It’s been a week and a day since I got the news that Spitfire, my first middle grades novel, is going to be published by North Country Books. Spitfire is a historical novel set on Lake Champlain during the Battle of Valcour Island in the American Revolution. It’s told in alternating chapters through the voices of 12-year-old boy whose stepfather brought him along to fight and a fictional young girl who disguises herself as a boy to join the fleet on the eve of the battle. This battle on Lake Champlain is an incredible story, and I can’t get past the feeling of being overwhelmed that I’m the writer who will be sharing that story with kids.
This is the painting that my amazingly talented artist/mom did for a possible cover illustration.
It’s funny — I’ve heard published authors say countless times that being published for the first time is just surreal, and now I understand what they meant. I keep waiting for someone to show up and tell me it was all a misunderstanding, or a joke, or maybe one of those reality tv shows. Even as I sat in my lawyer’s office today going over the contract, I kept waiting for the guy with the camera to appear from behind a piece of furniture and announce the hoax (CJ was probably wondering why I kept glancing under the table while he was going through all those clauses).
I have hamster brain now. Hamsters on one of those noisy exercise wheels. When I was eight years old, I had a gerbil that lived in a cage in my room (until my brother pulled its tail off, but that’s another story), and every night after I went to sleep, it would hop onto its little yellow plastic exercise wheel and start the thing spinning and clickety-whirring for half the night. I swear the tailless gerbil is back to haunt me now because every morning at about three, that wheel in my head starts spinning and I’m up for the night. At least I’ve discovered the pleasures of writing in a quiet house at 3am.