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…


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!


Steve Brezenoff said...

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

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous said...

I love these. Definitely inspiration for me.

Unknown 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?


Melissa Walker said...

Ooh, fantastic story! NEED TO READ THIS BOOK.

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