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The Call

I’ve imagined a lot of scenarios about becoming a published author, but never one about getting the actual “call”.  So needless to say, when the call came last week, I was pretty blown away.

The day started out as a typical summer morning in my house.  I drove my daughter to the barn for her job as a camp counselor.  It was pretty early for a teenager to be up and out of bed, but I was thankful the early hour would allow me to get a workout in before I got down to a few hours of writing. That afternoon, I returned to the barn to drag my daughter to her weekly bassoon lesson.  While on the road, my iPhone beeped with a missed call, which was kind of funny since it was sitting on the console and neither of us heard it ring.

My daughter glanced at the screen. “It’s Melissa, Juh….I can’t pronounce it, Mom,” she said.

Huh?  The only Melissa with a tricky-to-pronounce last name I know is my agent, Melissa Jeglinski, of The Knight Agency.  Why would she be calling me?  This is when my heart starts racing and my brain starts to ricochet with all sorts of possibilities.   My knuckles are white on the steering wheel as she puts the phone on speaker and we listen to the message.  I’m now shaking, so I don’t really hear what the message is.

“She wants you to call her back,” my daughter says.

I make her play it again.  And again.  Still nothing registers in my whirling mind as I concentrate on not driving into the woods.

“What could she want?”  I’m practically wailing now.  My daughter looks at me like I’m a lunatic—an expression I see all too often on her face.

“She sounded excited,” she says, trying to be encouraging.  My inner Rodney Dangerfield is going in a very different direction.

“Oh my gosh, Mom, just call her back. It’s probably good news.  Nobody gives bad news over the phone.”  My diva is prophetic when she’s not being sassy.

I sweat it out another five minutes until we arrive at the bassoon teacher’s house.  No way am I going to take this call while I’m driving, good news or bad news.

My daughter dials the phone because my hands are shaking too badly to do it myself.  Melissa’s first question is if I’ve stopped driving and that’s when it hits me.  Like my daughter said, Melissa does sound excited.  It has to be good news, right?  Then I hear the phrase “three book deal” and everything after that is pretty much lost in a blur of tears and an escalating heartbeat. I’m not even sure what I said in response to her.  Hopefully, it was something ladylike.  But probably not.  It has been a nearly three year wait.

At this point, I leap from the car as my daughter cringes and scans the surrounding lawns for anyone who might be witness to my embarrassing display. I hug her and do a little happy dance in a stranger’s driveway.  Being a typical teenager, she recoils in horror.  “Mom!” she says. “Get a grip.  It’s just a book deal.”

Just a book deal?  Just a book deal!

She hefts her bassoon and heads down the stone steps to her instructor’s basement studio.  But, before she turns the corner, she shoots a smile over her shoulder at her idiot mother, still standing there stunned next to my open car door.

“I don’t know why you’re so surprised,” she says cheerily.  “We all knew you’d do it.”

I think the she might have mentioned a new horse she had her eye on at this point, but I didn’t pay much attention, instead quickly climbing into my car.  Fortunately, while I was on the phone with Melissa, my diva had been texting the details of the deal to my husband, because by the time I got on the line with him, the floodgates had opened.  He greeted me with the now almost patronizing line “I told you you’d do it.”

Wasn’t anybody as excited as I was?  Did I mention it’s been nearly THREE YEARS?  I was hyperventilating with joy.  My husband would later tell my agent that he wasn’t sure if I was more excited when he proposed to me or when she’d called with the deal.  Silly man.  Of course, we all know the answer to that one. 😉

So, now it’s been a week and things have begun to sink in.  The joy of selling my first book to Cindy Hwang at Penguin Company’s Berkeley Books is still bubbling inside me, but there’s a little trepidation there, too.  After all, I have two more books to write!

And, for those of you out there who knew I could do it even when I didn’t, thanks for believing in me. 🙂

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