Last week, first thing Monday morning, I got an email from the fabulous Heather Moore at Sourcebooks letting me know that A Royal Pain had received a starred, boxed review in Publishers Weekly. I was pretty stoked. But then it turns out that that’s really a thing. I was getting calls. People were really happy for me.
It was weird.
Now that publication is approaching and people are starting to review the book, I no longer feel each reader’s response so acutely. When I first started letting people read my unpublished manuscript I had to sort of shut my eyes most of the way and hit “Send” while holding my breath. And then wait for a week or two, or longer, while they read it and came back to me with their feedback. Those early readers are the foundation of my dreams. People like Emma Petersen. Mira Lyn Kelly. Brenda Phipps. I just don’t think they will ever really know what it meant for me that they actually took the time to read my stupid book. (Because I had to refer to it as ‘my stupid book’ back then, because I had no idea if it would ever amount to anything.)
During the summer of 2011, after meeting in person for the first time at RWA, Miranda Neville offered to read an early version of A Royal Pain. Honestly, when she said, “Sure, I’d love to read your book.” the first thing that popped into my mind was, “Why?” I am not trying to be cute or self-effacing here, but it really feels miraculous when you tell someone about a book you are working on and they say, “May I read it?” At least it felt like a miracle to me. I was talking to another writer who just signed with an agent and I suspect is about to sign with a publisher about this early-reader-gratitude phenomenon. There’s something about the people who liked you back in the day, back when you were nobody. Of course none of us are nobody, but you know what I mean. Those people become part of our personal mythology.
Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE YOU PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEWER, WHOEVER YOU ARE! But getting the boxey-starry goodness last week was sort of like someone coming up to my five-year-old and exclaiming, “Oh my god! You had a baby!”
The Publishers Weekly review also had one unintended consequence. My husband has gotten it into his head to read my book. He’s liking it, even though it’s not “his thing.” As we left the house on Friday afternoon, after I accused him of being a bandwagon-jumper-onner, he turned to me with a dramatic flair and cried, “What do you mean? I have loved you since you were boxed and starred!”
PS Here’s a link to the review:
PPS Here’s a picture of the review:
PPPS Here’s the review:
* A Royal Pain
Megan Mulry. Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4022-6997-4
Mulry debuts with a delightful love story between Bronte Talbott and her modern-day duke. Bronte loves everything pop culture, including—perhaps especially—“royal gazing,” mostly because it annoys her intellectual father. After a disastrous relationship with “Mr. Texas,” for whom Bronte moved from her beloved New York to Chicago, advertising exec Bronte meets Max Heyworth, a “lovely young gentleman from England” and doctorial student in economics at the University of Chicago. It’s not long into their whirlwind romance before Max wants to marry Bronte. Only two problems stand in their way: Bronte doesn’t know that Max, who lives like a pauper, is actually the 19th duke of Northrop, and Bronte has some serious issues to work through, not the least of which being, once she does find out, deciding whether she even wants the life of a duchess. This delectable story, a little reminiscent of the movie The Prince and Me, is all about second chances and every girl’s secret fantasy of marrying the perfect guy. Mulry creates a completely fleshed-out character in Bronte, with her insecurity issues and her envious good luck. She and the other characters make this charming book worth reading again and again. Agent: Allison Hunter, Inkwell Management. (Nov.)