the big news: Small Damages sells to Tamra Tuller at Philomel Books

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I began my travels to southern Spain more than 16 years ago.  I met an old man named Luis, who cooked for me when I was sick.  I found a bathtub full of oranges high up, on an old, odd roof.  I met one of the King's best friends, southern Spain's finest breeder of bulls, and he took me out in an open jeep, where the unsuspecting herd was chewing.  I watched the flamenco dancers dance; I climbed the towers; I studied the bridge. I read of the war, and I read of survivors, and I tracked down old memoirs from the Franco era, preserving the recipes I'd find clenched within the pages.  Seville was home to my brother-in-law, Rodi, his wife, and their children, and so to Seville my husband, son, and I would repeatedly return.  I walked through doors few do.

For years, I worked on a book I called Small Damages, except for the years during which I thought of it as The Last Threads of Saffron.  The novel evolved over time—became a story of gypsies, a story of the deaf, a story of an old cook's love affair.  Last summer, just about this time, I shared a draft of the book with Tamra Tuller, an editor at Philomel Books, whose Kathryn Erskine (Mockingbird) would go on to win the 2010 National Book Award and whose Ruty Sepetys (Between Shades of Gray) would appear on the bestseller list in her debut week earlier this year.  Tamra had ideas about Small Damages.  She encouraged me to keep working.  She emerged as one of those rare editors who agrees to read again, who quietly and gainfully encourages. 

Tamra shares, with me, a love of travel, a love of exotic foods, even a love of the TV show "Top Chef."  Tamra is also, as of today, thanks to the announcement (below) in the PW Children's Bookshelf, the editor of Small Damages.  I don't think I can express just what this means to me.

Tamra is kind, and she is smart.  She works within a team—which includes my dear former editor Jill Santopolo (who introduced me to Tamra by way of Ruta's book) and the remarkable Michael Green—that makes a writer feel at home.

My great thanks, then, to Tamra, to Jill, to Michael, to Philomel, and to my agent, Amy Rennert.  My thanks, too, to Kate Moses, Susan Straight, Alyson Hagy, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, and Ivy Goodman, who read this book over time and kept me believing in it.  Maybe it took ten years and eighty drafts to write the book that Small Damages finally is.  But the book feels brand new and just right and full of hope in the hands of Tamra Tuller.

Tamra Tuller at Philomel Books bought world rights to National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart’s YA novel Small Damages, a coming-of-age story set in southern Spain about the difficult choices a teenaged girl faces when she gets pregnant. The publication is scheduled for summer 2012; Amy Rennert of the Amy Rennert Agency brokered the deal. 

19 comments:

Liviania said...

Excellent news. Congratulations on finding a great home for your book.

Mandy said...

Yay! I've been waiting to hear this news. That is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. :)

Becca said...

Congratulations! So excited for you:)

Amy said...

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! :)

Patty Chang Anker said...

What a lesson in giving ideas space and time to grow and change. You're a gardener, Beth. Tending faithfully through the years. So happy for you!

Melissa Sarno said...

:-O You never cease to amaze me. Yay, yay, yay! Congrats.

Holly said...

ahhh! wow, Beth. you never stop. felicitations, felicitations...!

Jeanie Ashburn said...

Can it be 16 years? I remember reading about the flamenco dancers, the bulls, Bill's brother, the old man.

Congratulations, Beth.

Jean

Elizabeth Mosier said...

Congratulations, Beth! Persistence and patience pay off BIG TIME!

Karen Mahoney said...

Dear Beth, congratulations!! I am so VERY happy for you.

Thank you for starting my day with a smile.

Hugs,
Karen

Beth Kephart said...

I am feeling blessed by all your notes, and by your friendship.

persistence has become my middle name, a strange thing, given my early life as a very impatient young woman.

Anna Lefler said...

This is so exciting, Beth! Congrats and cheers to you!

Can't wait to read it...

XO

A.

Melissa Walker said...

This is so fantastic, Beth. You know how I adore Spain and I can't wait to see it through your eyes, and your protagonist's. ♥♥

The1stdaughter said...

This is such fantastic news Beth! Congratulations! xoxo

Katrina said...

Beth, Belated congratulations! This is just wonderful news -- and it sounds like a perfect pairing of editor and writer. Good for you both!

Lilian Nattel said...

Congratulations!!! Wonderful news.

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