I used to think that launching a book was a little like giving birth. My memories of my first novel, Rush Home Road, are enmeshed with the births of my children. I was pregnant with my first child when I wrote the book. My husband read it in the days before I gave birth and we discussed the fine points while I was in labor. Nearly a year later, I nursed my feverish son in front of a dozen people in the boardroom at a major New York publisher. I was pregnant again, with my daughter, by the time of the book’s debut, and gave birth while I was still doing events.
My kids are in middle school now. I’ve reflected on those insane early days with the babies and the books. I remember racing back to a hotel room to nurse my two-month-old daughter, leaving her and my toddler son with the grandparents again as I hurried off to another interview. I felt blessed to have children and lucky to have interviews. Launching a book has its own labor pains and general anxiety but now that my kids are only a few years from leaving home I think that’s where the comparison ends. Releasing a book to the public is really more like sending a kid off to college. You’ve done what you’ve done – the rest is up to them.
Joining social media? Now that’s like giving birth. I’ve just joined and feel like a newborn. I once laughed very heartily at an older family member who, when told I’d “googled Uncle John”, asked, “Did he google you back?” I feel hot shame for laughing because I’m the innocent now, toddling around in this large cyber playground. Even so – and I thought I’d hate it – I’ve already enjoyed connecting with other writers and readers.
The Mountain Story, about four people lost in the mountain wilderness, launches this spring. I will be leaving my middle school children to do events. They’ll hate that. My book? I’m sending The Mountain Story to college, but this time I’m coming along for the ride – at least on the internet.