Once upon a long time ago, on March 5th, I boarded an Air India flight from London Heathrow to JFK, New York. And so began my new life in America. I mentioned the anniversary to my husband last night and he said “We’ve never celebrated that!”
Nor we have. So…today’s a day to celebrate. But what to celebrate? That new life turned out to be quite different to what I’d imagined. For a start, said hubby wasn’t on the cards. Or rather, he was, but I didn’t know it then. Thanks to him, and a host of other changes, what started as “just a year” in America rooted me far more firmly on U.S. soil.
Back then, songs and songwriting were my life. I had big dreams with hair to match (yes, it was as scary as I looked, as you can see), and along with my music, planned to conquer America. I had the echoes of an old hit in my head: Tears for Fears’s In A Big Country.
“And in a big country, dreams stay with you,
Like a lover's voice, fires the mountainside..
Like a lover's voice, fires the mountainside..
(Adamson, William S/Brzezicki, Mark. Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing)
The dreams I brought with me were old ones in new bottles: Brit ex-pop star me, repackaged as U.S. pop megastar. Those dreams, however, didn’t last long—but my stay in the U.S. did. So when I woke this morning I thought of writing about the chops and changes that have happened since then, the morphing from once-upon-a-time pop artist to still-songwriter to now-author. But when I looked out on this brilliantly clear, very un-English March day, I really didn’t feel like a trip down memory lane. Not today. Sunlight is fixing me in the spot, in the now. And now, with just weeks before a significant leap in a new direction, feels like the place to be.
That leap being the release of my first book. It’s just 5 weeks away today. 35 days! I’ll be an Official Author. With a book Out There. That’s causing greater nervous tremors and pulse-racing excitement than ever a song did.
But what’s made that leap so much easier, and so much more fun, is a group of fellow 2013-debut middle grade and young adult authors, TheLucky 13s. If I imagine navigating the waters up to book release without them, I reckon I’d be clinging to a scrap of soggy driftwood heaving for breath by now.
The Lucky 13s isn’t just a terrific support group who provide friendship and invaluable information, though. They also write fabulous BOOKS! And today, four of them have their debut releases. So what better than to share my celebration by celebrating them as well.
First is TameraWill Wissinger, and Gone Fishing. It’s written in rhyme, which appeals hugely to the songwriter part of me—a rhyme-lover ever since I was knee-high to Pooh Bear, and reading A. A. Milne’s Now We Are Six. I love Tamera’s cover, with its shambolic, happy-looking characters. The book sounds delightful:
"A playful verse narrative of the joys and perils of a family fishing trip. . . . This tender, well-crafted sibling story should hook many readers."
Next, let’s hear it for the boy (sorry, songs die hard). That is, Evan Roskos, and his Dr.Birds Advice for Sad Poets. Reading the synopsis, I have a feeling I’m going to love the book as much as I love that title. Here’s what Kirkus, who gave it a coveted starred review, said:
"Self-deprecating humor abounds in this debut novel that pulls no punches about the experience of depression and anxiety for its teen protagonist . . . Captivating introspection from a winning character."
Then there’s MindeeArnett, and her intriguing-sounding young adult paranormal, TheNightmare Affair. Another title I love! (And of course, paranormal is more than okay in my book.)
Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of Cinder, gave Mindee a great blurb:
“…brimming with wit and charm, along with plenty of mysteries that kept me guessing to the very end…a brand new school of magic to delight and enthrall us….”
Last but not least in the Lucky line-up, there’s Sarah Skilton and her contemporary young adult book, Bruised, which had a starred review from Publishers Weekly:
"Offering psychological drama and an introduction to martial-arts code of behavior, the book has a meaningful message about power, control, and the internal bruises carried by victims."
How different could 4 titles be - and all with blurbs and reviews which pull me into their pages. I’m looking forward to reading them all, and honored to be part of such a great bunch.
Quite an anniversary cake. But there’s icing. During my early morning social media check-in, my Twitter feed revealed that TheFlame in the Mist and I are featured today on 2 different sites. Over to Kate Ormand’s blog for a “sneak peak” interview with yours truly, and to Michael G-G’s Project Middle Grade Mayhem blog, where Flame is one of 3 upcoming releases this blogmeister is itching for. Thank you so much, Kate and Michael, for making my day even better. I always did love icing!
And miraculously, the sun is still shining, so it's time take a stroll over a field or two of U.S. soil to work off that delicious cake, and tonight's bubbly.
The big hair, though, is thankfully long gone.
P.S. Another thing to celebrate will be actually posting this. The internet is not obliging...