In Leavittville: A Small Damages Conversation (and my love for Philomel)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I wanted to find a pair of cowgirl boots for my friend Caroline Leavitt, to thank her for making room for me on her roost today, but the best I could do was this sign, photographed in Nashville four years ago, which sat (you'll have to believe me) right near a cowboy/cowgirl boot store.  Why I didn't think to photograph the boots themselves is beyond me.  What is not beyond me, at this moment, is gratitude.  For Caroline's friendship.  For her own talent.  For conversations we have had in public and in private as we both journey through this writing life.  I don't even know how Caroline got an early copy of Small Damages, but she had one.  She's in the midst of writing a brand new book, and she made time to read it.  Then she asked me excellent questions, the kind of questions one who knows another well can ask.  I answered them all here.

Among the things we discussed is how much I love Philomel, and how I made my way to this great place to begin with.  I extract a small fraction of our conversation below, but hope you will visit Leavittville for more.

Philomel is exquisite.  At Philomel I have a home.  There I have never felt like a fringe writer, a secondary writer, a marginal, will-she-please-fit-a-category, we’ll-get-to-you-when-we-get-to-you writer.  Michael Green, Philomel’s president, is a most generous person, and correspondent.  Tamra—beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful, embracing—approached the editing of this book, the design of its cover, and the preparation of it for the world with the greatest care, and in the process we became great friends.  Jessica Shoffel, a wildly wonderful and innovative publicist, wrote me a note I’ll never forget after she read the book and her devotion to getting the word out has been unflagging, sensational.  The sales team got in touch a long time ago and has stayed in touch.  And on and on.  

But no, I never knew I would shine.  I don’t think of myself as a diamond or a star.  I never think in those terms.  I just keep writing my heart out.  And when you are collaborating with a house like Philomel, when you are given room, when your questions are answered, when you are given a chance, there are possibilities.


Serena said...

I will have to check this out.

off kilter said...

Lovely treat this morning, to read both you and Leavitt. I just discovered her Pictures of You this summer, and now I see she is a knitter as well. Unlike some writers' blogs which make me frantic about sales and marketing and publishing, and which I am now avoiding, you both inspire me. Lovely.

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