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!