I left early Wednesday morning with a grin that refused to leave my face because the first person I was going to see was my incredible agent, Jenny Bent. I hope everyone has the chance to experience the joy and excitement I did when an eleven-year-long dream actually happened. Yes, I've wanted to work with Jenny for eleven years. Every query I wrote was sent to her first, and the authors she's represented over a career spanning more than twenty years are writers I admire and respect. So, when I got The Call from Jenny and she told me what she thought my next novel could become, I knew that my gut instinct was spot-on. Jenny has been by my side through major revisions and she has helped me, from conception to getting-close-to-completion, write the book I have always been compelled to write. She has supported me in every way to create the best book I can, and I will forever feel tremendously lucky to find someone who just seemed to know what I truly wanted to do.
I sat in a very cool bar waiting for Jenny, giddy and a little nervous. But the moment I met her, my nerves melted, and over champagne (thanks, Jenny!), I teared up a few times because how often do we get what we so want? Jenny is as warm, funny, kind, and smart as she appears online, and I floated out of the bar as though helium had been in my glass. She also taught me how to tweet a picture, which was very appreciated. Here's my ear-to-ear grin while with Jenny:
After meeting Jenny, I booted over to my hotel to see Meredith Schorr. Meredith is like a sister to me, and when I'm in NYC, she always tries to make sure I don't walk in the wrong direction (happens anyway no matter what she tells me), gets me safely back to my hotel, and I love hanging out on my bed in my room with her chatting for hours. We didn't stay long because we had to meet Melissa Amster, founder of Chick Lit Central, and Kaley Stewart, founder of Books Etc. and my Toronto gal, at Jennifer Weiner's "Ladies First" event, which we knew about thanks to the lovely Brenda Janowitz. Being at a party with Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster, and Brenda, and meeting Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke (whose novel, The Status of All Things, is out today!) and Kristy Woodson Harvey was another amazing moment in a magical day. The cookie I'm holding has a photo of Brenda's novel, The Lonely Hearts Club, and I'm sure the book is as good as the cookie.
The fun wasn't over yet! Kaley and I had our birthdays days apart, and holding umbrellas over each other's heads to protect the hair we'd painstakingly styled, Meredith, Melissa, Kaley, and I headed over to a celebratory dinner with Francine LaSala, Amy Bromberg, Julie Valerie, and Lynn Marie Hulsman. I'm still stunned at the beautiful connections I've made with people over the last few years, and I treasure my friendships with the authors, readers, and bloggers I've been fortunate enough to meet. Amy is a sweetheart, and we share not only a love of books but our tiny stature, and Lynn Marie and I can talk for hours about writing. Julie and Francine (who's also my business partner on many editing projects, cooks for me, and lets me crash at her house on my last night in NYC) are part of my Beach Babes crew, who I spend five days with every January at a house in California with Eileen Goudge, Jen Tucker, Josie Brown, and Meredith. They are my family.
And Melissa has been one of my biggest cheerleaders and dear friends ever since I asked her for a review from Chick Lit Central. She even got me a birthday present!
It had been a long, memorable, unbelievable day, and I hadn't gotten to BEA yet! So, check back if you'd like to hear what happened on day two and three and how I got stuck in NYC and couldn't get home.