My Happy Dance

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.

 cards boys   cards all 4

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.

selfie 4

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.

You can visit Elly on her websiteFacebook, and Twitter.



Filed under Dreams Come True, Happiness, Introduction, Writing

41 responses to “My Happy Dance

  1. Elly, This story makes me so happy. So glad all your guys were there when the yes came.

    I remember you and Penny and me standing around that last morning of the retreat in Montana and just admitting to each other that we wanted that first book so bad our teeth hurt. I’m so happy that first book will be FINDING PERFECT.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Elly Swartz

      Huge thanks, Mylisa. I remember our hike and our time with Penny, too. – all of us waiting and hopeful. Now we all get to do the happy dance 😉


  2. Dance on and on! Thanks so much for sharing your story!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. mariagianferrari

    Congrats, Elly! Finding Perfect sounds like my kind of book! And of course, I’d love to meet Lucy, and hope that she makes some appearances here on Emu’s Debuts too :)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elly Swartz

      Thanks so much, Maria. Means a lot. I am beyond excited to share my story with you and I have a hunch, Lucy will be making herself known on the blog!


  4. Congratulations! Awesome story. Can’t wait to read your book too! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a beautiful and special moment – I loved reading your story. Congratulations on the long over due recognition.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This actually made me tear up a little bit. And let me tell you, I could not be any happier for you! Huge, huge congratulations, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Even though I knew there was going to be a happy ending, my heart was in *my* throat just reading about your experience. :} Congratulations on your sale and success!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Finding Perfect finding the perfect home. Love your success story!!!! Can’t wait to buy your book! Xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Elly, a great story! Congratulations on your success! Sending you and your family very best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Janet Fox

    We’re so happy to have you here – and what a great story!!! Hugs – j

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Luke Reynolds

    Elly! This story put such a HUGE smile on my face–so excited to hear about your journey, and the lovely DANCING moment of the call!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Doing a happy dance with you…Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wonderful!! Thank you for that chapter in your story. May there be many more joyful, exciting chapters to come!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A huge congratulations to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What fun to read this!! Bonus that all your guys were there with you for the happy phone call. The waiting is the hardest part of publishing — you’ll be surprised at how fast the next year goes. Best wishes with revisions, marketing, and the next books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Elly Swartz

      Thanks, Ruth. It was a gift having my family with me. Felt like it was THE moment that this was supposed to happen. I was supposed to be with all my boys : ) I hope you are great. Miss ya.


  16. I loved reading this! It’s so much fun hearing about how “The Moment” arrived. Looking forward to reading FINDING PERFECT

    Liked by 1 person

  17. bridgethodder

    Wonderful story! And inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. kevanjatt

    So awesome, Elly!!! I am really looking forward to reading this! Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. darceyrosenblatt

    A great story from a great story teller. Looking forward to reading your debut, you Emu you!


  20. darceyrosenblatt

    This is a great story. I can totally relate as it took me about the same amount of time. So validating and great that all your boys were there with you! Can’t wait to read It!!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Joyous congratulations to you! Your book sounds very interesting.


  22. Happy dancing with you, Elly! So happy for you. Can’t wait for FINDING PERFECT 🙂


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