Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Morning After

You want to know how it feels when you've just signed a book contract?


Like one of those crazy rabbits running from one corner of the cage to the other, holding their heads and going, "Oh my God, oh my God, what to do now?"

Oh wait there's something wrong with this image... nevermind. It's how it feels. I needed a drink. A four-finger drink, straight up. And I needed to TELL! The news sat in my chest like a huge big shining bubble, ready to burst if I did not let it out. Trust me, if this happens to you, you want to SHOUT it to the world. It is the proverbial dream coming true. The one you have lived through, as a writer, on many nights lying awake in your bed. The scene you play out in your mind, the one moment you long for, more than anything else.

Only when it happens, it is WAY different from what you thought it would be.

For me, it was a short email asking for a skype chat. Uhu. I hate webcams. They make me look even fatter and dowdier than I already am. I'm shy, and I did not want my family to be present for this "talk" (I had no idea what was coming!!!) and hid in my kid's room with my laptop.

So on comes this nice lady in a slightly messy office, and she tells me THESE THINGS! Tells me she loves my book and really believes in it, and what a joy it is to work with me, and yes, they really do want to sign me (Insert here: Mariam goes to pieces). There was some more business talk, of course, but the bottom line is: Yes, I have my book deal. And I got it sitting on my kid's unmade bed, the mess on the floor thankfully  not visible over the webcam. I must have come across like a total imbecile, but whatever. Nothing was said that I couldn't just nod to and say, "Uhu,uhu, right, sure." Business cards? Sure. Book tour? Hell, yes!!!

While this went down, my family was grumbling about lunch - which was ready and heartily ignored by me - and ate without me.

And folks, I'm SO glad that camera catches only your face or my brand-new publisher would have seen I was not even wearing a bra... now is THIS how you picture your moment of glory? Certainly not, right? Well, it was mine.

So today I woke up and wondered... is my life different now?

And the answer is, yes. It is different. It is VERY different. Not outwardly, mind. I still need to clean the bathroom before our friends come over later to drink the bubbly with us and celebrate. And the cat still barfed on the carpet. Nothing different there. But on the  inside, everything has changed. It's the day of justification, the moment I worked for so long. Now I can look at my dusty shelves and the grimy stove and say to them, "See? You had to suffer, but it was worth it!" And my dear, poor hubby, who did most of the housework so I could write, and edit, and rewrite, and edit... now I can say, "Thank you, sweetheart, and look, it was good for something."

I know they say you should write for yourself and not think about publication. That's just whistling in the dark. If you are serious about it, you DO write to get published. Well, I did. Do. I need this vindication. I need it to return it to my family and friends. They deserve it, for all their support and patience and love during the past three years.

And hey, I rather like it, too. I liked walking through our book store today and thinking, "Soon, soon!" I like the feeling of being on the other side of the wall, I'm not going to lie. And yes, I do want the commercial success, both for myself and for the publisher who put their trust and money in me. There will be a lot of work before I can admire my novel in the shop windows and displays, but it will be there. If I have to stack it there myself it will be there. My publisher, MaryChris, will not be sorry for her decision to take me on.

My novel, "The Distant Shore", is a Contemporary Romance set in Norway, London, L.A., NYC and the outskirts of Toronto, and it tells a nearly impossible love story. I have the hope it will be published late this year, but that depends on me, and how fast I get the final edits done. So stick around, and watch this space for updates.

I think this will be a wild, wonderful ride.