Thursday, June 24, 2010
REBIRTH OF A BOOK
Surprising news came in my mail the other day. Scribner/Simon&Schuster is re-issuing my novel, Altar Music. It came out originally in the year 2000, and thrust me into a flurry of travels, readings and signings I'd never imagined for myself. It was great fun, and I met many amazing people. At that time I felt an almost symbiotic connection to the book itself which had both pleasant and painful consequences. When "my" novel was compared favorably with Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy I actually felt shimmers inside me. But when THE OREGONIAN reviewer said it was "purple prose," I felt like going back to bed and hiding under the blankets.
After all these years, the novel no longer feels like another part of myself, but rather as a good friend who is getting a chance at a second life. I called Sammie when the letter arrived, and her excitement stimulated, maybe even resurrected something I'd silenced in myself when the publisher took the book out of print and relegated it to the remainders list—then shredded all remaining copies. Now they are bringing it back and all at once I want to celebrate the book's successes:
PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY—First Fiction Award for Spring 2000
INDEPENDENT BOOKSELLERS – Booksense 76 Award
LOS ANGELES TIMES—Best Books of 2000
OLD DOMINION UNIVERSITY LITERARY FESTIVAL--Featured novel/lecture
Now its publisher is recognizing it as one of their notable books, and bringing it back out in its trade paperback edition. It will be once more available for purchase at bookstores and at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle editions.
Really, it never occurred to me that such a thing might happen, and on this bright summer morning, it has me smiling.