Swoon Author Sandy Hall: A Writer’s Life Can Change in a Moment
Here’s the thing about life – you never know when it’s going to change.
I was outside shoveling snow on the morning of February 3rd and I took this picture.
I remember thinking that it might be useful for the cover of the book I was working on, the one I would post to Swoon if I didn’t get the contract for A Little Something Different. I already knew that I wanted to post something else and to remain active in the community, so I had already started working on another novel.
I thought about how I would manipulate this image. I could crop it down and focus on the tree and the snow and the blank white sky. I would change the brightness and contrast and then thread the title through the branches in some fancy font.
But I never got around to finishing the book that would go along with that image because when I went inside everything changed.
There was an email in my inbox that said “Good News From Swoon Reads!” I wracked my brain for what it could be about, certain that I must have won a giveaway or something. There was no way I got the contract. How could I possibly be getting everything I wanted? That’s not how life works.
I crossed my fingers and I clicked on the message.
The rest, as they say, is history.
This entire experience hasn’t been anything that I could have imagined because it’s been a million times BETTER. It’s been full of surprises.
The biggest surprise came in how extraordinarily kind everyone at Swoon Reads is. I learned that pretty quickly. Four days after I got my email, I was on my way into the city to meet with Holly and discuss edits. I texted a picture to one of my friends, asking how my hair looked and she said, “Your hair’s fine, what’s wrong with your face?”
“Oh that?” I responded. “That’s just my EVERYTHING IS TERRIFYING face.”
But there was nothing to be worried about and definitely nothing worth being terrified of. Everyone at the Flatiron Building was, and is, so enthusiastic, excited, and welcoming. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t a crowd of people greeting me with balloons and Mardi Gras beads as I stepped off the elevator.
Almost exactly sixth months to the day after my first meeting with Holly I came home from work to find a large box on the porch addressed to me. Inside were these beauties.
Suffice to say that if it were possible for me to dive into that box and swim around Scrooge McDuck style, I totally would have. Sadly, I am not a cartoon duck, so that didn’t work out for me.
But this leads me to the other thing that surprises me: I never get tired of seeing the book out in the wild. I seek it out. I like to check on it. Is it in this random Target? Or what about that Barnes and Noble? How about the small-ish Books-a-Million in my local mall? (Yes, yes, and yes.) I also love checking the holds list in the library catalog and thrill to see it getting longer and longer.
I have friends and relatives texting me or tagging me in pictures from all over the world when they see the book. Every single time I get excited all over again.
It never ends.
I don’t think it ever will. At least I hope not.
I guess my point is, in a very roundabout and tangential way, is that you never know when it’s going to be you. You never know when you’ll go from shoveling snow and complaining to a neighbor that you can’t feel your feet to five minutes later learning that you have a publishing deal.
So, writers keep writing and posting, and readers keep commenting and rating. Your voices really are being heard and people are paying attention. I am living proof.
And I know I can speak for my fellow Swoon authors when I say that we can’t wait to welcome more of you guys into the fold. You can join us for one of our super-secret, Swoon author regatta galas.
I probably shouldn’t have mentioned that.
Here, enjoy this picture of a squirrel from the cover of Ranger Rick, Jr. and forget I revealed any secrets.
(Is it working? Have I hypnotized you with his cuteness?)