Jennifer Hillier

Am I dreaming?

Jul 1, 2010 | Uncategorized

Thirty years ago today, I was spending a hot and sunny afternoon with my mother at Jack Darling Park in Mississauga, eating free vanilla cake and ice cream and getting my face painted, with a giant balloon tied to my wrist.  Bliss.

But today’s pretty blissful, too.

I woke up this morning feeling really good and it took me a minute to remember why… and then pure, unadulterated happiness washed over me like a warm blanket.  People keep asking me how I feel, and my answer is… relief, mainly.  I was thrilled the day I signed with my agent.  This is different.  I didn’t realize I’d been holding my breath for two months, and for the first time since April 30 (when we went on submission), I can breathe again.

There’s also a lot of joy mixed in, and also a huge sense of accomplishment.  But right now, this moment, I feel blissful relief.

I was in a dead sleep when the phone rang yesterday morning.  I’d been up till 3 a.m. the night before, writing (not at all unusual for me), and when the phone rang at 7, I was jolted awake.  I have talking caller ID and so without moving, I waited to hear who was calling.  In that second or two, my brain was already annoyed.  I’d already been woken up painfully early on Sunday morning by a phone call that could have waited a few hours (if you’re on my Facebook, you probably saw that rant), and so of course my first coherent thought was, “Somebody better be dead.”

Thankfully, nobody was dead, and when I heard my phone’s robotic voice say “Vic-tor-i-a Skur-nick”, I was up and out of bed and on the phone in about a half a second.  Because I know my agent wouldn’t call that early if wasn’t something Really Fucking Important.

The first words I heard were, “We have an offer.”  My brain kind of froze after that, and I think I physically crumpled.  I literally folded over onto the bed like a taco shell.  She was telling me about the deal, but all I could hear in my head was my own voice saying, “I’m getting published!  I’m getting published!” in a demented sing-song earworm-like way.

This is why writers need agents.  Because when we find out that somebody – anybody – wants to buy our book, we crumple and turn into grateful, blubbering idiots.  Thank God our agents are business people who know how to handle situations like this.

From there, the day only got better.  A few hours later I was on the phone with a friend (hi, Jen) when I happened to see the deal posted on Publisher’s Marketplace and screamed (sorry about your ear, Jen).  I think that’s when it finally hit me.  I’ve been subscribing to PM for two years, and have seen many, many deals posted.  To think that on June 30, 2010, one of those deals was mine…

WOW.  Just… WOW.

That one sentence on PM isn’t just a description of my book, it’s a summary of everything I’ve wanted and hoped for and dreamed about since I was a little kid, eating ice cream in the park, thinking that someday I might grow up to be the next Beverly Cleary.  Well, my work isn’t anything like Beverly Cleary’s (her books aren’t about sex addicts and serial killers), but she’s an author, and so am I.  And the fact that thirty years later, I have this in common with her is pretty damned cool.

Someone asked me if I planned to keep blogging.  HELL YEAH!  I now have a book to promote, duh!  But in all seriousness, even though I initially named this blog “Chasing Publication”, this isn’t the end of the story.

It’s just the beginning.

Happy Canada Day!