New Things

It’s been like Christmas here this week. Of course, the launch date for Carolrhoda Lab was the big date circled in red, but there were also surprises to be unwrapped. The advance reading copies of the books showed up yesterday (does that make them Boxing Day presents?). Now, I’m filled with something like post-Christmas satisfaction and am inclined to do some stock taking. (And since I’m an email packrat, there is ample material):


First, some numbers:

201, 112, and 84.

These are the number of emails between the authors (Brezenoff, Woolston, and Bick, respectively) and me that it took to get from query to present (coincidentally, all three novels came unsolicited).

Now, some words:

“Kohler, WI”

“…the book is rife with ambiguity. It is lacking in prom dresses and predictability, but it is rich in theoretical physics, murdered chickens, and an unusual and resilient main character.”

A beer would be great.”

These are excerpts of note from my first emails with Ilsa, Blythe, and Steve. Yes, Steve and I did have that beer (I love local authors), and here’s the best part: we both arrived at the pub by bike and we both order the same beer (Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, may it never, ever be discontinued. Plus, there’s a Hemingway connection, so it makes even more sense.).

Here are some more words:

Stalag Winter


The Freak Observer

These are working titles the manuscripts came in with. The first two were difficult to wrestle into final-title submission. The last was one of those rare working titles that perseveres.

There are lots of other little details that spring to mind now. For instance, I read most of The Freak Observer while sitting on a plane endlessly delayed on the way to Chicago for a wedding. Ilsa’s book was actually the second book of hers I read, after making an offer on the first. And I’ll not soon forget the adventure that was working with Teens Know Best to help create the cover for Steve’s book. And so on.

I’ve worked on my share of books, but I remaining astonished at how books happen. There’s almost always luck, coincidence, misunderstanding, and randomness, plus long phone conversations, colorful Word files, and some alcohol in various measures, all coming together after a year or three to make a book. Whatever changes about books, let’s try to keep that part.

Now, I’ve got to stop this before I start signing Turn, Turn, Turn.

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