It wasn’t long ago that I fledged my one and only beautiful child – off to college – out in the world. I anticipated becoming an empty-nester with trepidation approaching dread, but when it actually happened, I was surprised how much the joy and pride of seeing her flourish helped me get used to the quiet house.
Now, as I get ready to send a book out into the world I’m a little dazed that I’m feeling that same trepidation. It’s not the fear of “will it do well?” and “what are they going to say on Goodreads?” Those are the fears I expected. What is surprising is how it will feel for this manuscript not to be a manuscript. It was over a decade ago that this idea grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. Then it was a few chapters, then a rough first draft, then dozens more – a little less rough each one. Characters were added and subtracted, one character I actually had to kill off.
Over all that time it has been My Manuscript. A bulging folder transferred from old computer to new – passed around my critique group and to beta readers – hopefully sent after full requests from editors or agents. Always My Manuscript. But soon, very soon, it will be that no more. It is already more my fabulous editor’s manuscript than mine. Soon it will be an Advanced Reader Copy and then – gulp – a book-that-can-be-bought! It’s strange to admit that there’ll be a hole in my life where that manuscript has been. Yes – there are others coming up behind it, but this was my first to be rejected (many times) and my first sale – in short – my first to fledge out. I’m confident that, like my other empty nest experience, I’ll be proud watching this book fly on its own, but right this minute, indulge me in a moment of sweet nostalgia.
Darcey Rosenblatt’s debut novel will be published by Henry Holt/MacMillan in spring of 2017. Her story is historic fiction, telling the story of a 12-year old Iranian boy sent to fight in the Iran Iraq war in 1982. With her critique group she runs the Better Books Workshop – an annual small deep craft conference held in Northern California. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and perfect daughter, some fish, a cat and the best dog in the world. By day she is an environmental planner and when time permits she paints and costumes for a 5-8 year old theater. darcomatic on Instagram and darcey_r on twitter.