Thank you

Sorry: This post is very long. I tried to bold people’s names so they could find their own particular “thank you” more easily. I totally understand  if you don’t want to read it all; cliffnotes version: Thank you to everyone. :))

This post is one of those that’s kind of hard to write…primarily because it leads to hysterical (happy) tears that leave my keyboard damp and my nose stopped up.

But I have to say “thank you” today–on The Official Release Day of my book, I can’t happily bask in launch-glow without acknowledging ALL the people that got me here.

Guys, writing a book definitely takes a village, and there were SO MANY people that helped me get Something Strange and Deadly to where it is today. And…so many of those people didn’t make it into the book’s acknowledgments. Funnily enough, I had to write my acknowledgments a year ago–before I even met or grew close with so many of the people that helped bring this book to its close.

So, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to staaart. When you sing you begin with…wait…sorry. The only way I can keep from crying today is to be a goofy fool. Forgive me.).

Thank you to: my husband, my parents, my siblings (David and Jennifer), and my friends from childhood (Brenna, Chris, Kayla, Ian, Jessica, Matt, Lauren, Zach, Roy, and…I’m sure there are more I’m forgetting): you guys have been with me since Day 1. You’ve always known I wanted to write, but it was just a hobby. A far off dream. Now, here we are years later, and I owe you so many thanks for always believing in me.

To my very earliest critique partner, Holly Dodson, all I can say is thank you. You read the earliest, fledgling drafts of Something Strange and Deadly and gave amazing feedback–like suggesting I make the story first person instead of third (best suggestion EVER). You have helped me in so many different ways–cheer leading, listening to my rants, setting up the AMAZING ARC tour, and always giving me shout outs on your blog. Thank you. THANK YOU.

To Kat Brauer, who beta read the pre-agent draft of SS&D. You were wise, wise to tell me to change that DREADFUL ending. And your feedback also transformed the horrible early draft of A DARKNESS STRANGE AND LOVELY into what it needed to be. You have the sharpest eye, the BIGGEST heart, and I rely on you entirely too much. I hope you don’t mind. I don’t know what I’d do without you. (Also Honey Badger Pack, ho!)

To Meredith Primeau and Jennifer Dennard, who read the pre-copy-edits draft. You guys were great–not only with your feedback but with your praise. At that point, I was desperate for some validation (Is this book any goooood?). You gave it to me.  Plus, Meredith, you hung out with me in Paris, and that’s just about the COOLEST THING EVER. And Jen…well, you’ve been reading my stories for forever now. You’re the best sister a gal could ever ask for. Lots of love to you.

To Sara Kendall: you fell in love with Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters, you gave me amazing editorial feedback, and you put SS&D where it is today. I can never, never, never give you enough cupcakes or cookies to compensate for how grateful I am. Nor can I possibly convey how much I miss you. I think of you every day.

To Maria Gomez: you jumped on SS&D right away, and you literally changed my life. From a freshly agented writer, you transformed me into an author with a book deal. Your never-fading smiles, incredibly contagious laugh, and passion for SS&D helped me get through those first, tough rounds of revision. I miss you too, and I can only pray we get to work together again one day. Today wouldn’t be here if not for you.

To Joanna Volpe: You have put up with so much from me–from panicked emails to blubbery-upset phone calls to far too many emoticons in what SHOULD be a professional email. I don’t know how I would have survived the last few months without you constantly holding my hand and saying, “Cool it, Sooz. It’ll be okay. And if it’s not, I’ll make it okay.” You are an Agent Superwoman, and I count my lucky stars every single day that I get to be a part of New Leaf Literary.

To Kathleen Ortiz and Danielle Barthel: You guys do so much behind the scenes. All I see is the end result–“Hey, we sold in Germany!” or “Hey, I copy edited these stock questions for you”–and the end results are nothing short of amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

To Karen Chaplin, Alyssa Miele, and Barbara Lalicki, I owe ten million cupcakes and thank yous and drinks (one day! One day, we’ll meet in person and go out for drinks…or coffees. Promise.) because you guys turned an almost-ready manuscript into what it is now. You read and reread my prose, you put up with my obnoxious tendency toward prolonged dialogue, and my weakness for far-too-complicated endings. Eleanor and the Spirit-Hunters couldn’t have found a better editorial team.Your red pens = magic wands.

To Olivia deLeon, Hallie Patterson, and Casey McIntyre, I need to give you all a ton of thanks–for getting my publicity ducks in a row, for walking me around Comic-Con, and for putting up with my neurotic (and no doubt annoying) demands for attention. I don’t even know how much work you guys put in, but I know it’s A LOT. So thank you.

To Cara E. Petrus, Monica Stevenson, and whoever that model is on my covers: It was your efforts that produced the stunning covers I have been blessed to get. The Cover Fairy smiled down on me, indeed. Cara, I adore the way you blend steampunk elements with an eery vibe and dollop of glam (and the cover for book 2 might just be the prettiest cover ever made. Ever!). Monica (or Ms. Stevenson?), your photoshoots led to the amazing start of covers I’m so proud to share. And to the model on the front–whoever you are–thank you for shooting not one but three book covers and donning I have no idea how many dresses. Oddly enough, people ask if I’m the model, and then I laugh. You are much, much prettier. 🙂

To Amanda Plavich: who knew we would reconnect after SO many years? And for such a cool reason? You took the most stunning author photos, and I’m so pleased when people tell me I look like a model. That was ALL you and your mad photography skills.

To my Let the Words Flow and now Pub(lishing) Crawl ladies: You girls have been pivotal in helping me get to where I am today. From freaked-out emails to desperate cries for help, you all have answered me every time. Without question. Without complaint.  Lots of love and appreciation to you. I honestly think I wouldn’t be here today if you hadn’t taken me into your Let the Words Flow ranks and extended the hand of friendship without asking anything in return.

