Thursday, March 01, 2007

Welcome to California -- Jay

Photo taken by Carrie Watson*

For you authors who haven't met your editors in person yet, let me set you at ease. I went out to dinner with my editor last Saturday and not once did she correct my grammar, tell me to flesh out my personality, or ask me to hurry up and get to the point.

Kristen was speaking at the SCBWI Asilomar conference and since I was "in the neighborhood," I asked if she'd like to grab a bite to eat. As Robin can confirm (since I called her ten minutes before picking up Kristen), I was extremely nervous. I imagined Kristen flying back to NYC and saying, "We can not let this guy appear in public." Did I actually think I'd say something horrendously stupid? Let me transcribe part of the phone conversation I had with Kristen a couple hours before we met...

KRISTEN: I can't wait to finally meet you in person!

ME: Here, too.

Here, too? See, that's why I need an editor.

I'd made reservations at Joe Rombi's. The food was delicious and the conversation was (to my relief) wonderful! We discussed everything from Space Mountain to Brokeback Mountain. And in the valley between those mountains, we discussed children's literature. Everything from the Newbery scrotum debate to the Printz committee's ballsy selections. We discussed books she'd worked on (from Pop! to R.L. Stine's Fear Street series) as well as my inspiration for Thirteen Reasons Why.

In the end, I'm thrilled that my first novel is a Kristen Pettit novel. Not only does she "get" my book...she "gets" me.

And get this! Both times that I opened the passenger door and closed it behind her, she leaned across the console and opened my door for me. What a gal!

- Jay

*Ms. Watson is both my Sister-in-Agent and Sister-in-Editor


Anonymous said...

Great you had a chance to meet and chat!!

Wasn't the "does she unlock the door" test on a show once? I think that was the test of a woman's character!


Disco Mermaids said...

I know a lot of authors who've never met the editor they've been working with for years. So yes, it was great.

And the "unlock the door" test makes sense to me.

- Jay

Don Tate II said...

Oh that's funny. Sounds like something I'd do. And in fact have. I met one of my editors last summer at SCBWI, and I spent most of the four days avoiding her in social situations because I knew I'd say something off the wall.

Hey, and in answer to your question, I think I can safely answer here.

The author has a terminal cancer, I'm told. Mine could be one of the last books he has illustrated, though anything is possible. He wants this book to address death, the finality of it, and not sugar coated. One scene is actually bloody. I'm opposed, and chose to illustrate other parts of the text, but that was not received well.

In addition, the story is about a member of the authors family.