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I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
and each road leads you where you want to go.
~ Rascal Flatts, "My Wish"

Today in (really amazing) news: I've sold a second book to Swoon Reads/Macmillan! It's called The Impossibility of Us, and it's a contemporary young adult novel (unrelated to Kissing Max Holden) about an aspiring photojournalist who tries to keep her blooming romance with an exchange student a secret, even as their disapproving families try to tear them apart. That's the official Publisher's Marketplace blurb, anyway. When I talk about this story of mine, I describe a grieving girl who loves photography and a sensitive boy who dreams of becoming a writer. They come from different countries — different cultures — and there are numerous forces working against them, including their reproachful families. There’s a cute dog in The Impossibility of Us, too, as well as a cookies and a fanciful park and a beautiful beach, plus tons of wishes sent to the wind. There’s also kissing. (Of course there's kissing!) I wrote most of The Impossibility of Us during National Novel Writing Month in 2014, and I kind of love it. Okay, I really love it. Look for it (tentatively) Summer, 2018. 


 

Loosely related, I'd love to talk a little bit about timing and perspective...

We've all heard some version of the adage  "everything happens for a reason" and for a writer, that remark can be frustrating as hell, even though more often than not, it's meant to be encouraging. We work
so hard and for me, at least, it's almost impossible to be patient. I want to meet my goals in a timely manner (like, now), and when I don't, well, it can be tough to keep the big picture in mind. It can be really tough to keep from falling into that "this is never going to happen!" hole of despair. 

If you've been following my writing journey (or struggling alongside me) you probably know that I've been at it for awhile. A long while. When my debut, Kissing Max Holden, releases on August 1st, 2017, I will have been writing with the goal of publication for nine years. Nine! A lot's happened over the course of that almost-decade: I've drafted several manuscripts, had some close calls at acquisitions, and received a lot of complimentary passes from a lot of highly respected editors. I've also sold two (!!!) books to a publishing house I have great respect for. Alongside all of that, though, there's been one noteworthy incident, one defining experience I think about more than all the rest. I refer to it as The Sale That Wasn't, and while I haven't talked about it much -- at least not publicly -- I'd like to tell you what happened now.

Many years ago, when I was represented by a different agent from a different agency, I received an offer from a lovely editor on the third manuscript I wrote -- let's call it Ghost Story. Through a series of bizarre but serendipitous events, I learned about the offer months after my then-agent rejected it. That's right. She received the offer, then promptly turned it down (at the head of her agency's urging) because she didn't think the advance was generous enough.

SHE NEVER MENTIONED IT TO ME.


I'm sure you can imagine how devastating it was to learn about her duplicity months after the fact. I was incredibly proud of Ghost Story, and damn it, it should have been my debut. I'd been writing for a few years by the time this all went down, and I couldn't stop thinking about how my turn had come and gone. I'd missed my shot -- Shady Agent* had taken my shot. I was confounded and heartbroken and jaded and just... ugh.

Luckily, when I found out about Shady Agent's gross lack of ethics, we'd already parted ways, and I'd already signed with Victoria Marini, the agent who represents me today. She was as pissed as I was about what Shady Agent had done, but that didn't stop her from being diligent and encouraging. Along with smoothing things over with the editor who'd offered on Ghost Story, she talked about the amazing things that would surely happen in the wake of my lost sale. Over time, I let go of the crushing disappointment instigated by The Book Deal That Wasn't. I started writing new stories, and rewriting old ones.

Ghost Story, the book that could've been my debut? I've heavily revised it over the last few years and it's so much better. So much stronger. Here's the stark truth: If Ghost Story would've come out a few years ago, it likely wouldn't have done very well. It wasn't ready. I wasn't ready. What's more, if Ghost Story had been released, I wouldn't have submitted Kissing Max Holden -- the book that is so obviously meant to be my debut -- to Swoon Reads. I wouldn't get to call myself a Macmillan author. I wouldn't have the privilege of working with with the Swoon Team, people so savvy and supportive, sometimes I have to pinch myself to be sure I'm not dreaming.

