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Being A 'Real Writer'

So advance copies of Unspoken have been going out in the world and receiving blurbs. And here are a couple.

"Breath-taking, heart-breaking--a compulsive, rocketing read!"--Tamora Pierce.

Tamora Pierce. The lady who wrote the first fantasy I ever read (In the Hand of the Goddess), a tale of a girl passing as a boy so she can train as a knight, with duels and romance and magic cats. Ever after, I expected YA to be funny and feminist and full of adventures. I also expected more cross-dressing than I ended up getting, but Tamora Pierce meant I was onto Eowyn in the Lord of the Rings right off.

I was eight, I think? My mother bought it for me, thinking it was historical (eight year old Sarah was a big history buff and could not be parted from her favourite history book, The Homosexual Kings of England. Eight year old Sarah was a weirdo) and got bitterly reproached... until I actually read it. She also bought me my first LJ Smith book, and received the same treatment. My mama should be entitled to an I-told-you-so percentage of all my book sales.

My mama, to do her credit, did not say 'I told you so' when I launched a mission to get the first book, and all the other books. Which let me tell you in Ireland at the time was no small task. The day my mother came home with the full set of the Immortals series by Tamora Pierce, many years later, was a dazzling day for us both.

Tamora Pierce was one of those writers who changed the way I think, and one of those writers I read when I only had a very vague idea that people wrote books. I knew they did, I knew I wanted to, but books still seemed so much like magic, back then. A paper world, and the stages of creation unimaginable, and the creators faraway, wonderful and mystical. Real Authors! What would a Real Author even be like?

And there is more, folks.

"A darkly funny, deliciously thrilling Gothic. Unspoken kept me up late, turning the pages as fast as I could."--Kelley Armstrong.

I was, I think, eighteen or nineteen when I was early to go to the cinema with my friends, and I popped into the shop next door which had newspapers and sweets and a few popular books on the popular books rack (thrillers and Nicholas Sparks, mostly) to pass the time. I found Kelley Armstrong's Bitten there.

'Werewolves?' I thought to myself. 'No! They never have COOL books on the popular book rack!' I picked it up and flicked through it, and beheld Elena, the werewolf journalist.

... Readers, I was late to that movie. My friends bitterly reproached me, especially as they saw my book in its little paper bag and sussed out that I had been treacherously shopping.

They're authors who let me know there were books like this, and that they could be for everyone. And they're authors who--along with their books--seemed magical and faraway. And yet I wrote a book and they saw it, which is actually kind of scary to think about!

(Actually the fact that I have written books and anyone has seen them is a little scary to think about. Even though all my books are currently in a room with me right now, and I could pick them up and stroke them if I wanted. Or if stroking them is treating them as if they are beloved kitties and too weird, I could punch them.

... I am not going to punch my books.)

And they liked my book. Tamora Pierce liked my book.

I am still super nervous about Unspoken, and awaiting what you all, and hopefully other people who do not read my blog and currently have no idea who I am, think of it!

But oh my goodness this is wonderful. And makes me feel--not that I am a Real Author--but that Real Authors think that I am one? An okay one?

And that someone enormously regular, such as myself, the kid who didn't know about ordering books but just kind of doggedly hung around bookshops hoping for Tamora Pierce books to materialise, the teenager who ran into the movie late with a Kelley Armstrong book, can have moments of feeling almost Real-Authory?

It is a gorgeous and amazing thing. It seems like magic, the same way books still do.

Comments

( 49 comments — Leave a comment )
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rockinlibrarian
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC)
What a thrill! That sounds like an amazing feeling.
sarahtales
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:42 pm (UTC)
I did not want to get all 'dreams can come true/it can happen to yooou!' since you know, I do not know the dreams of those who read my blog and also, what a sap I am, but yes. ;)
thekams
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:44 pm (UTC)
That is so amazing! I devoured Tamora Pierce books when I was younger and still hoard my copies like a crazy person.
sarahtales
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
Agreed! I am thankful these days that I have a lovely nearby bookshop that imports Tamora Pierce's Beka Cooper series so I can have them day of. ;)
(Deleted comment)
autumnflame
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
What an awesome experience! So happy for you! :D Accept it, you're a Real Author now - they're blurbing your work as a peer, that's an incontrovertible sign!

