Today was the release of the final book in my Skylark trilogy, Lark Ascending. Any book launch is a hugely emotional thing—years of work boiling down into one single day, when you send this thing you’ve created out out of your blood and your tears into the world to sink or swim on its own. But releasing the end to a trilogy is even weightier for me, even more overwhelming. I first started telling this story over five years ago and when I think back to where I was five years ago, it’s astonishing how much in my life has changed.
Back then I had just decided to try, really try, for the first time, to fulfill my dream of becoming a writer. I had the support of my family, my friends, and my soon-to-be co-author, Amie Kaufman; I had the knowledge gained from the six-week fiction-writing crash course Odyssey; and I had a nagging idea for a world and a character that wouldn’t leave me alone. I had my ideas and I had my keyboard, and all I really wanted was a chance to see where they’d take me.
Five years later… now, by the end of this year, I’ll have five books on the shelves. I’ve moved countries twice, moved states, attended conferences I never thought I’d get to attend, met and signed with authors—fellow authors!—I’d always dreamed of meeting, and received letters and emails from fans around the world that never stop amazing me, never stop reducing me to a blubbering, emotional blob on the floor. I still wake up at least once a week thinking “…I’m an author. That all actually happened. Is this really my life?”
And yes, there’s bad with the good. This is a rough, rough industry, not for the faint of heart. It’s impossible to come through five years of it totally unscathed.
But, at the end of the day, the most important things haven’t changed. I’ve still got my friends, my family, the support network that lets me keep doing this. And I’ve still got my ideas, and I’ve got my keyboard, and I’ve still got my chance to see where they take me from here. And that’s all I need.
Rather than write a long(er) reflective post about today, I will just put here what I wrote at the end of my acknowledgments in Lark Ascending:
I was on my way back from a book festival the other day and I finally realized why these acknowledgments were such a struggle for me: I wasn’t thanking who I really wanted to thank. Though Skylark certainly wasn’t written in a vacuum, it was written privately; and, to a certain extent, Shadowlark was as well. But by the time I got to the third book in this trilogy, I wasn’t writing it just for me anymore, or even for me and my publisher.
I was writing it for you.
You, who stays up late at night, reading by flashlight. You, who write to me after you finish each book. You, who I’ve never met, and perhaps never will meet, but for a few shared moments spent in this book. It’s your enthusiasm for this story and these characters that has kept me going and pushed me to finish this trilogy. I couldn’t have done it without you. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
So thank you.
You guys may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Well, there’s a lot of reasons for that. The biggest one is that this happened last week:
SKYLARK is in stores now! (Read more…)
First of all, before you do anything else, click over to Crits for Water and check out today’s auction! Amie and I are giving away a critique, PLUS Adams Literary will look at your query, PLUS (seriously, this package is crazy) Disney-Hyperion editor Laura Schrieber will read your first chapter AND call you on the phone to discuss it with you! Have you gone to check it out? Yes? Okay, then carry on below.
Well, I think I’m finally recovered (mostly!) from BEA. It was my first Book Expo, and man, what a way to start! My editor, Andrew Karre, spoke on the YA Editors Buzz Panel about SKYLARK, and then I got to sit with the other amazing buzz authors and discuss our books on our own panel. I also got to meet a wonderful bunch of bloggers at the blogger breakfast with me, Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.
And then—one of the craziest experiences yet—I got to do this:
Look at that line! Total madness. I got to meet so many awesome people while I signed, I wish I could’ve had more time to talk more! One guy told me that he wasn’t even going to come to BEA that day—but he came JUST to get his hands on a copy of SKYLARK and get it signed. Dude, whoever you are, you made my day. And given what an incredible day it was, that’s saying something.