I’m thrilled to pop back onto Women’s Fiction Writers to share with you one of my favorite writers and book bloggers, Stephanie Elliot! Stephanie has spent years supporting authors and readers. Her debut novel, Sad Perfect, is YA (Young Adult) but as a mom to a once-teenage girl, I’d say this is a crossover novel with appeal for grown-ups as well.
Stephanie mined her own life for this book. It comes from a private place she was willing to share with the world–when she was ready–so please reach out and welcome Stephanie to WFW!
Why I Kept Quiet The Day My Book Sold
by Stephanie Elliot
I don’t think authors are ever prepared for the phone call from their agents saying they’ve sold your book. I certainly was not.
It was a Tuesday morning, and I was going into a yoga class (lazy girl yoga, not the hot, kill yourself yoga), and I hadn’t turned my phone off yet. Everyone had already gone into the yoga room, and they were sitting on their mats. My phone rang and my yoga instructor gave me the side-eye as if to say, What are you doing taking a call when yoga is about to start?
“I have to take this call,” I said to her.
One of the first words I heard my agent say on that call was “delighted” and then after that all the rest of the words rambled together, but I understood that my book had sold. When we hung up, I sat there for a second, wondering what I should do. It was 10:15 a.m. on a Tuesday morning. I had just sold my young adult novel. My kids were at school. My husband was at work.
What was I supposed to do?
I went into my yoga class and got onto my mat and did yoga.
Of course, I did some downward dogs with the biggest grin on my face, but I didn’t go in there and shout, “I JUST SOLD A BOOK!” because I didn’t know the women in there; I barely knew the instructor, no one even knew I was an author.
OMG I WAS OFFICIALLY AN AUTHOR NOW! I thought to myself during the bridge pose.
After my yoga class, I had plans to see the movie Still Alice with a friend. Talk about an uplifting movie to see on the day I sold a book. I went to the movie but didn’t tell my friend the news. I chomped on popcorn, watched Julianne Moore give an Oscar performance, and was a little bit sad over the storyline of the movie, but inside, I kept thinking to myself, “Oh my gosh, I sold my book today!”
But I didn’t say a word out loud to anyone.
You see, I had made a promise to myself that if I ever sold my book, there was one person I had to tell the news to first, and that was the inspiration behind the book: my teenage daughter.
Sad Perfect is a story about a teenager with a unique eating disorder called ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, which my daughter has had for most of her life. When she was finally diagnosed at 15, she went into an intense 20-week outpatient therapy program and I wrote the novel based on her experience, for which she gave me permission. So, she was the first person I wanted to let know about the book deal.
I went through that whole day, not telling a soul about my book. When my daughter came home from school I found a reason to get her alone so I could talk to her. This is the conversation we had:
“I just want to say thanks again for allowing me to write Sad Perfect, for letting me fictionalize your story,” I said, trying to sound casual, yet my heart was thumping with nerves and excitement.
“Sure,” she said, not having a clue as to where I was going with the conversation.
“I appreciate all you did, and I know how hard you worked in therapy,” I continued.
She said nothing.
“And I just wanted you to be the first person to know that we sold our book today.”
When she heard the news, we both cried, hugged each other, and jumped up and down like maniacs.
The feelings we had that day were overwhelming and I was so happy that I got to share that first moment with my daughter because she was truly so thrilled about it—maybe even more excited than I was. It’s a moment I will never forget.
She was so brave with her recovery and so generous in allowing me to share parts of her story, which are so personal, that I cannot thank her enough. I wouldn’t wish what she went through on any person, and I’m so very grateful for my daughter, for her grace and her kindness, and for the person she has become, and for even the person she was, because for what she went through she has learned compassion, empathy, and resilience and has become stronger than I could ever hope to be.
I am so proud of her; I am so proud to be her mother. I am so hopeful that this book will educate others on ARFID, which is not very well known in the eating disorder community.
Stephanie Elliot is the author of the young adult novel Sad Perfect (FSG, February, 2017), which was inspired by her own daughter’s journey with ARFID, Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder. She has written for a variety of websites and magazines and has been a passionate advocate of other authors by promoting their books on the Internet for years. She has been, or still is, all of the following: a book reviewer, an anonymous parenting columnist, a mommy blogger, an editor, a professional napper, a reformed Diet Coke drinker, a gecko breeder and the author of three self-published novels.
A Florida native, Stephanie has lived near Chicago and Philadelphia and currently calls Scottsdale, Arizona home. She graduated from Northern Illinois University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Stephanie and her husband Scott have three children: AJ, McKaelen and Luke. They are all her favorites.
SE REVIEWS & READS: https://www.facebook.com/SEReviews&Reads