I love it when great things happen to such deserving people, and for the last week I’ve been basking in the glow of two of my favorite writers’ hard-earned successes.
We’re just weeks away from the one year anniversary of the day we met. I had the opportunity to get to know many amazing writers last year at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency’s annual Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop, and I’ve stayed in close touch with a lot of them, but these two came to hold a special place in my heart. It seems fitting to me that so much goodness happened to them in the same week.
I met Tessa Elwood as part of a critique group led by the amazing and inspirational, Sara Zarr. I was so impressed with everyone’s writing, including Tessa’s, and as the two of us walked away from our session I had the chance to get to know her better. She not only wrote, she designed websites, and I asked to see some of her work. When I got home, I checked out her site and I was so blown away, I immediately asked her if she would design mine (isn’t it gorgeous?). She shared the rest of her manuscript with me and I might have been even more impressed with her writing, if that was possible.
When we roomed together at the SCBWI conference last summer, she told me she was preparing to query agents with her newest manuscript, TETHERED. Like everyone who goes through this, she was nervous and excited and hopeful and terrified. She started querying in late September and then she waited. And waited. And waited. And all of a sudden, in early November, she received five offers. Last week, she announced that she’ll be working with Ginger Clark of Curtis, Brown! I can’t say enough wonderful things Tessa and her imaginative stories. Her writing is clean and beautiful, her sci-fi tale absolutely captivating, and her heroine simply kick-ass. I can’t wait for the world to meet her!
Then there’s Elle Cosimano, my roommate in Big Sur. Elle and I met in front of a fire she built and I don’t think we ever shook hands, we just went straight to hugging. She’d written a complete novel and was working on her second, and had never shown her work to anyone but her mom. By the end of the weekend, she left on a cloud, buoyed by praise from agents, authors and editors alike.
She went home to revise and earlier this year and had fantastic success with her agent search. She ultimately selected Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary, and the two of them have been working in lock-step to perfect her manuscript ever since. I’m on the edge of my seat, and can’t wait to see what happens. I’ve read this story twice now and it just keeps getting better and better, because Elle’s just incredible. Her words are beautiful and her people are so real and she’s upped the tension and the romance and oh… man, you’re going to love her. Have I mentioned the romance? Hot. Read near a fan.
Want to meet your very own Elle and Tessa? The Big Sur Children’s Writing Workshop is coming up, December 2-4, and there is still room. This is an incredible place to write, find inspiration, and get solid feedback from a supportive and honest faculty of authors, editors and agents. So many success stories come out of the Big Sur event, and I’m so thrilled that Elle and Tessa are the next two.
As we enter this week of thankfulness, I’m so grateful for all the writers I’ve met in the last year. I used to think that writing was a lonely endeavor, but I’ve discovered that if you want it to be, it’s exactly the opposite. Elle once thanked me for holding her hand on this crazy, scary roller-coaster we decided to get on, but I know the truth: she held mine. And that’s the whole point.
I’m so sad to learn about the flash floods and mudslides last week that destroyed one of my favorite towns in the world: Vernazza, Italy. Anyone who knows me has heard me go on and on (and on) about my love for this quaint, perfect, beautiful town. When my book comes out next year, it will be clear to anyone who reads it that this place holds a special place in my heart.
This video starts slowly, but within thirty seconds you can see what happened to the main street of town, as mud from the hillside above destroyed craft stores, Internet cafes, bars, restaurants, art galleries, wine shops, bakeries and homes. I’m heartbroken. If I could get on a plane right now and go help them dig out, I would. My donation will be insufficient.
According to a lot of the coverage, the locals are most worried about the impact on tourism, but I hope people keep this destination high on their wish lists. As for me, I’ve been dreaming of writing in Vernazza’s piazza again someday, and mark my words, I will. Even if it looks like this:
When it should look like this: