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jenniferechols

That time of year again

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May. 17th, 2012 | 09:52 pm
mood: nostalgicnostalgic

I never re-read my books unless I absolutely have to. I would find awkward sentences that would make my skin crawl but that I would not have the power to do anything about. This way lies madness. And perhaps more importantly, I have a new book to write. I always try to stay in that book rather than getting distracted.

However, right now I am very, very tempted to re-read The Boys Next Door and its sequel, Endless Summer (both are in one volume called Endless Summer), because the action starts a few days before Memorial Day, a.k.a. next week, and lasts until the Fourth of July. In those books, I tried to re-create a really fun time from my teenage-hood. Nothing in the world is as exciting as getting out of school and hanging around with adorable boys on a lake when you are almost sixteen.

Well...maybe this is as exciting. I love these books because they reflect the beautiful lake where I really grew up, and because the main character is more like me than any other character I've ever written (possibly I am the only one who finds her endearing), and because I got the nicest editorial comment on The Boys Next Door that I have ever gotten on a book. This was so important to me because the book got off to a rocky start. My editor then, Michelle Nagler, who heartbreakingly left Simon & Schuster right after this to become the editorial director of Bloomsbury Children's (so let's not feel too bad for her), did not like any of my ideas for follow-ups to Major Crush. We went around and around about it, and finally she told me to take the love triangle from one book idea and put it in the setting for another book idea, the lake where I grew up. I was a little miffed by this time, so I just wrote the book the way I wanted. I put in jokes that made me laugh out loud in Starbucks, but I figured nobody else would think they were funny. And Lori...I felt about Lori like Jane Austen felt about Emma: "I am going to take a character whom no one but myself will much like." In the end, I had a book that made me smile when I thought about it, and I figured that might have to be enough.

So imagine how thrilled I was when I saw the first line of Michelle's revision letter: "I am so in love with the BOYS NEXT DOOR--both of them." And then--

Okay, pause to giggle. As I am looking through my files for this stuff, I see that it has been so long ago that the rubber bands around my manuscripts have rotted, and...I have a copy of The Boys Next Door saved on floppy disk! Isn't that adorkable?

--and then, at the bottom of what is now page 196, she wrote the nicest thing an editor has ever said to me.



I have thought for a long time about cutting out this comment and framing it. Maybe now I will.

Literary agent Rachelle Gardner blogged recently in 7 Bad Habits of Successful Authors, "It’s a well-known fact that all writers think they can’t write. One book in, six books in, 47 books in... every writer is convinced, over and over again, that it was a fluke, they’re not a writer, they’ve lost it, they can’t possibly do this again." Guilty. In fact, I'm having quite a time keeping my footing and my cool as I write the current book, which is also set at this same time of year. So it's doubly tempting to put it aside and re-read a book I really wrote for myself. I may have doubts about my writing most of the time, but at least in this one case, in my tale of young love in my old hometown, I feel like I got it right.

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Comments {12}

boothyisawesome

(no subject)

from: boothyisawesome
date: May. 18th, 2012 03:36 am (UTC)
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By the way, not sure if I ever told you but I took out my library's copy of Endless Summer and toward the end of the book, someone had written something along the lines of "I <3 Adam!" I'll have to go back and get the exact wording, but I thought it was funny.

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jenniferechols

(no subject)

from: jenniferechols
date: May. 18th, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
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Awwwww!

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Melannie LL

love this books!

from: melannielove
date: May. 19th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
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Oh yes, you're right!

Then I must re-read it soon too, and awww, omg I totally feel you, that comment from your editor is priceless (and so spot on!).

Btw, the jokes in The Boys Next Door/Endless Summer, made me laugh out loud at school too, sitting all by myself and laughing out loud wasn't the best idea in freshman year, but I do not regret it one bit.

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jenniferechols

Re: love this books!

from: jenniferechols
date: May. 20th, 2012 05:44 pm (UTC)
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LOL! Thank you.

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Adrianne Russell

(no subject)

from: writersrepublic
date: May. 20th, 2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
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You totally got it right! I just finished both books a few months ago. I thought it was really funny (well suited to my weird humor) and it had all kinds of hotness. You should give it another read!

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jenniferechols

(no subject)

from: jenniferechols
date: May. 21st, 2012 12:36 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! LOL, I am not reading it!

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cchant

Snort!

from: cchant
date: May. 21st, 2012 03:12 pm (UTC)
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"...There lies madness..." You crack me up!

Since i don't usually see your self-doubting, crazy writer persona (I think you save that for the lucky Miss Vicki), I'm always surprised to hear you talk about your moments of panic because every page I see from you is so good I'm putting smiley faces on it more than comments. Whatever private insanity you go through to produce these memorable stories, it's definitely working. :-)

C.

ps: Endless Summer is sitting on the shelf right in front of me calling out. I just may need to crack that cover one more time.

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jenniferechols

Re: Snort!

from: jenniferechols
date: May. 21st, 2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
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Awwwwww! Thank you Cathy.

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maggie_writes

(no subject)

from: maggie_writes
date: May. 22nd, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
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I love The Boys Next Door. It made me feel all tingly. And I absolutely adore your writing style.

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jenniferechols

(no subject)

from: jenniferechols
date: May. 22nd, 2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
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Thank you Maggie!!

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Nicole McLaughlin

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from: Nicole McLaughlin
date: Jun. 9th, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
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This was my first book of yours, and I adored it. It felt so completely real to me. obviously it hooked me, now I've read them all! :) That note is great, feedback like that is so fantastic.

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jenniferechols

(no subject)

from: jenniferechols
date: Jun. 9th, 2012 11:35 am (UTC)
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Nicole! Thank you so much!

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