To Marie Lu: You answered my email. Then, not only did you answer, but you agreed to give SS&D a try. THEN, not only did you read it, but you blurbed it. I don’t know if you understand just HOW MUCH this means to me. I was so scared to write you, yet you were as welcoming as if I ‘d known you forever. You’re kind of a Big Deal (understatement of the year), but you still took the time to help out a shy debut author. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. Also, Legend is amazing.

To Leigh Bardgo: Agency sister, you certainly are…and so much more. I am SO glad you emailed me (rather shyly) two years ago. We got our deals at around the same time, and we’ve gotten to experience our very different (yet still very similar) journeys to publication together. Also, you’re extra amazing because you love to send people books for no reason.

To Kat Zhang, a fellow HarperTeen girl whose book deserves all the success it has already gotten and will continue to get. You have the nicest, most loving heart–nary a fly will be hurt at your fingertips–and we need more people like that in the world. Especially in this competitive writing world. I am so glad we became friends.

To Amie Kaufman: T’aint no critique reader/cheer leader quite like you out there. When you first read SS&D, I was sooooo nervous…and then when you not only enjoyed it, but loved it, I cried tears of relief. And happiness. We all need that one person who adores the story we’re telling. I am so glad that YOU turned out to be that person for SS&D…and for ADS&L. Your feedback on book 2 made all the difference–and made me keep my chin up no matter how frustrated I might have been with that story. (Also, see * below.)

To Erin Bowman, for being a lot like me in so many ways, but also different (you’re much nicer than me). I think we’re both a combination of Ders and Blake (but Sarah is Adam allll the waaaaay). We totally would have been friends in high school. And probs college too. Thank goodness we met–better late than never. Who knew, when you joined Pub Crawl, that we’d become as close as we are? *Writing friendships are so much better to form than mere connections, and that has really hit home with our Friday Gaboozitchfests.*

To Sarah Maas: I don’t even know where to begin my thank you to you. It kills me that I barely mention you in my acknowledgement (don’t worry: I made up for it with ADS&L). I’m not sure when it happened exactly–that our relationship went from a few, casual emails a week to texting/emailing/calling/skyping ALL THE TIME.I just know it happened quickly. One minute, we were feeling each other out like blind mole rats. The next minute, we were best friends. And truly, there is no one out there as “Best” as you are. you’re one of the few people to see my cry a full on meltdown. You’re also the only person I know who would grab my hand right before my panel, swear at me like a sailor, and be able to convince me I would get through it all–and be a badass in the process. It was your total belief in me that made me pull that horrible panel off without a total freakout. Our brains mesh–both in terms of how we write (GDC! The Dragos GDC!) and how we view life…Though I don’t think anyone would ever say we’re all that alike (you’re outgoing and brave where I’m shy and reserved)but nor could anyone disagree that we compliment each other well (and if they do disagree, I’ll roundhouse kick ’em in the face. You know I will). You are, without a doubt, the dearest friend I’ve ever had–that one friend I didn’t think was possible. The friend who gets me and doesn’t judge (though you may snicker at my expense). The friend who can debate Boba Fett’s butt with me and then discuss depth of Harry’s character arc. My only regret with regards to our friendship is that we don’t live closer together (of course, then our husbands would never see us). I have so much love for you–as a friend and a writer. And I’m so glad Throne of Glass is about to release with all the fanfare and love it deserves.

To all the bloggers out there who have interviewed me/read SS&D/squeed over the cover/or ever mentioned my name, I must extend an enormous thank you. There are far too many to name, and I imagine there are many who I never even realized were out there supporting me. You all REALLY helped me get the word out there about my book. When I first revealed my cover, I was amazed at the response–and at the way that response rippled through the entire blogosphere. Thank you for everything.

And finally, to all my readers here. To all 300 or so of you that subscribe, that read my blog in your email or RSS feed. So many of you have been with me since before I had a deal–before I even had an agent. And so many of you have put up with my goofy posts about cute boys, my rambling posts about inspiration and doubt, my workshop-y posts about craft and industry, and my tendency to overuse the word “totally” and “literally”. It’s such an amazing, surreal feeling to realize that we did all this TOGETHER. That I wouldn’t be here if not for the support and community this blog–and your own blogs–have given me. I know I’ve been bad about answering comments lately, but that doesn’t mean I don’t read them. I do. Every single one. And even though I’ve never seen most of you in person, I recognize each of you by your names. You have full personalities to me, even if all I ever see of you is a thumbnail of your dog. 😉

Ah, here I am…crying. Again.

I don’t want to say that today is The Realization of All My Dreams–it isn’t. I have so many more dreams and so many more books  to write. Today is only the beginning. I’m still exactly the same Susan I was yesterday…or 3 months ago…or 2 years ago.  Having my book release hasn’t made me a different person–I hope you all still see me as approachable as I was before the deal. (I also hope that I have a chance to meet some of you–or ALL–in person! Omigosh, how awesome would that be?!)

Ultimately, today isn’t about me.  Today is a Celebration of Dreams. It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work from a LOT of people. It’s the start of a different phase in my career–a new chapter, if you will. It’s a gigantic day of gratitude and warmth. 😉 It’s about finally sharing my story with YOU.

And now, I want to extend a toast (no, I’m not drinking champagne right now…does a toast of coffee work?)…

To you, my family, friends, readers, and fellow writers.

To finally end this, I’ll leave you with Blur’s “Tender”. This is one of my favorite songs of all time, and it just feels so appropriate on a day when I’m overwhelmed with appreciation–and awe–for how much I love you all.