Seville, Berlin, Philomel: At long last, I am meeting Tamra Tuller

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the summer of 2010, I was at the American Library Association meeting in Washington, DC, when the ever-fashionable Jill Santopolo (who had worked with me on several Laura Geringer/Harper Collins books and had herself edited The Heart Is Not a Size) slipped a copy of Ruta Sepetys's novel to me and said, "I read this on the train and cried.  I think it's the kind of book you'd love."

I did.  So did the world.

Reading Between Shades of Gray made me wonder about the editor of that book, Jill's Philomel colleague Tamra Tuller, who had taken on Ruta's literary exploration of another time, another place.  I had been working on a Seville novel for years at that point.  I had come close—very close—to selling it more than one time.  My heart had been broken, but I hadn't given up; if I believed in anything I believed in that cortijo, that cook, those gypsies, those Spanish songs.  I wrote a note to Tamra—brazen slush pile person that I have often been—and asked if she might take a look.

She did.  The rest is history.  Two years to the month after my first reaching out to Tamra, Small Damages—far the better book for the conversations Tamra and I had—will be released, on my son's birthday, to be exact.  A year or so from now (the timing isn't fixed) my Berlin novel, a book born out of a phone conversation Tamra and I had one afternoon, a book that reflects both our love for that city (Tamra having gone there first, Tamra having sent me thoughts about where I might go, what I might see), will find its way into the world.

And today, for the first time, I meet Tamra, a young woman who has changed my writing life immeasurably in ways both big and small.  Two trains, a long walk, a conversation—in person.  If I'm lucky, Jill herself will be in sight (and the very dear Jessica).

It feels like going home.


Becca said...

I will be thinking of you at this meeting, and I will be smiling.

Serena said...

I hope you have a great time.

Amy said...

aw this post is so lovely, Beth.

I'm reading Small Damages right now and loving it just as I knew I would!

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