book deals and the nomadic author: letter from shaw island
It is May, and WILD AWAKE is coming out in three weeks. Techie Boyfriend and I have repaired to a campsite in the woods, which is possibly the world's least convenient place from which to launch a novel, but illuminating in its own way.
As I write this, my body is here in this driftwood shack, with a kerosene lantern burning over my shoulder and Techie Boyfriend playing a broken accordion in the twilight, but I'm aware of this other Hilary, a Monopoly-piece extension of myself, moving around the game board of publishing with all of the tumultuous joys and stresses that entails (one roll lands the coveted "You have won $10 in a beauty pageant," and on the next roll it's "Postage fees for over-ambitious ARC mailing; pay $50 to Community Chest.")
I feel a strange tension between those two realities—the one in which I'm a forest creature living a three-mile bike ride from the nearest electrical outlet, and the one in which I'm a person with a blog, a twitter account, and a calendar slowly but surely filling up with Real Actual Author Events in places like Chicago and Boston. Both realities excite me, and balancing the two is going to be an interesting dance. I'm especially grateful to have known many of you, oh readers of this blog, for a pretty long time now—I feel like I can write you these strange little letters and you will understand.
I am typing up this letter on my laptop, sitting at that three-mile electrical outlet in the shade. This morning I found a bird's nest with four tiny speckled eggs inside, and saw calypso orchids growing on the forest floor. I'm glad to live in a world where both are possible, the electrical outlet and the four speckled eggs. And although I still get worried sometimes that I'll never find the right balance between my publishing life and my forest one, I think there's something to be learned from watching your Monopoly piece by kerosene lantern.