Hugs. Champagne. Tears. Happy Dance.
Maybe not in that order, but all those things happened on December 17, 2014. After thirteen years of nothing/nada/nope/not yet, that was the day I got my yes. I had replayed that moment a hundred times in my head. Every time I finished a draft, hit send and waited, my mind filled with images of my yes moment. Fireworks? Dance music? Singing? Nope, not singing – my voice is way more dead frog than canary.
But let’s be honest, after thirteen years of writing, revising, tossing, writing, revising, shelving, deep down I knew the path to yes was not going to be direct. While I had a great conversation with the amazing Angie Chen of FSG, there were so many more people who had to fall in love with Molly and FINDING PERFECT for yes to happen. And that meant more waiting and Twizzlers and finger-crossing and not sleeping.
Finally, THE meeting was to happen the week before the holidays. I was on vacation with my boys and husband. That day, I made sure my phone was charged and dragged it with me to the gym at 7am (as if I was ever getting a call at 7am which actually was 4am for Trish, my agent), dragged it with me to breakfast, the pool, while attempting to read, lunch, and then finally to cards with my family.
We were playing Continental and I was losing, perhaps not as badly as my husband, but it was close. It was 3 and to say I was distracted would be a horrible understatement. By 4 I was certain it was a no and Trish just didn’t know how to tell me.
Then at 4:30 my phone rang. My boys and husband looked up at me and my heart dropped to the floor. This was it. THE moment. The one I had been imagining all those years.
What would it actually sound like?
“We’ve got a deal. They love FINDING PERFECT.” That was Trish’s wonderfully joyous voice telling me what I longed to hear for thirteen years. Angie and FSG loved my book and wanted to buy it.
Finally, I knew what YES sounded like.
So what did I do?
I cried. A lot. Happy wonderful tears. (My husband later shared how different his business calls are from mine – he’s a lawyer).
Hugged my boys and my husband, beyond grateful they were with me to share this moment. Popped champagne and toasted to dreams coming true.
Took a selfie to memorialize the moment.
And did the happy dance. This dance is still in full swing.
Elly Swartz loves writing for children, and not long after she began writing, she got a sign that, indeed, this was the right path for her. She opened a piece of Bazooka Joe gum and wrapped around the sugary, pink delight was a fortune that read, “You have the ability to become outstanding in literature.” She keeps her fortune tacked next to her desk in her office.
Elly’s debut middle grade novel, FINDING PERFECT, is coming out from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, on October 18, 2016. FINDING PERFECT is a middle grade story about a twelve-year-old girl named Molly, friendship, family, betrayal, OCD, and a slam poetry competition that will determine everything. She happily lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with her husband, two tall and loving, twenty-something sons and one-year-old beagle named Lucy.