For the past several weeks, I’ve been house hunting–publishing houses, that is. While publishing’s a business, a house is still a home, and moving is stressful, complicated–and for a creature of routine like myself–just fraught.
Exciting, too, because once you work through the fraught, there are new possibilities, a fresh page, a new start.
There were changes in the house I worked with, lived in, was part of for more than twenty years, and with those changes I no longer felt at home there. Home, for me, is the center, the core, personally and professionally, so I need to feel comfortable and in place. I need to fit and feel connected.
So it was time to pack up, move on, and take memories of those twenty-plus years of good work with good people with me to somewhere new.
I’m fortunate to have had choices, to be able look at the landscape, the architecture, the personality and foundations of what was available to me. Each had its own distinct appeal and advantages, and since I don’t move lightly, all had to be carefully considered–with the invaluable and level-headed guidance of my agent. Amy Berkower of Writers’ House has been my agent since 1980. Not only don’t I make changes lightly, but I know when I have the best and I hold onto it. She knows and understands me, values for me what keeps me content, keeps me happy and creative, is not only my agent but my very good friend.
In the end, though we both determined I could do good work and be satisfied settling into other houses, one could be a real home, a place of contentment and creativity, one that suited my wants and needs at this time in my life and career.
For those reasons and many others, I’m unpacking my bags in MacMillan–St. Martin’s Press. Their landscape, architecture and personality all fit so well I already feel at home. I already know some of the family, and that’s a path to contentment. I’m looking forward to meeting and making connections to the rest. Best of all, I can now concentrate on the work I’ll do for them, and for you. I like to think, within this new house I’ll create some rooms readers will enjoy visiting, spending some time in.
They’ll begin publishing me next year (it takes time to write those books, create those rooms), and I’m looking forward to what my new family and I will do together. (Note from Laura: there is still work to be done arranging the 2017 schedule. While I know readers would love to continue with a schedule that’s familiar, there are bound to be tweaks up ahead. We’ll share as we know what’s what.)
Penguin Random House will publish The Obsession this April, Bay Of Sighs in June, Apprentice In Death in September and Island Of Glass in December, as scheduled. I’m grateful to everyone I worked with there–and to those who continue to work on my books for 2016, and my backlist.
Happily, with the move made, I could spend my Saturday with Kayla in the kitchen without the distractions of what should I do, where should I go eking into the day.
She wanted to learn how to make my red sauce–and she and Logan voted for fudge. My girl learns well, and learns fast. She’s learning the names of herbs and spices–and that no sauce is complete without a good dose of wine.
Once the red sauce is simmering, it’s fudge time. I don’t have my mother’s recipe, sadly, but I found one on-line that uses Marshmallow Cream–we called it fluff. And when I pulled that out of the cabinet, her eyes lit. Fluff! And the two of us had a little taste from the jar. I was ten years old again. She mixed, she stirred, stirred, stirred until the fluff, the sugar, the evaporated milk–a little salt, if I remember right–were all combined and smooth and boiling. And that’s a LOT of stirring. Add the chocolate, a dash of vanilla. Stir, stir. Pour into a foil-lined dish, and into the fridge it goes. Which leaves the spoon and pot to be licked and scraped–just like I did as a girl in my mother’s kitchen.
It’s not quite my mother’s fudge–a little sweeter, I think–but it’s awesome.
The kid also ate a bowl of soup, one of my baker brother’s sourdough English muffins (christened by Laura as J’muffins for my brother Jim). She helped me pick out Easter presents for her younger sibs, helped me sign four tubs of books. Then learned how to make another of her favorite things. Garlic bread.
At the end of the day she took home a container of red sauce–just add pasta!–a plate of pretty amazing fudge and a bag of garlic bread. I suspect her family ate as well and happily as BW and I.
I think of my professional (and personal, because my work and my house are) change. It happened relatively quickly. I look at my granddaughter, stirring, chopping, creating meals, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with me instead of boosted up in my arms. That’s a gradual change that seemed to take five minutes.
And find myself, a creature of routine, not only okay with the changes, but delighted by them.