Yesterday I got back from yoga, where my teacher wasn’t laughing when she invited me to try some paddleboard yoga this summer (okay, you can laugh) and found my smiling husband carrying in a small carton. The UPS guy had left advance reader copies of Little Women in Blue, which will go to selected booksellers and reviewers. I brought a copy to my graduate class last night. One student stroked the cover, admiring its softness. Another said she liked the mystery of the path before the woman on the cover and “It looks historical but not Historical, if you know what I mean.”
I’m thankful to She Writes Press, who produced such a gorgeous feeling and looking book. And for my husband, who when I said, “If my book does well, I will…” broke in to say, “You mean when your book does well.” Then when I mentioned that now that I have these ARCs I should see about getting some book signing dates, Peter said, “It seems like a rainy Friday morning would be a good time to go to a bookstore.”
Maybe no one can match an author’s own enthusiasm for a book, but if anyone can, it’s Hannah Moushabeck, bookseller extraordinaire at the Odyssey Bookshop. She makes you feel like a princess or J.K. Rowling. She said she’ll send me a few dates to choose for a reading/signing in September or October when the book will be released, and promised fun.
I also carry with me the generosity of writers who read my book in manuscript and provided kind words for the cover. George Howe Colt, author of The Big House and Brothers, which deftly combines memoir and research, Harriet Scott Chessman, whose novel Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper was inspirational to me, and Gabrielle Donnelly, who in The Little Women Letters imagines the contemporary lives of Jo March’s descendants, took the time to read my book in manuscript and compose words that I hope will draw others to the book when it comes out in early fall.
I’ve got lots to do before then. A website to update, postcards to get made, articles and talks to write. I’ve got review copies to send and then freak out about. I’ll have fresh rejections and disappointments, but more thanks to give, too, and will be calmed remembering the friends and family who’ve encouraged me along the way. Sometimes with handmade postcards: the one in the picture behind my book was made with words from my picture book, Mary Anning and the Sea Dragon, by my brother-in-law, artist Bruce Laird. And just maybe I’ll try that paddleboard, though not with any fancy poses. The worst that can happen is that I get wet, right?