Also, I totally feel you on Tamora Pierce. I definitely pin her (and maybe a few others, but I only specifically remember her) as the cause of my budding feminist streak during elementary school.

(I think the only similar thing I have is having Jim Butcher reply to a couple of my Tweets, and China Mieville remember me when I ran into him a second time at a convention. But to be fair, I was probably the only girl with a mohawk and a face-chain there. Still fun moments to remember!)

Edited at 2012-04-02 11:55 pm (UTC)
Foz Meadows
Apr. 2nd, 2012 11:57 pm (UTC)
*immediately adds The Homosexual Kings of England to Amazon wishlist, for Reasons*

Also, congratulations - can't wait to read the book!
rosaleeluann
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
...one of those writers I read when I only had a very vague idea that people wrote books. I knew they did, I knew I wanted to, but books still seemed so much like magic, back then. A paper world, and the stages of creation unimaginable, and the creators faraway, wonderful and mystical. Real Authors! What would a Real Author even be like?

I identify very much with this. I didn't realize that like actual REAL PEOPLE wrote books until I read School Story by Andrew Clemens. I think I was in seventh grade at the time. It was a huge lightbulb experience for me. "OH..... PEOPLE write BOOKS!"
nocoward_soul
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
I love that book.
kukla_tko42
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:40 am (UTC)
This post is lovely and is making me a little teary-eyed.

You nefarious book-smuggler, you. Reading when you ought to have been staring at a movie screen! The IDEA!

Do not punch your books. Your readers would never forgive you. You have my permission (as a single reader) to stroke them like kitties.
pengolodh_sc
Apr. 3rd, 2012 12:53 am (UTC)
On a tangent, I note that there are at least two books on homosexual kings of England - one titled "Homosexual Kings of England" (Alan Miller, 2003), and the other titled "The Homosexual Kings of England" (James Graham, 1968). Which one did you read?
sarahtales
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:12 am (UTC)
Graham. I was not eight in 2003. ;)
tsuvi
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:17 am (UTC)
Congratulations! Tamora Pierce is such an amazing author - what a compliment!
I'm very much looking forward to reading Unspoken :)
daystarsearcher
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:23 am (UTC)
Oh wow! I was hyperventilating just knowing that Tamora Pierce was going to be at a con I'm going to--I can't even imagine how awesome your life must be right now!
biancathecookie
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
Oh my god, I think I'd actually throw up or tear my hair out or something. Congratulations! I'm so excited to read it!
slytherincesss
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:36 am (UTC)
I will maintain to my dying day that Aragorn should have picked Eowyn. I'm completely disappointed in him!
alexandra_k17
Apr. 3rd, 2012 01:52 am (UTC)
YES. The fact that I reread the Alanna books obsessively as a teen explains SO MUCH about me, not the least my penchant for books with cross-dressing characters. Now that I work in a bookstore, I handsell them every chance I get, because what teenage girl doesn't need some strong character, female role models in her fiction?

Also, am looking so forward to Unspoken you have no idea.
sarahtales
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:13 am (UTC)
*beams at you for handselling Tamora Pierce and secondarily for looking forward*
dreamwaffles
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:28 am (UTC)
Tamora Pierce is entirely responsible for my lifelong obsession with fantasy! I picked up the first Alanna book when I was six. NEVER LOOKED BACK.

...also, don't hit your books. Hitting is mean! Stroke them gently. They should feel LOVED. (dropping them in the bath is also, uh, a sign of love.)
drummerwench
Apr. 3rd, 2012 02:46 am (UTC)
Oh, Congratulations! Go You!
Also, am so looking forward to both books!
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