I blink rapidly, tears beginning to fill my eyes.
“Oh, no you don’t,” Sara says. “Do not cry.” She waves her hands in front of my eyes. “I practiced those eyes on myself for over two hours, trying to perfect the look. I saw it in Seventeen. It’s absolutely flawless right now and I don’t want to chance having to start over.”
I take several deep breaths. “Okay, okay. I won’t cry. It’s just; I’ve wanted this for so long. I can’t believe it’s really here. It’s like a dream.”
Sara wraps a hand around my shoulder and squeezes. “I know you have. And you’ll do it today and you’ll win. And then you’ll dream a new dream for yourself and go after that. It’s not like anything is really ending today.”
I nod, even though I can’t help feeling sentimental thinking about all those days I wandered the pumpkin patch as a kid, broken pumpkin stem tied on my head, pretending to be the Pumpkin Princess.
---excerpt from PUMPKIN PRINCESS, forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
When I was about to graduate from college I made a list of all the things I wanted to be when “I grew up”. I never could just choose one. On this list I put that I wanted to:
-teach high school
-be a technical writer
-write for magazines
-be a wife and mom
-publish a book
It seemed like a lot of stuff and that it would take me a long, long time to cross each item off the list. But I’m a multi-tasker and soon I found that I was doing all of these things. Almost at once too. Except for the last one. Publishing a book seemed like the type of thing that never really actually happens. You just wish for it.
And when I sold my first book at 31 and found that I completed my “life list” already I was a little panicked. Uh oh, what now? I remember talking to one of my college students after class that week I sold the book. I told him how I just finished my list and how it freaked me out. He said what was probably obvious but hadn’t occurred to me. Make a new list! Of course! Genius!
I was thinking about this conversation when I wrote this scene in Pumpkin Princess. Just because my main character, Jamie, is finally at this point of almost getting this thing she’s wanted her whole life it doesn’t mean anything is really ending. She’ll just have to dream the next dream and go after it.
Kristina Springer's first young adult novel, THE ESPRESSOLOGIST, was published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux in the fall of 2009. Her second novel, MY FAKE BOYFRIEND IS BETTER THAN YOURS, will be published 9/1/10 and a third novel, PUMPKIN PRINCESS will be published in the fall of 2011. She lives in a suburb of Chicago, IL, with her husband Athens and their four small children. Her website is www.kristinaspringer.com.