Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Best Birthday Ever

I had the most wonderful birthday imaginable.

My friend Cynthia outdid herself with a vegetarian and vegan meal. Zucchini soup and salad and corn bread and Mexican lasagna and ice cream cake and lots of other dishes and desserts.

See the flowers on the sideboard? They were from my brother and sister-in-law. The florist called just as I was about to leave, so I told them to deliver them to Cynthia's house. And yes, I took them home, once the party was over. There are limits to my wonderfulness.

I also got birthday phone calls and cards, and of course, many messages and emails from you. All of which I loved.

In addition to Cynthia and me, there were six of my friends at dinner last night. And while we were all together, I took the opportunity to announce a couple of things to them.

One was that Life As We Knew It won the Connecticut Nutmeg Young Readers Award. Nothing like winning an award to make a birthday even more special.

Second of all... well, second of all is bit of a long story. But late last week Harcourt and I agreed to terms on a new book.

Here's the rest of the long story. Last summer I wrote a hundred or so pages of a YA novel. I wrote it on spec, knowing that Harcourt had an option on my next book, so they would see it first (and if they accepted it, last).

I sent it off to my agent in the fall, but a lot of things intervened, and it took a while before Harcourt, my agent, and I were all ready to go ahead. But we all seem ready now (except for me, because I'm not getting anything done until the Olympics are over).

I'm not going to be talking about the book here, and I don't intend to set up a new blog to discuss it. People who don't like being spoilered don't have to worry. I anticipate letting you know how the work is coming along, but that's pretty much it.

So here's all I'm going to tell you.

It's a realistic, family oriented, YA novel. I see it as similar to my books About David and The Year Without Michael, although, I hope, better than them, because I think I've learned a lot about writing over the past few decades. It has no sci fi aspects to it.

It's about (and this is as detailed as I'm going to get) a teenage girl who lives with her mother, her stepfather and two stepsisters. Something big and bad happens outside her immediate family circle that forces her to examine her life and reevaluate herself and her family.

Its working title is Blood Wounds.

I'm planning on spending March finishing the first draft. It's tentatively scheduled to be published in the fall of 2011 (a year and a half after This World We Live In).

My friends last night seemed very happy that I was going to be writing a new book. I hope you will be also!


lisa-marie said...

I'm glad to hear you had such a wonderful birthday! That cake is beautiful! Best of luck on writing the new novel and I look forward to hearing about it (as much as you wish to share, of course!). Cheers!

Becky said...

I'm glad you had a great birthday! I am so excited you'll be writing another book!

Wendy said...

Wonderful news! _About David_ is still a favorite of mine. While I still love to read YA books, there's something about the ones one reads when one actually is a young adult.

Anonymous said...


Kathryn said...

Yay for your Birthday, and of course the new book. I hope it all works out great. Right now I'm excited... and a little disappointed... I wish we didn't have to wait soo long... I'm not a patient person...

NicktheNinja222 said...

My friend just lent me The Dead & The Gone today, and I finished it already, because it was an AMAZING book! This friend has read approximately three books by personal choice, and yours has made a lasting impression on him. It's a crazy coincidence that led me to your work on your birthday, so I'll take it as a sign from God to buy your next book. Happy birthday, and good luck with your future works!

Carrie said...

Happy Birthday!!! And a millions YAYs for the new book!! Can't wait to read it.

Karen Strong said...

Glad that you had a great birthday! So excited about third book in the trilogy coming out in April.

Good luck writing your new book -- it sounds very intriguing.

Lulu said...

Happy Birthday and congrats on the new book deal. You need to stop writing so I can catch up!

Anonymous said...

Nice story as for me. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that theme. Thank you for giving that information.
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Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Lisa-Marie and Becky and Wendy and Anonymous and Kathryn and NicktheNinja222 and Carrie and Karen Strong and Lulu and Anonymous-

After all that, I don't know what to say.

So I'll go with thank you and thank you (one for birthday happiness and one for new book interest) and between the skating and the kitten, I'm really not getting very much sleep.

And yet, I love them both!

Anonymous said...

I am over the moon about it. Hurray another Susan beth Pfeffer book to read!!!

Ann Marie

Linda Jacobs said...

Happy Birthday and congratulations on the new book! It sounds intriguing. Can't wait!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Ann Marie and Linda Jacobs-

I think Blood Wounds could be really really good. Of course I think that about everything I write!

heather t said...

Congratulations! I was just thinking about you the other day and if you would be starting another book soon. I'm glad you are!

Jen said...

Happy Birthday, Sue! And hey, how about Evan and the gold medal? And a great performance by Johnny to boot?

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello to Heather T and to Jen-

I'm very happy that Evan won. And I'll probably be very happy that I'm working on a new book, if I can get my mind back to such mundane things as plotting and characterizations!

Lauren said...

Happy birthday!

I'm looking forward to the new book as well as the one coming out in a couple of months. I checked out "The Year Without Michael" a few weeks ago from the library of the school where I teach, and although I hadn't read it in at least a decade, I was really surprised. A number of lines and plot points have stuck with me through the years and I had no idea that this was where I remembered them from - Kay wrapping up a rock for Christmas, the parents flying to check out a body to see if it was their son, Jody wondering if all that is left is a "Michaelbody." Rereading the book brought back a lot of memories.

Mr. Cavin said...

How exciting about the new book. I'm glad you're a) not retiring, and b) moving on to something new. I'll read it for sure.

And Happy Birthday! Sorry I'm late, but I was in Minnesota without a computer. I did eat some cake there, so I am retroactively dubbing your name into the roster of festivities. Or maybe I should go out and get some new cake? Hmmm....

sarah said...

I am very happy to hear that you have a new book in the works!! That makes me very excited.

And happy birthday, again.

Also, my review of the Moon Trilogy is up here:

And tomorrow we'll have the interview with you. Thank you, again, for your time!!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello to Lauren and Mr. Cavin and Sarah (and thank you Sarah for your review)-

I'd forgotten about the Christmas rock in The Year Without Michael. It's been ages since I read it. Actually, the last time I remember reading it, I was in a motel in Maine, skimming through it because I was going to read a section of it in a program the next day, and I thought, Boy this is a depressing book.

Little did I know how much more depressing I could make things.

I'm glad, Mr. Cavin, that you had a piece of cake sometime around my birthday, but now I want some cake also. And I really shouldn't have any for another 360 or so days.

My word verification is gatie. Add it on to most anything and you get a cute little scandal!

Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Sue

Hope it's the beginning of an amazing year for you!!
Maria T.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Maria T.

I think it could be a very good year indeed!