With just a few weeks to go until my house is wonderfully overflowing with family, the smell of turkey cooking, and the sweet scent of strawberry-banana-cream pie, I’ve been thinking much about all I am grateful for. I think about Molly, the main character from FINDING PERFECT, and how grateful I am that she stuck in my head long enough that I couldn’t NOT write about her. I think about Olive, the mc from my work-in-progress and how lucky I am that she, too, has proven to be stubborn and persistent. That’s what writing is really about, right? The character, the story nugget, the crystal of a place or idea that feels so real that it just can’t be ignored. I am grateful for those moments that find their way into my brain just long enough to take hold.
But, the list of things I am grateful for happily doesn’t stop with the characters and the stories that I get to bring to life.
I am grateful for my amazing husband of 25 years, and my 2 incredible sons. Grateful for family on both coasts. To me, family is truly what it’s all about!
I am grateful for the people in my life who taught me to never stop dreaming, to never give up, to never stop asking, Why not me?
I am grateful for my girlfriends who are like the sisters I never had.
I am grateful for my EMLA family. Who knew signing with my amazing agent Trish was a package deal complete with the Erin Murphy’s Dogs and an entire writing community of talented, supportive and all-around awesome people?
I am grateful for the gifts of those no longer with me. My mom who taught me how to love unconditionally and color outside the lines. My father in law who taught me to be fearless. My Gram, who taught me strength comes at any height (she was 4”10 at her tallest) and any age (she died a month ago, just shy of 102).
I am grateful for Angie Chen, my awesome editor, and all the talented people at FSG who are making FINDING PERFECT come to life.
I am grateful for Twizzlers, my happy dance, my little Lu, and being able to write every day.
So, as I sit with those I love watching football on Thanksgiving, I will be filled with more than just pie and turkey. I will be filled with so much gratitude.
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.