Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Pub Story: Heather Duffy-Stone

Author guest blogs + publication paths = Pub Stories. It's a Tuesday thing. Click here for more info (esp. if you're an author wanting to participate). Click here for a list of all participants.

A little back-story:
I loved This Is What I Want to Tell You (Flux, 2009) and reviewed it here. Shortly after, Heather got in contact with me about an unanswered question I had, and coincidentally, I was just thinking about starting Pub Stories--and she was the first person I asked to participate! /trivia

About Heather: Heather is a counselor, a writer and a teacher. For the moment, she lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her first novel, THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU, which is about falling in love for the first time and maybe getting a tattoo, will be published by Flux in March 2009. Visit her online at http://heatherduffystone.com.

Selling This Is What I Want to Tell You felt surreal. For a long time I never thought something like that could happen to me.

I had considered myself a writer for most of my conscious life. It was the only thing I ever wanted to do. After I graduated from college, where I studied Literature and Creative Writing, I applied to MFA Programs in Fiction. I didn’t get in. To any of them. This really shook my confidence, which to be honest was fragile to begin with. I stopped writing for a long time. And when I did write, I did so in secret. I didn’t want anyone to know or see what I was doing in case they wanted to see it.

Two years ago I moved back to New York after living in Italy for a time and I had this idea. I had to write it. I was ready for people to see it. I just had a feeling about it. So I joined a writing class. And I wrote like crazy for four months. I just wrote so hard. During this time I read an interview with Andrew Karre who was the Acquisitions Editor at Flux. That’s who I want to edit my first book, I thought. That’s it. My friend Micol Ostow had a book coming out with Flux and she agreed that it would be a good match for me. I finished the book in December 2007 and I sent it to Andrew on New Years Day. January 1, 2008. I had no idea what I was doing. I had no agent. I just felt like it was time.

Over the next month Andrew asked for the manuscript and read it and we had a few conversations. The first time we spoke, I knew. He got the book. He said all the right things. I felt like I was living in a fog. When I received the offer letter from him, I literally turned off my computer and went and sat on the other side of the room. I couldn’t believe it.

It was at that point that I found my agent, Jenoyne Adams. She’d been recommended to me by a few people and it so happened that she represented two incredible writers, Nora Pierce and Reyna Grande, who I had worked with years before when I was living in Los Angeles. When Jenoyne and I talked on the phone, I was in Vermont visiting my niece who was only a few weeks old. Everything was covered in snow. I know this sounds over the top, but I just had this feeling that so many things were beginning…

10 comments:

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Awesome pub story! I love how she just knew it was the beginning of something for herself. This Is What I Wan To Tell You is in my TBR pile, can't wait to get it!

-Amber

Steve Brezenoff said...

Great story! And great book, editor (AK), and friend (MO)!

writemeg said...

Love the book cover, and what a great story! Very inspirational, I have to say. I didn't get into my college's creative writing program the first go 'round... and that majorly shook my confidence, too. I hope I have an awesome tale of triumph like Heather's someday! :) And I don't think the image of the snow, the birth and the book is over the top... that's purely awesome.

Summer said...

Awesome. I have this book and I mean to read it. I'm glad that Heather got back to writing. I bet some of her would-be MFA classmates don't have a book published yet. I guess everything happens for a reason.

Thao said...

I really enjoyed the story. Seems like Heather went through a lot to get her book published. It's cool how she didn't give up when it things didn't go well for her ^^

Iryna said...

January 1st! What a perfect day for new beginnings . . . and a new year.

harmonybookreviews said...

I love these. Definitely inspiration for me.

robin_titan said...

sweet! I can't wait to read her book, I ordered it but it still hasn't arrived :(

Micol Ostow said...

Sigh...still love that story!
Funny thing about the MFA program--I didn't get in to the grown up program I applied to just out of college...If I had, who knows if I would have ended up writing YA?

READ HEATHER'S BOOK!

Melissa Walker said...

Ooh, fantastic story! NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.

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