Anyway. The art marked the end of a very long birthing process!
When I first wrote Time Runs Away With Her, I revised it a few times, submitted it, and got my first round of rejections. Cue writerly despair. Well-meaning friends told me first novels are usually things that live in drawers, but I couldn't bring myself to give up on my main character, Bean Donohue. I wrote my usual poems for a while. But then I took that early draft to Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island off Washington State, where I got to live an an adorable tiny house for a week and get notes from Karen Joy Fowler (who was wildy patient and gave me great advice). And so I left that writing retreat ON FIRE! Got stuck at my sister's place in Seattle during Hurricane Sandy and took the train home, banging on my laptop all the way. My sleeping room attendant kept bringing me little bottles of sparkling wine which I had not ordered. She was pretty fabulous. I used the wine as the carrot at the end of the stick to keep myself revising. I also fantasized about becoming an Amtrak sleeping car attendant.
Came home and collected a round of rejections and a couple of maybes that went to rejections.
Round Two. I worked with editor Ellen Roberts, who'd consulted on the old YA diary Go Ask Alice. Got more notes. Revised, rewrote, revised some more. More submissions, more rejections--wrote and published poems along the way, did radio shows along the way, took care of my mom, revised, took care of my family, lost my dad, sang in my husband's choir, rewrote...revised...rewrote...realized that my fellow poet and Facebook pal Christine Klocek-Lim also edited YA. Hmmmm.
Yikes. She wanted to read the book. Thanks, Christine, for taking that look.
Round one zillion: finally Time Runs Away got accepted at Evernight. Line revisions. Some good editorial suggestions. One last, not-too-heavy rewrite which I nonetheless worked REALLY hard on. And now...art.
Holy, holy cow. This thing is finally happening. And LOOK at that cover! It's just what I wanted. Really looks like 1970, the book's main setting. Bean would be delighted with the flowers Evernight illustrator Jay Aheer put in her hair. Too pretty! And the dress she's wearing looks an update of one she saw back in 1880 something. No spoilers here, though! You'll have to read the book.
Jay included a row of Hudson River Valley brick storefronts, which is perfect, also; I wrote the book thinking equally of Dobbs Ferry and Nyack--with a dash of Briarcliff Manor thrown in. Geographically, I see Stormkill, Bean's home town, as being up around Briarcliff somewhere. The big, castle-y looking building is The Deerwood Main. Its real-life model was Estherwood at Master's School in Dobbs.
My mom is 91, and she still lives in Dobbs Ferry in the house where I spent my high school years. Because I've spent so much time dwelling in a (very) fictionalized version of that setting lately, it's odd being in my home town. I feel a little like a time traveler myself. But having the art work helps with that. It reminds me that I've in fact conjured something which I hope will comfort all the Bean Donohues who read my book. I dedicated it to them, after all--just sent that in to Evernight Teen on Wednesday. Time Runs Away With Her is dedicated to everyone who babysat until she had enough money to buy a guitar, and then taught herself how to play it. And jeepers, what a pretty cover!
Now begins the work of Getting It Out There. Wish me luck!