Today, to mark the release date of CROSSED, I thought I would write a little bit about all the people who helped me get this story down on paper in its earliest form, before I could even send it off to my agent and editor: my family.
Without my family, I could never have written any of my books, but this one in particular required the help and love of every last one of them and I am deeply grateful.
CROSSED belongs to my parents, who took me to the canyons every weekend of my childhood, who said, “Here is a beautiful place; we will walk with you through it.” They have walked with me through many canyons, and they are the ones who take care of my kids whenever I am out of town so my husband doesn’t have to miss work. My father is the one who first challenged me to write a book, and my mother is a professional artist who showed me that discipline and inspiration are both required to create.
CROSSED belongs to my brother, Nic, who read so many drafts I lost count and who tirelessly answered questions about fish, streams, and the outdoors. He also inserted scathing comments throughout the text, which I can’t repeat in a public forum (WHERE did my baby brother learn such profanity?!?), but they always made me laugh and made me think. More than any other reader, Nic challenges me to get over myself and get into the story.
CROSSED belongs to my sister, Hope, who also read multiple drafts with cheerful good humor, even when she was the midst of her freshman year of college and all of the parties/studying/late nights that entails. One of the qualities Hope has is her essential kindness, and she brings that to everything she does and makes you feel better about your book, your self, and any kind of world that could produce someone like her.
This book belongs to my sister, Elaine, who once again went through several drafts (but, thankfully for her sake, not as many as MATCHED). Like Nic, she tells it like it is, and that kind of honesty is what a book often needs. She’s always willing to talk me through the low points and rejoice with me during the good moments, even when it requires driving across the entire state to a launch party (can’t wait to see you tonight!).
This book belongs to my cousin, Caitlin, who came every Tuesday and Thursday morning from the fall of 2010 to the fall of 2011. Without those hours I never would have finished this book. She cheered me on and took such good care of my kids. Her gentleness, grace, and absolute good humor made us all feel like, “Yes, we can do this!” even when there seemed to be mounting evidence to the contrary.
This book belongs to my sons, who make me feel everything in life so much more deeply. Without them, I would be an entirely different person and writer. They are, of course, the reason for everything.
And, of course, this book belongs to my husband. I knew, the first day I met him and saw that smile, those kind eyes, that he was someone extraordinary. Someone truly good. All that has happened in those years since–grad school, three kids, seven books, many shared joys and sorrows–has only affirmed everything I thought in that first meeting.
And I couldn’t have written CROSSED without you, my reading family–all of you.
I posted last year on the release of MATCHED, and in that post I said that the book now belongs to you, the readers. That is, of course, also true of CROSSED. The book always belongs to each reader individually. When you read it, you make it yours and you make it come alive in a way that it never has before. Each reader brings something special and different to a book and enriches the story. I am so grateful to all of you readers.