Am I glad Shady Agent did what she did? I mean... no. I'll probably always feel some bitterness when I think about her breach of trust. But I am thankful that, in the long run, things worked out the way they did. I'm so pleased to be represented by an agent who stands on high moral ground, and I'm thrilled that Kissing Max Holden is the book that will introduce readers to my writing. I appreciate that I was given the time and space necessary for rewriting Ghost Story because someday, hopefully, it will receive another offer and go on to become a worthy follow-up to my other work. And I'm grateful --so, so grateful-- for the hard won perspective The Book Deal That Wasn't granted me; I understand now that defeats are just as crucial as successes -- perhaps even more so. 

So, here's my point: Everything really does happen for a reason -- even crappy things, even disappointing things, even heartbreaking things. Some writers hop right on the fast track to publication and some writers (ME) travel meandering roads marred by potholes and dotted with hurdles, and that's okay. Both paths have advantages and downfalls, but what matters is patience, perseverance, and faith that it WILL happen -- but not until it's supposed to. Because when it does? All of the rejections and all of the stress and all of the thousands of words gone unpublished will be worth it. Promise.  ❤️ 


*Shady Agent is no longer agenting, which is why I've chosen to maintain her anonymity.

Read This:
I bought The Light Between Oceans in an airport bookstore after watching the movie trailer in a random Facebook ad. I loved it. Its setting is so vividly described; I felt as though I was on isolated Janus Island with protagonists Tom and Isabel. This novel deals with infertility and, essentially, kidnapping so it's quite dark, but it's also beautifully written and deeply moving. I highly recommend it if you’re into historical fiction with a literary slant.

Binge This:
Honestly, I was pretty eh about The 100 until that thing with Clark and Finn happened about halfway through Season 2. You know, the thing that happened while the Grounders looked on, the thing that ripped my heart out and stomped all over it? But yeah. I'm invested now, and I see why the show's got the following it does. Looking forward to watching more!

Watch This:
Confession: I'm a documentary junkie. I like my docs sad / angsty / scary / evocative / political. Love Crimes of Kabul checks all those boxes. It's about three Afghan women imprisoned for moral crimes like running away from home and premarital sex. It is unsettling. It's also a fascinating look at Afghan culture, as well as Sharia law. Currently OnDemand if you've got HBO. 

Bake This:
Banana Cake! Yum! This is basically just banana bread with frosting, and I totally let my daughter eat a slice for breakfast one rushed morning because duh -- there's fruit in it. The assembly is super easy, and the finished cake is moist (sorry, I hate that word, too) and delicious. Give it a bake next time you've got overripe bananas to use up.
 

Buy This:
Aah, the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette... I've been lusting over it for ages (because the shades are beautiful and they smell like chocolate!) but sheesh -- it's so expensive. I finally splurged as a "Round One of Edits Are Done" treat, and I love it. Sometimes I use it even if I'm not leaving the house, so that's gotta say something about its awesomeness.

Photos of the Month

My 2017 Planner! Guys, I get to write Kissing Max Holden's release date in this baby. Can't wait!

New washi storage. Love ampersands. 💕

This one's throwback of my daughter on Carmel Beach a few summers ago. Fun fact: Carmel-by-the Sea, the cutest little seaside village ever, served as inspiration for The Impossibility of Us's setting.  

Katy Upperman
is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing romance novels for young adults, Katy can be found on her yoga mat, whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies, or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. 

Kissing Max Holden (Swoon Reads / Macmillan - August 1st, 2017) Seventeen-year-old aspiring pastry chef Jillian Eldridge is drawn to her neighbor, Max Holden, like sugar to butter. When Jill receives a late night visit from bad-boy Max, the result is an impulsive but sizzling kiss that leads to all sorts of trouble.

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Copyright © 2016, Katy Upperman * All Rights Reserved *


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Katy Upperman
Macmillan 175 Fifth Avenue
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Katy Upperman · Macmillan 175 Fifth Avenue · New York, NY 10010 · USA

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