Thursday, October 29, 2009

UK Pub Date and Book Revue

In ICE, Cassie journeys over the sea ice, across the tundra, and through the boreal forest. And today she has crossed the Atlantic Ocean! Today, ICE is coming out in the UK!

I have very fond memories of the UK. After college, I lived for a year in Cambridge, England. My boyfriend (now husband) had a fellowship there, and I trailed along because, hey, England! Castles! Stonehenge! King Arthur!
It turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made.

That year in England, my husband and I got engaged. Also that year in England, I really became a writer.

I'd known I wanted to be a writer pretty much since I was a cute little blastula. But despite my making a New Year's Resolution to do so every year, when my plane landed in Merry Ol' England, I had yet to complete a full manuscript.

That changed here:

My Desk in Cambridge, England
(where I finished my first manuscript)

The reason for the change was the UK Department of Immigration and Visa Services. You see, I had planned to find a job and work while I was there. I had a six-month recent-graduate work permit, but I was certain it could be extended. Imagine my shock when I arrived at the Heathrow Airport and was told that not only could I not work after six months, but I might not be able to stay at all! After six months, I'd have to petition for a visitor's permit and swear not to work or I'd be tossed into the channel and eaten by sp
ecially-imported sharks. Or something like that.

I found a job at the Marshall Library for Economics (part of Camb
ridge University), and I spent a happy six months alphabetizing books and learning to like tea with milk. I also wrote in my spare time.

But then came the day: my six months were up. We woke ridiculously early, took the train south of London, filled out paperwork, waited, and worried... and then got the visitor's permit with no problem and learned that if we'd just decided to spend a romantic weekend in Paris and I'd come back in as a visitor, it would have had the same result. Except then I would have g
otten a romantic weekend in Paris instead of a day at the international equivalent of the DMV. Whatever.

Point is: I took it as a sign. The government was telling me I was legally obligated to do nothing but write. And so I did. I wrote every day from morning to night, pausing for trips to Italy and Spain and such where I did things like get lost in hedge mazes.

Me, Lost in Hedges

By the end of our stay, I'd completed my very first novel-length manuscript. I'd also gotten this nice shiny engagement ring:

My hand and Westminster Abbey

We took the ring on a tour of London and snapped photos of my hand in front of all the major tourist spots. Sarah's hand and Big Ben. Sarah's hand and Westminster Abbey. Sarah's hand and the Tower of London... I was also pooped on by a bird outside the Tower of London, but I still somehow remember that day as one of the most romantic days of my life. Perhaps if the poop had landed on my head instead of my shoe, I'd feel differently about that... But I digress.

Finishing that manuscript taught me that I could do this. I could write books. I could be a writer. And I will always be grateful to England for that.

So, thank you, my friends across the Atlantic! I hope you enjoy ICE!

And for any aspiring writers out there... you don't really need to go to another country to become a writer. What you do need to do is what I did while I was in another country: write. Write as if you're legally obligated to do so, and don't stop.

Upcoming Book Event

For those of you not across the Atlantic... if you're in Long Island on Monday night, I hope you will join me at Book Revue for a book signing and book launch party.

Cake -- decorated with ICE's gorgeous (and delicious) cover art -- will be served!!!

Here are the details:

Book Revue
Monday, November 2nd at 7pm
313 New York Avenue, Huntington NY

Hope to see you there!

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At 12:01 PM, Blogger christine M said...

What a great story! And congratulations on ICE's UK release!

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Meagan said...

That's the main reason I went to grad school: I figured it was the only way I'd be able to make myself take the time and write. It worked, also much to my surprise, I actually learned about craft and editing and stuff! I have to admit though that getting lost in hedge mazes sounds more exciting.

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Huzzah for ICE being delivered today! Less huzzah for me forgetting I was moving it keeping the delivery address as my old house and thus having to wait now for it to be forwarded to me. Soon, soon, I'll be reading it soon!

That's a really lovely story. :) And I'm glad you loved England so - it has some rubbish things about it, but it's my homeland and I do love it ever so. Plus we are so very encouraging of making time to write!

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Q said...

I want to live in England!

At 12:47 PM, Anonymous Hester said...

WOOT! The UK is awesome (I live there (here?) ) Are you going to do any signing over here? (please do)

(random not so great thing about the UK: the postal service is on strike, again)

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

Christine: Thanks! I'm sooo excited.

Meagan: Sounds like an excellent reason for grad school. Ever since the movie Labyrinth, I have been inordinately fond of hedge mazes.

Hannah: I hope I get to go back to England some day. I have such fond memories. In addition to the big wonderful moments I had there, I also loved the little things, like the Cadbury bars in the tube and the fields packed with daffodils... Hope you enjoy Ice!

Q: I loved it there. (See above re: Cadbury bars and daffodils.)

Hester: *waves across Atlantic* I don't have any signings in the UK planned at present, but if someone decides to send me, I'd love to!

At 12:04 AM, Blogger Anne Leigh said...

Congrads on the UK release!

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Alix said...

Excellent story and Cambridge is fantastic place to live. I love it there.

I did exactly the same as you but the other way round. When we moved to the US from the UK two years ago I couldn't work so I wrote my first book :)

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Alix said...

And congratulations on the UK release. Ice is on my TBR list :)

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Sarah Beth Durst said...

SavyLeartist: Thanks! *happy dance*

Alexa: That's so cool! Who knew that would be a common side effect of traveling abroad? See cool stuff, eat different food, finish novel...

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Phebe H.L. said...

Awesome! Congrats on the UK release! More people to love your stories! :)


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