There is a book I haven't talked about much. A fantasy middle grade novel. It sold back in 2011. I remember the day very clearly, because just a couple of hours before getting the call from my agent, I had gotten a call from Neil, the husband of my dear friend, Lisa. He had called to let me know she had passed away peacefully that morning, at the hospice center where she'd been for a couple of weeks. Lisa had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December.
So when the call came letting me know the book had officially sold, that the deal was finalized, I apologized to my agent for not being more excited. Of course she understood. It was a sad day, to say the least. Prior to December, I would have shared the good news with Lisa. She would have cheered. She would have wanted to celebrate. She loved good news, especially that of the bookish sort. But my friend was gone, and I was devastated.
Fast forward a few months, to late June, when I traveled to New York City because my YA novel CHASING BROOKLYN was a RITA Award finalist. While there, I made time to meet with the editor who had bought the MG fantasy for breakfast in Grand Central Station. We chatted about life and books and she told me some of the changes she wanted me to make to the manuscript. When I got home, I went to work, and had the first round of revisions done in a couple of months.
Her schedule was busy and it took a while, but eventually I got an official editorial letter along with the manuscript, and another big round of revisions was necessary. Sometimes this is how it goes. Some books need more work than others.
When I wrote the book back in 2010, the idea came about from a page in my idea journal.
Some things stayed, some things didn't, but it all began because of that page. I feel like my editor helped shape the novel into something pretty magical. I am so happy with how it turned out. I am proud of this book in a big way. It took years and a lot of hard work to get it right. But I think we did get it right, and that is such an amazing feeling.
In a few weeks, I get to share the cover of this book, titled THE GIRL IN THE TOWER, coming March 29, 2016.
Today, I want to tell you who has designed the cover, as well as the black and white illustrations that will appear throughout the entire novel. The illustrations are stunning, and I cannot wait to see the final book!
Her name is Nicoletta Ceccoli. Her web site seems to be down at the moment, but take a look at one of her prints that is available for purchase. I absolutely LOVE it. All of her work is just so amazing. If you want to see more, just google her name, and you'll see lots of beautiful images.
While the book may have had a bit of a sad beginning, it will have a happy ending. It will be out next year and I'm over-the-moon excited about it. I hope you are too!