Thursday, July 2, 2009

It's No "Accident" that Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Welcomes the Author of THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER, Wendy Wax!


Born on the 4th of July and Other Accidental Events
By: Wendy Wax

Every year at this time, I remember the 4th of July fifteen years ago when our youngest son made his unexpected appearance.

Our house was torn apart and my husband and I and our two-year-old son were living in my mother’s house nearby while we waited for the renovation from Hell to be finished. On July 2nd I went for my OB/GYN appointment and was told that it would probably be another two weeks before ‘number two’ arrived; plenty of time, I thought, to find and set up the crib and changing table at my mom’s, buy some diapers, pack a bag. Get it together.

My mother and our regular sitter left town for the holiday and we were planning to invite a few friends over to bar-b-cue on the 4th. The night of the 3rd I started having what I assumed were false labor pains since I still had two weeks to go. But the next morning when I got in the shower, which I had read might halt these false pains, I realized that they were coming every two minutes. And they were anything but false.

After a mad dash to the hospital during which I concentrated on NOT giving birth in front of our two-year-old, our second son was born. He didn’t have a name because we thought we had two weeks to reach an agreement. And he didn’t have a crib or a changing table because we thought we still had two weeks to figure out where they’d been stashed in that mess of a remodel. He didn’t have a diaper or a change of clothing because..well, you get the picture.

Now, all these years later, it’s a funny story we retell annually; a fond reminiscence of his arrival on the planet which we embellish with great abandon. But at the time it wasn’t at all funny being caught so unprepared. Especially not for someone like me who plans and prepares and makes lists so that she can cross things off as they get done.

In its own way, this unexpected birth was, perhaps, just a taste of the uncertainty and seeming randomness that are a part of a writing career. John Steinbeck said, “The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.” John was right.

I started trying to write my first novel shortly after our second son was born—a decision I credit to post pregnancy hormones and lack of sleep. What I discovered as I wrote and then sold, was that there are far too many things that impact a writer’s career that the writer cannot control. A writer can set goals, devise a plan and do his or her best to follow it, but as the years pass it becomes increasingly difficult to cling even to the illusion of control. There are covers that don’t work and back cover copy that doesn’t sell. Print runs that are too small or that start big and then shrink. Editors who leave. Bookstores that close. Sales cycles that are, well, cyclical. Genres that become immensely popular and then suddenly are not. Honestly, the list is almost endless and far too many of the pitfalls on it have almost nothing to do with how talented a writer may be or how great a book she has written.

Like my unexpected delivery on that Fourth of July fifteen years ago, my writing career has sometimes come down to breathing deeply, hanging on for dear life, and pushing as hard as I could when the circumstances demanded it.

That labor and delivery produced a wonderful son of whom we’re very proud. The sometimes turbulent years spent writing and being published ultimately produced The Accidental Bestseller, which came out this June. It’s the story of four writers—friends for a decade—who band together to save one of their own when her writing career and personal life begin to unravel. In the process they accidentally create a runaway bestseller that only one of them can claim.

It’s dedicated to ‘every writer—aspiring and otherwise—who has a story to tell, a love of the written word, and a burning desire to see the fruit of their labor on a bookstore shelf. In a prime position. Cover out. With full publisher support behind it.’ The Accidental Bestseller offers an insider’s look at what it is to be a writer in today’s publishing world. It’s also about pursuing your dreams with a little help from your friends.

Because the accidents in our lives can be so positive, I asked a wide array of best selling authors to share the accidental moments that changed their lives. The result is Accidental Radio, brief snippets of authors’ favorite moments, which you can tune into on my Website at www.authorwendywax.com

I hope you’ll stop by my site to listen in, take a look around, and read an excerpt from The Accidental Bestseller. In the meantime I wish you a happy 4th of July. While everyone else is watching fireworks, we’ll be blowing out birthday candles.

10 comments:

Sandy Elzie said...

Good morning Wendy,

Very interesting post. I have a close friend who is also born on the 4th. She blames it for her "fireworks" personality. (g)

Interesting comparison between writing and giving birth...since that's basically what a writer is doing. (Thanks goodness my little ones didn't take years to arrive!)

Thank you for sharing with us today and happy 4th of July. Now I'm back to writing and maybe "accidently" it'll be a huge hit. (g)

Sandy

Debbie Kaufman said...

Morning Wendy! I suspect the one of the reasons THE ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER resonates so much with authors is that we can really relate to how fellow writers support each other.

Love the Accidental Radio. Now, what's next for you, planned or accidental?

Maxine Davis said...

Wendy,

Thank you for your post at PF&HT. I enjoyed your analogy of birth and writing. I'm having pains right now - birthing a novel, not a child. Hopefully, it'll grow up and be published.

Nicki Salcedo said...

Wendy,

I think we should all have birthday cake on 4th! Thanks for the quote from Steinbeck; its a good one. Nothing is predictable and in life or writing. The only day in my life that went according to plan was my wedding day, because I had planned for the day not to go as planned! :)

"...the accidents in our lives can be so positive." Is possibly the best writing (and life) advice I've ever heard.

Thanks for info and encouragement.

CiCi Barnes said...

Thanks for stopping by, Wendy.

I just finished reading "The Accidental Bestseller" and loved it. You did a great job of giving us the inside story of a writer's life. I loved all the girls -- except Jane, of course -- in it, sympathized with their individual plights and laughed with delight when I turned the page for the HEA.

Thanks for sharing. And Happy Birthday to your son.

CiCi

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Wendy,

Thanks for dropping by and thanks for shsring such a great story. My own daughter was supposed to be born on the 4th and came on the 30th so we still have birthday cake to enjoy on the 4th.

I can't wait to read the Accidental Bestseller--it looks incredible.

Sally

Linsey Lanier said...

Wendy,

Thanks for being with us at PFHT today!

I love the story of the birth of your son. I don't have children, so I can only imagine what that must have been like. Glad you can look back on it now with humor.

You're right. Handling the unexpected is a great skill to acquire. In publishing or in life in general.

I plan to read my copy of "The Accidental Bestseller" over the Fourth!

Linsey

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Wendy,

This is great. I can totally see the relationship between the two. I can relate closest to your comparison with the lack of being able to plan. I never realized how much my son would mess up my whole universe (in a good way…grin…). Ever since he was conceived, I’ve had to make major adjustments to my lists… And I am a huge list follower.

I’ve found that my writing career is exactly the same. Which doubles my problems with the kid. Am I making any sense? Probably not since I’m rushing out to take my son to an unscheduled get-together. Darn. I’m going to have to rearrange my next two days. Time to revamp that list again.

Anyhoo, life is about dealing with the unexpected. Thanks a ton for sharing your story with us and I can’t wait to grab this book. I’ve been drooling over it since Marilyn reviewed it last week on the blog. Great job!!!

Tami

Marilyn Baron said...

Thanks for blogging with us and Happy Birthday to your son. I hadn't heard that story about his birth before. My sister's twin daughters were born on the 4th of July so it's always a double celebration for us too.

I loved The Accidental Bestseller. I reviewed it in our Saturday review section a few weeks ago. I will stop by and tune in to Accidental Radio.

Thanks for othe wonderful advice.

Marilyn Baron

Ana Aragón said...

Wendy,

I picked up a copy of Accidental Best Seller and it's on top of my TBR pile! I love your writing and I'm so happy to see another book on the shelf with your name on it!

What are your plans for another book?

Ana