The Call

TheCallSmall

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.

HiRes_Morrison_6861_cropMegan 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.

 

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20 Comments

Filed under Introduction, The Call, Writing and Life

20 responses to “The Call

  1. Megan, what an awesome story!!! I would’ve told the kids I suddenly felt sick – not lying – and fled to the bathroom with my phone. What self control you had! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I bet the kids were super excited when you finally told them! Congratulations to you, Joan, and Cheryl Klein. Can’t wait for GROUNDED!

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    • They were so excited, Adi! One of the most purely fun parts of this journey has been integrating this experience into my classroom. The kids love it. Their top questions: 1) How much money did you get? 2) What’s the title? 3) Will you dedicate it to me? and 4) (my favorite) Can I read it?

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  3. Yeah! Congratulations! This was such fun to read–so happy for you. Congrat’s to Joan and Cheryl Klein also. 🙂 Looking forward to reading GROUNDED!

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  4. Great “call” story! Everything does change after that call, or it seems to. And Cheryl Klein! Lucky you!

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  5. I hope I never get so old or tired or jaded that these stories stop bringing tears to my eyes…Congratulations, Megan. SniffSniff…

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  6. Thanks for sharing your story, Megan! And I totally get your response of putting it off for a half-hour until you were alone.

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  7. Wow! Great patience! It would’ve been so hard to let that call go to voicemail. It’s such a happy call! Loved hearing about it, Megan.

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  8. Great story! I was also teaching when I got “the call” and had to drive all the way home to check the message in my voicemail. I’m actually kind of glad now, because I have that voicemail saved and I can play it back any time I need a boost. Thank you for sharing your story, and can’t wait for 2015—your book and mine! Hugs and joy to you!

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  9. What a wonderful telling of THE CALL. So inspiring. Congratulations!

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