Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Mother. My Kitten. My B3

It has occurred to me that there are people out there who roll their eyes at the thought of a blog entry from me about my mother, and others who roll their eyes at the thought of a blog entry from me about my kitten, and still others who avert their eyes when I write spoilers about This World We Live In. So I figured I'd title this entry with all three of those things as fair warning. Remember, if an entry has B3 in its title, most likely it will have spoilers.

The editor emailed me with a handful of small questions/concerns Tuesday morning, and I answered them as best I could. Then she sent This World We Live In to the copyeditor, and I grabbed my mother and forced her to come to my apartment and meet Scooter.

My mother is not a big cat person. Her family had a goat when she was growing up, and that left her very anti-pet.

Scooter, on the other hand, was enthralled with my mother's feet. All the world is a kitten toy, as far as he's concerned, but feet are the best toys around. My mother, being an extraordinarily tolerant person, put up with Scooter's toe attack, but shortly thereafter she asked to go home. Good daughter that I am, I took her.

It feels a little odd having This World (which I will now start calling TW, which takes longer to say than This World but less time to type) all finished. Writing it, and rewriting it, and then revising it, was quite intense. And when I think of it, and Life As We Knew It, and the dead and the gone, I feel as though I wrote a thousand page novel. A very complicated thousand page novel.

The editor had expressed a desire for more stuff (she worded it a tad more elegantly) about Alex, so in the revisions I put in a new scene between him and Miranda. For those who are interested, I put the scene over at thirdmoonbook. In it, Alex picks up a copy of Pride And Prejudice from Miranda's bookshelf.

In TW, there's a discussion of Dad and Lisa's attempt to go west to find out how Lisa's family is. Without checking LAWKI, I mentioned that Lisa's family was in Colorado. For reasons that are of no interest to anyone but me, I grew concerned that I'd gotten it wrong, that in LAWKI, I'd located Lisa's family elsewhere. So I frantically leafed through LAWKI, looking for the reference to where Lisa's family was (in Colorado, thank goodness). But in my leafing, I discovered that Miranda referred to something as very Jane Austen-y.

You spend four years and a thousand pages with a character, and you really get to know her!


Anonymous said...

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It was the only way I could think of to not keep offering ideas. Even so, please forgive me for offering one more, in case your editor still thinks you didn't address what Miranda was hearing about the outside: the radio they have could be shortwave (maybe something Hal left behind after the divorce, and nobody touched until now?), which picks up just about everything broadcast around the world. There. Now I won't be bothered with it any more, and I won't mind if you delete.

Anonymous Santa Fe

Anonymous said...

You know what, Sue, I think everyone who reads this blog has come to care about you, your mother, Scooter, Marci, et al. I know that I have. Reading about you all is like keeping up with family that you haven't seen for a while.


Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Anonymous Santa Fe-

I was just thinking about you this morning. I guess our brain waves crossed paths!

The family does get some news from the radio, just as they did in LAWKI. I simply didn't want to place much emphasis on what was going on in the outside world.

Anyway, the editor seems satisfied with what I wrote, since the manuscript has made its way to copy editing.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good gray dreary rainy morning Glen-

I mention the weather because I have a ticket to today's Yankee game, but have decided not to go. Le sigh. My hope is it'll get rained out, but I bet it won't and Joba'll pitch a no hitter, and I won't be there. Le double sigh.

When I saw Marci yesterday, I told her about the ticket, and she said it was going to rain really hard all day today. So I hold her personally responsible for my staying at home and missing Joba's no hitter.

Scooter continues to play Purr On The Neck at 5, 6, and 7 AM, and when I throw him out of the room and close the door, he cries so piteously I can't sleep anyway.

And my mother for the past three days has said staying in bed is much nicer than getting out of same.

You might want to put a little more distance between yourself and this family!

Jenna said...

I know you don't want comments about B3 but I read the scene posted on the other blog and I just *had* to tell you - I loved it. It's so heartfelt and revealing yet subtle and it made my chest ache with emotion. I simply cannot wait for TW to be published and I might die over the wanting. I hope it's okay that I told you that.

Nora said...

I think cats find the person who wants them around the least, and spend as much time around that person as possible.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good evening Jenna-

Well, I do like praise...

I'm impatient for TW's publication also, although there are a number of months (I'm not sure of the exact number) to go.

I'm looking forward to seeing preliminary cover designs fairly soon. Harcourt has done such a great job with the covers for LAWKI and d&g, that I'm sure I'll love the TW cover as well.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Good evening Nora-

I once read that cats go to people who don't like them or are allergic (cats love people who are allergic) because those people don't try to get the cat's attention and cats like quiet people.

So if you don't want the cat anywhere near you, go Here kitty kitty kitty! and the cat will keep its distance.

In the case of Scooter and my mother, while it's true my mother did nothing to encourage his interest, she was sitting in his chair. He spends many happy hours sleeping in it (although today he spent many happy hours sleeping on my lap in what he thinks of as his other chair).

There were worse ways for the two of us to spend a rainy Thursday!

Alice said...

Sue!!! Did you hear about this!!! Preposterous!! They are ripping off of you, and so poorly!! The character's name is Alex, even!!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Alice-

I read some reviews of it (and forgot all about watching it) and it doesn't seem to be a ripoff. Just another disaster movie, only this one uses the moon.

But thanks for worrying about it!

Gary said...

Thanks for taking mystique out of more of the industry, Susan. This post is a keeper.

I have wondered what constitutes a NY Times Best-Selling number. Also wondered how much library sales helps numbers in general.
We have self-published (NOT P.O.D.) our series of books and have sold 100,000 so far. But because we self-publish, operate much in a vacuum to know how we stack up to numbers in traditional publishing.

Am reading dead & gone right now. Hope to finish before our vacation next week. So many tales could be told from characters you sent off in different directions in first two books. Maybe your 2010 project will address some of those.

Congratulations on nailing a solid story line.

Gary Allen VanRiper
Facebook & twitter

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Gary-

There's no magic number for making the Times best seller list. It's all dependent on how many books in each measured category sold that week.

I went through a big Clay Aiken stage, and one of the people on the message board I followed got the number of sales Aiken's memoirs had the week it was very high up (maybe as high as number 2) on the Times Best Seller list, and I was stunned at how few copies it was. Under 50,000 I'm reasonably sure.

So how many copies did LAWKI sell to make it on the list? I know how many copies LAWKI has sold in toto, but not a week by week breakdown. And of course, the Times doesn't look at every single copy sold. I don't know for sure, but I don't think they include Amazon in their market base.

Library sales help me enormously, and it's one reason why I always thank librarians for their support of my books. It used to be all hardcover sales of YA were institutional. Now there's definitely bookstore sales of YA hardcovers as well as paperbacks. My LAWKI hardcover sales numbers ae close to twice what my The Year Without Michael sales were. The population has grown, so there are more school/library purchases, but it's obvious there are also more bookstore sales.

Still, my guess is for the hardcovers at least, the majority (and quite possibly the large majority) of LAWKI/d&g sales are to schools and libraries.