Crazy amazing news

So this is how life works, sometimes.

You’re sitting on a school bus surrounded by your 7-year-old daughter and her first grade classmates, bumping your way down the mountain from a field trip at a nature preserve. Oh, look. You’ve finally got cell phone reception again and can check your email. You don’t expect to see anything interesting. You’re just kind of bored and don’t want to listen to the kids sing something called “The Fart Song” for the 84th time.

But, holy shit. There actually is something interesting. You know, just, like, an email from your agent, telling you that your editor has OFFERED YOU ANOTHER TWO-BOOK DEAL.

Mind you, I have not written two more books. These are two books that have yet to be conceived, developed, drafted, pitched, or anything else that would make them more than a twinkle in my eye. They’re simply books that HarperCollins wants me to write, and books they want to publish. Because they really, really like me.

Did I already say holy shit? Not with capitals. Now I’m saying it with capitals. Holy Shit. Now I’m saying it with a face like this:

This new contract came as a complete surprise to me, and I could not be more thrilled. The fact that my editor, Rosemary Brosnan, and everyone else at HarperCollins Children’s is that excited about “You Look Different In Real Life,” the fact that they have faith in me to keep writing YA books that people want to read, the fact that they want to make this kind of investment in my career…well, there are no words. There is only this:

I’ve been so embedded in revisions for “You Look Different” that I haven’t been able to think much about books #3 and #4. But I do have a sensation. I know what kind of story I want to take on next and how the experience might feel to a reader. I’ve never started from that place before, so this should be interesting. In the meantime, I’m psyched to be able to share the big news, and grateful to all the people who helped make it a possibility, especially everyone who has supported “The Beginning of After” on its continuing journey. I really feel like an Author now.

Best. Bus ride. Ever.

Cool, tall, vulnerable, and luscious

A bit of business: Congrats to Jennifer A. at the Little Shelf blog for winning the ARC giveaway! More giveaways to come — keep an eye on Goodreads — and the book should be on NetGalley any day now.

So yesterday in the car, which is where all profound and random things tend to happen for me, my 6-year-old daughter Sadie announced that she wants to be “cool and beautiful.”

At first, I felt sad. Because of course, she is cool and beautiful, but as is the nature of most truly cool and beautiful girls, she will never understand just how cool and beautiful she is. (I have no idea what “cool” and “beautiful” mean in the context of being 6, and even though I’m a little scared to ask, next time I will.)

Then I was reminded of Liz Phair’s incredible song “Perfect World” from her Whitechocolatespaceegg album, where she sings about wanting to be “cool, tall, vulnerable, and luscious.” Which then reminded me of how much I love all the songs on that album, and that reminded me of how dangerous, dirty, and completely badass I felt when my boss at the time first introduced me to Liz’s debut album, Exile In Guyville.

Then I was so very happy. I’ve been trying to collect songs that Justine, the protagonist in my book-in-progress, would listen to, because she’s feeling lost and blank and pissed. Liz Phair! You still rock my world, Liz Phair, even though I sort of forgot about you for a while. I know you and Justine will be fantastic friends in my mind.

Still looking to build Justine’s “playlist” — I don’t listen to music while I’m actually writing, just when I’m brainstorming or simply want to be in a place with my characters — so if you have any other suggestions, I’d love to hear them. She’s quietly angry and doesn’t really know why. She has no idea who she is, as a person. People expect things of her, but she expects nothing of herself even though she really should. She wants to be cool, tall, vulnerable, and luscious…and would never admit it. What’s on her iPod?

Did I mention how much I love this song? And this video someone made, too.