they can't be all wrong.

Anonymous said...

I just finished Light Beneath Ferns. I absolutely loved it. I'm not sure what draws me in with the book. I picked it up for my daughter and wound up reading it myself. I think the character resonates with me as I've always found myself prefering to be alone & still having to fight for that right. Plus the haziness/fog is such great symbolism for how many of us live our lives. Occasionally someone comes along who connects with us. I love all of it. Perfect book