Oh, New York, New York. It’s taken me a few weeks to write this post. I intended to post photos from my trip here ages ago, and then things got busy. Kids. Life. A new book that’s completely taking over my head (and heart). And I think my slowness is also because I’m still thinking about my trip. Still processing. It was an amazing four days, and I’d love to share a few highlights, in random order:
Seeing my name on a billboard. See the little book that’s second from the top? Right above Nora Roberts? Yup. This was surreal, and amazing. I really have no other words.
Cars and drivers. Let’s get something out of the way here: In real life, I drive a mini-van. I mean, I don’t like to call it that. It’s a VW van. A Routan. Rhymes with crouton. Ahem. But I have three boys, and it’s kind of a necessity (even though I cried giving up my Volvo SUV a few years ago). So, with that said, you can see how lovely it was for me to be driven around by a chauffeur in a swanky black town car while I was in town (with chilled San Pelligrino at the ready—ooh la la!).
Breakfast at Balthazar. It was swanky (Exhibit A: A half a grapefruit cost $16) and very French (Exhibit B: Lots of butter), and absolute deliciousness. And my editor, agent and publicist and I may or may not have all ordered bloody marys. (Also much fun: breakfast at the St. Regis, and Tiffany’s (of course!))
Champagne at my literary agent’s office. After years of working together, it was such fun to visit my agent Elisabeth Weed’s office. We toasted all the fun we’ve had together in the past years and all of our big goals and dreams for the future. I also loved seeing the framed photo of my first novel, The Violets of March, in her super-hip conference room.
Bonding with Elizabeth Gilbert. You’d assume that the author of one of the biggest books of the last decade (Eat, Pray Love) would be a primadonna, too busy to chat with newcomers, too … too. Well, you’d be wrong. This gal, who I met at the People magazine party (see below) was as lovely as they come. Best story ever: She walked right up to me, told me she loved my shoes, then admitted that her dress was from the same store (ahem, Target).
Grand Central. The fantastic bestselling author, Alyson Richman, took the subway in from Long Island to meet me at Grand Central for a little tour and tea. We laughed, shared stories (laughed some more) and talked a little about the anthology we both are contributing to for Penguin this year, which will be published in time with Grand Central’s 100th anniversary.
Seeing all the buzz for my fall novel, Morning Glory. After so much time in my head, it’s so surreal to see one of my stories released into the world. There was a huge giveaway of galleys of Morning Glory at Book Expo America, and I loved seeing the big blow-up of the cover, and signing books for readers (one woman told me she traveled hundreds of miles to get her copy—amazing!). (Above photo is me in front of the Penguin Books truck at BEA, where The Last Camellia was featured!)
Meeting the people who have meant so much to me, and my career over the past years. My three agents, Elisabeth Weed, Jenny Meyer (who represents my foreign rights and has sold my books in 22 territories to date!), and Faye Bender (my agent who is working with me on young adult and middle grade projects) all joined me for a very memorable dinner at ABC Kitchen (where we got a special visit from the executive chef at our table—amazing!). I also adored spending time with my amazing editor, Denise Roy, who took me on a walking tour of New York City (we ended up stopping for wine several times along the way, ha!). And, the dear, dear Liz Keenan, publicist extraordinaire at Plume—memories to last a lifetime, my dear. You know what I’m talking about!
Being a featured author at the Penguin Bird Bash. Penguin hosted a party at their Hudson Street offices in honor of a dozen or so authors, and I was so excited to be included in such amazing company as Elizabeth Gilbert (see above) and Meg Wolitzer. I also loved meeting so many book bloggers, authors, Penguin staffers (Ashley Pattison, in particular!), and then getting a grand tour of Plume’s offices from Denise Roy, my editor, and editorial director and all-around fab guy, Phil Budnik.
The People magazine party. My publicist, Liz, and I went together, and wow. Just wow. Actresses! (Octavia Spencer, Melissa Joan Hart) Mega-bestselling authors! (I chatted with a certain Mr. Michael Connelly, Anne Leary, and met the gorgeous Elin Hilderbrand). Mostly I just took it all in. I kept gazing all around the gorgeous rooftop party, with New York city in all of its glory all around, thinking, how did I get here?
Visiting the Glamour offices. I worked for Glamour for almost five years (as their health writer for Glamour.com), and contributed to the magazine for years before that, so it was amazing to finally visit the Conde Nast building and meet everyone! Such fun to say hi to Anne Sachs, Beth Shapouri, Lindsey Unterberger, and Mike Hoffman—the extraordinary team from Glamour.com.
Inspiration for a new book. Before I left for New York, I was a quarter of the way through a new novel that was going to be my book #7 with Penguin. But the great thing about inspiration is that it can lead you in other directions and strike at anytime. And though it’s hard to give up on a novel you’ve put time and effort into, sometimes you have to follow your heart. At some point during my trip, a new idea hit me, and the characters began whispering. I plotted out the whole novel on the plane ride home, shared it with my agents and editor, and the verdict? They love it and gave me permission to move forward. So I have. And it’s going to be good, really good!
The glitter and the cobblestones. As much as I loved the glitz of the city (like these amazing chandeliers at my hotel, The Mondrian Soho), I loved thinking about the history of New York City while I was walking—old New York. I especially loved seeing the exposed cobblestones in parts of the streets, remnants from hundreds of years ago. I just kept thinking of all the people who walked the very same streets throughout history.
Until next time, lovely, New York City,