If you haven't noticed, Lisa and I have been stuck in some sort of rut as of late. We've let the blog slip, let our writing slip, let our connection to publishing slip. We've put our hands up, taken a giant step back and have shut down just a teensy bit. Okay, a bigger than teensy bit. But all of this is okay. It was summer. Life was crazy. We needed a break.
But there have been signs. They've been sneaking into our lives, tapping us on the shoulders and gently nudging us back to writing. An idea for a blog post. A writing conference that inspires. A writing workshop with young, aspiring writers. And FANS.
We taught a summer writing workshop for The Learned Owl (the best neighborhood bookshop ever) called Embracing Your Inner Teenager: Writing for YA. It was awesome. There were retired women beginning a new chapter of their lives, ACTUAL young adults who loved to write and a few who came just because they were intrigued. At the end of the session, one of the young girls pointed to a copy of THE LIAR SOCIETY and said, "Wait a second. Did you write that book?" Why yes. Yes we did. She smiled widely and took out her phone. "My friend Kaylee is going to DIE. She loves that book. It, like, changed her life. Seriously! It's worn and marked up and has all sorts of creases on the spine because she's read it so many times. She's going to be so jealous that I got to meet you!" This adorable young girl went on to buy a signed copy of the book for her friend and it about made our night.
We felt pretty spiffy. Not only did we have an actual fan, but we'd had the chance to leave a special message in the book, including our email address, to said fan who we hoped we'd hear from soon. Because fans are amazing. But EMAILS from fans?! No words. But then I began to kick myself for not passing along an ARC of THE THIRD LIE'S THE CHARM to our new favorite fan. How easy would it have been to hand over the copy I had at the workshop?! She could have had an early read of the final installment. Boo.
But then the stars aligned as they sometimes do. My new favorite babysitter came over to watch my crazy 19-month-old son so we could head out to kindergarten open house and actually be able to breathe, focus and talk like normal people. Favorite babysitter said, "Lydia mentioned you were a writer and when she showed me your books, I recognized them. They're my sister Joanna's favorite!" Now it was my turn to smile widely. Another fan?! So exciting for us. And Ding Ding Ding, a chance to pass along that ARC. I rushed off to get one and handed it over to the best babysitter ever. But this time, I left some more specific instructions in the book.
"Joanna, so glad you like the books! Read (early!) and enjoy, but try your hardest to find Kaylee Arnold* when you're done and pass it along to her."
Mission accomplished. And now I can sleep at night.
*Don't worry Kaylee. I changed your name.