When I got the call, I sent it to voicemail.
This is not because I am made of stone. It’s because I was in the middle of teaching. I had left my phone on – which I almost never do, but that day I made an exception – so I heard the call. I knew what it was. The first book in my series had gone to acquisitions that morning. The answer was imminent.
I had been working on the series for a few months shy of a decade.
I went to my phone, saw my agent’s name glowing there, and made what was possibly the most difficult finger-swipe motion of my life. I put my phone away and turned back to my class.
“Ms. Morrison, are you okay?” asked one of my 7th graders. “You’re all white. Are you sick?”
Later, once the deal was public, I would tell my students what the call had been, and what it had meant. At that moment, however, I had no idea whether my agent was calling to tell me “Sorry, let’s try again with someone else,” or…
Or something I couldn’t even let myself fully articulate yet.
I was FREAKING OUT.
I finished teaching the class. How, I don’t know. I have no memory of it. Kids might have been swordfighting; I can’t be clear on that.
When class ended, my half-hour lunch period started. I picked up my phone. I swallowed. I called my agent, Joan. She answered. There were some words – hello, morning, acquisitions, more information later, but –
“Scholastic is making an offer,” Joan said.
I haven’t written about this moment before. I couldn’t post about it on my blog or share the news anywhere else at the time, because the deal wasn’t official yet. Now, with several months’ distance, I realize that I barely remember any details. It was system overload.
I choked. I seized sort of weirdly; I bent over like someone had jumped on my back. I said, “Really?” in a very weird, high pitched voice.
Then I mostly remember crying, and laughing, and saying to Joan “This must be the best part of your job, breaking this kind of news.” And then the bell rang, and I went back to teaching as though nothing had changed, though everything had changed. My book series was no longer maybe, one day, I hope. It was real. Cheryl Klein, my editor at Scholastic, really wanted it, and it really made it all the way through acquisitions. A two-book deal. A summer 2015 publication date. Honestly, I still don’t believe it.
So that’s how it was when I got the call. If there’s a lesson in this story, I guess it’s for my students. Any phone call can wait half an hour, you guys. Trust me.
Megan Morrison is the author of GROUNDED: A TALE OF RAPUNZEL, due out summer 2015 from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic. GROUNDED is the first book in the Tyme series, co-created with Ruth Virkus. You can follow Megan on her blog at makingtyme.blogspot.com or on Twitter at @megtyme. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.