If there’s anything that 2017 has taught me, it’s that nothing is always good—nor always bad.
For every political low, there’s been a personal high for me.
I proposed to my partner right after the election. I got married to the most generous, loving person in the world while everything was on fire.
In the middle of it all, I published a series of Middle-Grade books with my delightful co-author, Amber J. Keyser. But there, too, have been so many ups and downs.
Release day for Quartz Creek Ranch: UP!
Realizing life goes on as usual even after your book comes out: DOWN.
My first eight-year-old fan telling me he read my book not once, but twice: UP!
Seeing my first royalty statement: DOWN.
The radical shifts from high to low and back to high again haven’t stopped since the book launch, either. Every day on this road is an emotional roller coaster.
I finish revisions on the hardest book of my life: UP!
Then I find I can’t write a single word for the rest of the summer: DOWN.
I finally get my office at my new house set up: UP!
Then the endless snow and Wyoming wind hits: DOWN.
And that’s the thing about this business: the sheer unpredictability of it. There’s no way to know when you’re writing a book whether or not it will sell, whether or not people will like it, whether or not anyone will ever remember it was even published.
But I will. And that’s what 2017 has been about to me—keeping on doing what I know how to do, remembering that I do it for myself, and rolling with the waves. It’s like surfing, where the downs are just as much a part of the journey as the ups. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to catch all that air.
Then there are days where the up is really, really up. And one of those days is today, when I got a box full of gorgeous, matte-finished hardcover copies of my first YA novel, Honor Code. Here’s the incredible cover the team over at Carolrhoda Lab put together:
And here’s the inside of the dust jacket—the delicious blurb in neon pink:
And then the back cover, with these two stunning quotes from authors I deeply admire and respect!
You know what did me in, though, when I opened up the first one? This “Advance Praise” page on the inside. These are all the delightful things that people I’ve only just met, people I barely know, people whose books I read and loved and cried over, have said about Honor Code:
This book isn’t perfect, not by a long shot. But is any book, really? I didn’t realize how significant of a step it would be in my journey to learn to love it not just in spite of its imperfections, but because of them. The book, to me, is like my heroine Sam herself: earnest, imperfect, and angry at the injustice that pervades everything—injustices that seem impossible to conquer.
Revising Honor Code this past spring (over and over again) was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. This book cut me open, stitched me back up, then tore out the stitches again. And the irony of writing a story about the challenges women face in being heard, being believed, while an admitted sexual harasser was just elected president?
It was hard to bear.
But I write books because it’s the only way I know to communicate. It’s how I’ve always expressed myself best and most sincerely. Each story I write is a tiny part of myself.
And this part of me has finally been given life. It’s like some kind of delightfully, horribly painful sorcery.