Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Arc de Triomphe

Monday was one of those pinch-me days.  My ARCs arrived.  An ARC (Advance Reader Copy) is what publishers send out to media outlets in the  months leading up to publication in the hopes of snagging reviews, interviews, etc.  The ARC is basically the book itself, without the final edits and with the words Advance Reader's Copy - Uncorrected Proof emblazoned on the front cover.

So I tore open the box like a kid on Christmas morning and this is what I saw:

I went into a delirium for a few minutes.  Caught myself stroking it Gollum-like, whispering My Precious, my Precious...  The colors on the cover, especially on the edges, were a little darker than expected, which I liked: it captured the sense of ominous and impending danger well.

I showed it to my oldest son who asked if there were any pictures inside.  Hiding his disappoint when I told him there were none, he took the book into his hands.  What impressed him the most wasn't the cover design, or even my author photo inside, but was - strangely - how it smelled.  He kept rubbing his nose on the cover, inside the book, sniffing hard.  He liked the smell.  Now I know why I wrote the book.

But what a feeling to be finally holding the book in my hands!  The visceral physicality of it.  So I did what came most natural.  I turned to the first page and started reading.  Hours later, I was still at it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Over the past few weeks, I've been letting family, friends, and work colleagues know about the upcoming release date of Crossing.  Most people - after getting over their initial surprise (few had any inkling I've been working on a novel) - have expressed genuine happiness for me, and their sincerity shows in their eyes.  Their encouragement and enthusiasm for the book has been awesome and humbling.  They've asked, for example, what is the best way to buy the book (online or in-store purchase) so as to "help my career as an author."  They've asked about the plot, the editorial process, the cover design; their curiosity and interest in the book move me deeply.

It's also been an awesome way to reconnect with college buddies.  Facebook is great for reconnecting, but most of my previous interactions with college friends have been limited to clicking the "like" button, or writing "cute kids!" to photos.  With the Crossing's imminent publication, however, there's been communication at a deeper level with these college friends, many of whom I haven't seen or really even spoken with for over a decade.  That's been an unexpected benefit to Crossing's publication.

One of the things I've realized in speaking/writing with a few of them is just how far back my dream of authoring a novel goes.  I thought that dream was something that began post-college, but apparently a few of them remember how even back in my college days I had talked about it.  How I used to tap away on my Macintosh Classic, punching out stories.  And suddenly memories have come back: my freshman roommate reading my short story, liking it so much that he passed it around among our circle of friends; the affirming look my creative writing professor gave me after he finished reading aloud one of my short stories to the class; being intoxicated in my Hemingway class by the austere beauty of his literary craftsmanship.

It goes back so far.  Probably even further back if I really think about it.  Maybe that's why April 27, 2010, feels like the culmination of something almost four decades in the making.  A destination of sorts after a long journey.  Or a way station.  And why I find myself waking up an hour early each morning, my heart thumping with excitement.