One year ago today...
A year ago today I received a contract offer from Woodhall Press for The Language of Bodies.
It was a long journey to get to that place. I began playing with the idea of a novel set in a Wild West wax museum in 2017, and then the shocking murder of a young transgender woman named Ally Steinfeld drove my decision to center the story around someone who lost a loved one in a similar way. The writing took several years, followed by what seemed like endless editing. I eventually pitched it to about 75 agents and editors. Form rejections or complete silence were the norm, but a few people replied with feedback which I incorporated while I kept submitting.
It was an exhausting, dispiriting process, as most authors know.
In January of 2020, the ever serene Laura Strachan of the Strachan Literary Agency offered to represent my strange, lovely book, and the cycle of submission resumed, though this time, she did all the work and I merely waited impatiently. After a year and a half of her efforts, Woodhall's offer arrived.
Declan bought me flowers. I probably cried.
The year which followed has been its own journey, peppered with firsts. The first feedback from a publishing house editor. The first formatted version of the manuscript. The first round of potential covers. The first time seeing my novel on Amazon.
Declan is a wonderful champion. He reminds me regularly of how hard it was to get to where we are today: less than a week away from the book's launch on October 4. I don't think I could have pushed through all the discouragement if it weren't for him. And of course, the novel itself would never have been written without him. Our love is the heartbeat of the book; the pounding drive of Maddie's rage and sorrow, the depth of her passion, and the dark beauty of her memories.
We're in the final countdown now. The days will soon dwindle to hours, and the book will be out for the world to read. It's exciting, and terrifying. I'm tired and exhilarated from the endless work of spreading the news. And through it all I think about Ally and all the other transgender people who simply wanted to live their lives, and the suffering of those who live on after their loved ones were taken from them.
I have so many hopes for this weird book. I hope the opening pages grab readers and pull them into a strange world of heartbreak and laughter, of dark thoughts and soft memories, of an irritating wax Jesse James, and the lulling comfort of old cookbooks. I hope readers cry, and giggle, and worry about Maddie, and think more deeply about the particular beauty of bodies and the profound depth of love. I hope I've made Declan proud, and I hope for a world to come when people like Maddie's wife Char, and young women like Ally can live out their lives in peace.
We'll see what happens. Meanwhile, today is an anniversary of a very significant first. And we're going to celebrate.
Find The Language of Bodies at the following booksellers or your favorite book store: