Of Cracked Ribs and Dreams Come True

It was a Saturday in July when I got “the call”.

Actually, missed “the call”.

Actually…*coughs* ignored “the call”.

I was recovering from pneumonia (brought on by severely overworking myself at my day job) and at my biweekly kidlit critique group meeting. One of my crit partners had driven me, because I was in no shape to drive myself. I faded in and oheyarnoldsickut over the three hour meeting, clutching my pirate pillow that I was using to brace my ribs. I’d coughed so hard over the two weeks prior that I’d fractured them. At one point, my phone buzzed and I saw a call from a number I didn’t recognize. I ignored it.

See, I’d been on sub for a while with the manuscript that got me my wonderful agent, Ammi-Joan Paquette. She’d mentioned that someone was expressing interest and might take it to an acquisitions meeting that week, but my head was too full of fog to ever think that this could mean I’d get an offer. We’d been close before. We’d been on sub for what felt like forever. I had a new manuscript turned in that we were prepping to take out next, with the unspoken understanding that it meant shelving the old one for the time being. And there was the whole…103 degree fever for a week straight thing. The ol’ synapses were not exactly firing properly.

I fell asleep for a good chunk of my critique group meeting. I was in a haze as I was driven back to my apartment. So when I looked at my email, squashed in the front seat with my pillow wrapped securely around me, at first I couldn’t understand what I was seeing.

It was an email from Joan. Asking if I was around to talk. She said she’d tried to get in touch with me, but was overseas and using a number I wouldn’t recognize.

My friend Tara was driving, with my other friend Annie in the backseat. Both published authors themselves, I immediately asked them what they thought of the cryptic message. I don’t think either of them thought it was cryptic–neither would come out and say that it probably meant I had an offer, but the implication was there.

…That’s when it hit me. The reality of what might be happening.

bugsbunnycrazyIt was the oddest sensation. I had zero energy, but I still flooded head to toe with adrenaline. Imagine being buried in sand with a caffeine IV drip buried next to you, pouring into your veins.

I wrote Joan back and told her (probably fairly incoherently, given my mental state) that she could call at anytime. Seriously. Any. Time. However, she’d made it clear in her first email that she was likely going to be busy the rest of the day. I was shaking, and not from a fever anymore.

My friends dropped me off, and I had no idea what to do with myself. I was too sick to go out and distract myself with anything, so I put in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and watched that.

Until my phone rang at 5pm.

I. Had. An. Offer! It was official! Joan (seriously, bless her) called me from Europe to tell me I had a two book offer from HarperCollins Children’s. Erica Sussman wanted to be my editor.

All I could say was, “Ohrdomigosh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh!”–followed by intense periods of ugly coughing/hacking. I wanted to run. Jump. Scream. Dance. But all my body could manage was this odd sort of speed-shuffle around my apartment with my pirate pillow in tow. Both my cats flew around like maniacs, clearly knowing something was up. I called my parents. I cried.

A book deal! My lifelong dream come true, with cracked ribs.

Joan and I got back in touch when she returned to the States that following week, and we formally accepted. It’s been a whirlwind ever since.

I’ve recovered from the pneumonia and the fractures, thankfully.

…Still working on recovering from the shock.


Katie Slkatiemarsivensky’s debut Middle Grade novel (title TBD) tells the story of a 13 year-old robotics whiz who is thrilled to be chosen to train for an international mission to Mars, but soon finds herself and her fellow cadets in a situation far more dire and deadly than any of them could have imagined. Publication is set for Summer 2017 with HarperCollins Children’s.

Katie is a science educator at the Museum of Science in Boston, where she coordinates school visits, does live presentations, and runs the rooftop observatory program. With an academic background in paleontology and zoology, she only began dabbling in astronomy when she joined the Museum in 2009. It soon became a major passion, and spilled straight over into her writing life.

Katie lives in a suburb of Boston with her two completely absurd cats, Galileo and Darwin. She is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette.

Visit Katie on Twitter (@paleopaws) or on her personal blog, Discoverific.




Filed under Dreams Come True, Happiness, Introduction, Thankfulness, The Call, Uncategorized

25 responses to “Of Cracked Ribs and Dreams Come True

  1. Even when it’s not exactly how you pictured it happening, you have to love those dream come true moments. Congratulations, Katie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your writing talent is clearly evident in your first post – funny and touching! Congratulations, Katie, and welcome to EMUs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Janet Fox

    What a story!! And your premise – I can’t wait to read!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations, Katie! I can’t wait to read your book. And I’m dying to know what this pirate pillow looks like! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • katieslivensky

      Thanks, Andrea! The pirate pillow is just a pillowcase my friend made for me in college. It’s red and covered in cutlasses and pirate heads and I enjoy its existence in my life. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carleen M. Tjader

    Your story of getting the call could be a story in itself!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love reading funny success stories! Congratulations on the sale and wishing you much success (and no more bouts of pneumonia)!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. kathyduval

    Your story is so much fun to read! Looking forward to your book.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What an awesome story! Painful, too! 😉 Congratulations on a fabulous deal! Your book sounds fantastic and I look forward to reading it! YAY YOU!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. mariagianferrari

    Congrats & welcome to the Emus, Katie! You’re going to love it here :). I can’t wait to read your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is one of the best call stories I’ve heard! Picturing you doing the speed shuffle around your apartment with the pirate pillow in tow cracked me up. Congratulations and welcome to Emus!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a great “The Call” story! I felt sorry for you and happy for you at the same time!! Congrats, Katie.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: Work/Work/Life Balance | EMU's Debuts

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