In the lair, nothing makes us more excited than a recounting of THE CALL, a new author's dream phone call. Please welcome debut author Skyler White as she shares her fantastic story!
I’ll be at the store …
I was pushing a cart out of the Costco in south Austin when I got The Call. I had my receipt in one hand, held out for the folks with the pink Sharpies, and had to wedge my cell phone between my shoulder and ear to have a hand free for cart-steering. Holly Root – my agent for all of three days at that point – mercifully, isn’t one to drag out good news. She had an offer – a good offer, a two-book offer. She suggested we take it.
Now, I don’t shop without a grocery list, and this is doubly true of Costco, so I had a notebook and pen I could have used for note taking. I could have asked intelligent questions and written down details so that when I got home I had some record of what she said after “two-book deal” and “Leis Pederson.” What I did instead was jump from cart-corral post to cart-corral post, and try to keep the giggles out of my voice.
Holly gave me details I would have to write her and ask for again the next day. My husband was on a plane, so I called my folks long-distance. I drove hands free for mile-long stretches because I was clapping. I don’t remember putting the food away. My family celebrated with me. When I actually signed the contract, we went out to dinner. But the next morning, the kids still need breakfasts and packed lunches. I still had to go to the store.
and Falling, Fly is a dark fable of desire between a fallen angel and a neuroscientist. Olivia is a vampire who feeds on the desire she inspires in mortals. Dominic is radical scientist engaged in secret experimentation on memory, testing new medications on himself. They aren’t the kind of folks who shop at Costco. And writing them, I get to inhabit their world. I spent afternoons at my desk in Ireland’s underground Hotel of the Damned, where the beautiful children of myth, the modern iterations of Persephone and Sirens, mingle with rock stars and snakes. Then I do the laundry.
Still, when Rosanne, my Berkley publicist, called me with the news that the first interest she’d had in setting up book signings for me came from my local grocery store, I was flummoxed. HEB is a classic Texas grocery chain. Their people are friendly, their prices are great, and their foodie-oriented Central Market stores give Whole Foods a run for its yuppie money. But book signings? I had to call Holly. Turns out HEB is a New York Times-reporting chain with a series of ‘Super HEBs’ that hold expansive book sections. So I’ll be doing my first ever book-signing at the grocery store.
I’m also throwing myself a book-launch at our local indie bookstore. My birthday is three days before Christmas, so I’m making up for all the previously rushed birthdays by throwing myself a “Fallen Angels and Flights of Absinthe” themed launch party. There will be a reading and absinthe tasting and I’m looking forward to living, at least for a few hours, in a shadow of the world I created.
The book I wrote as the second of my two-book deal is a dark time-travel horror/romance about the Irish poet WB Yeats. In Dreams Begin is set back and forth between contemporary Portland, Oregon and 1889-1914 Ireland, England and France, as Ida Jameson, heiress to the Dublin whiskey manufacturer and amateur occultist channels the spirit of Laura Armstrong from modern Portland into the body of Maud Gonne, the legendary beauty and Irish revolutionary. Yeats, through his interest in the occult, meets and falls in love with Laura, although neither of them understands the connection they have through time, or the danger they’re in from Ida.
It’s been a tremendously fun project that has allowed me to explore the Irish connection to my story-world in great detail. It also required intense amounts of research, since Maud, Ida and Yeats (and Laura, to an extent) were (or are) all real people with real histories; and the rule I set for myself was that, since the made-up elements are so fantastical, I was allowed to take no liberties with history. In one Yeats biography, I read that he and his wife (not Maud, btw) celebrated the news that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for literature by cooking sausages, because they were out of champagne. I would have gone to the store.
I have worked hard to rid myself of the capitalist notion that one thing can fix everything. This pill, that diet, the new job, the next house, the perfect moment … but there was a quiet, persistent “never going to happen, not to you,” voice that finally stopped whispering that day at Costco. It did, actually, change my life in a few significant ways. With a deadline for book two, I felt more justified carving out writing time. I bought a new, light-weight netbook with a long-lived battery. The “what if I never sell anything” stomach-roiler was replaced by “what if nobody buys it?” And almost two years later, every time I leave Costco, my tummy tightens up a little, and I grin.
Now, with the official release date of and Falling, Fly, March 2, only days away, I know it’s not too early to start popping into my local Borders or Barnes and Noble hoping for my first time I sight my book in the wild, but we’re out of dish soap and dried mangos. I’ll be at HEB.
Skyler White is author of dark fantasy novels and Falling, Fly (Berkley, March 2010) and In Dreams Begin (Berkley, March 2010).
Thanks so much for joining us, Skyler. I can't wait to read your first novel!!! KJ