Greetings from Ithaca Bakery, in Ithaca, New York. We are up visiting my mom and stepdad, who live in a gorgeous cabin in the woods on the shores of Cayuga Lake. It’s April, but seeing that it’s Ithaca, it’s snowing out. I’m sitting at a table by the window, drinking an Americano with steamed soymilk. They’ve just clued me into the fact that this, my all-time favorite coffee drink, is called a “misto.” How did I not know this before? Back home in New York City, I must order this from various cafés twice a week.
There is so much I don’t know. The thing I keep thinking about right now is one spring eighteen years ago, when I’d just gotten out of college and somehow landed in Ithaca. I’d spent all the summers of my childhood on Cayuga Lake, so Ithaca seemed as good a place as any to live for a while. That spring, I had an aching inside to write a novel. Aching is the only word for it. I was twenty-three. I’d never written fiction before, but I’d read like crazy my whole life and I’d always kept a journal. That spring I wanted to write a novel more than anything in the world. I could feel stories stitching together in my imagination but whenever I sat down to write in my little rental house, I had no idea how to begin.
One morning I got on my bike and pedalled over to Ithaca Bakery, my laptop in my backpack. I ordered coffee and a bagel (I didn’t know about an Americano, much less a misto, yet). I positioned myself at a table by the window, exactly three tables back from where I’m sitting right now. I figured the change of scenery might help me start my novel.
Nope. I remember being so frustrated, so fed up. Finally I ran into a friend so I closed my laptop for the morning. I stayed in Ithaca for a few more months and then, over the summer, moved to New York City, where I’ve lived ever since.
How could I have known that eighteen years later I’d be sitting here in Ithaca Bakery, and now I’ve written eight novels! My second novel won the Printz Honor. My sixth novel, co-written with Jay Asher, landed on several bestseller lists. And now I’m gearing up for novels seven and eight to come out this year. Yep, 2015 is the year of two novels. Best Friend Next Door, my first middle grade novel, will be published in late May. And my latest novel for teens, The Infinite in Between, comes out in September. I am so, so excited to share these books with the world. Over the next few months, I will be revealing covers, sharing news, and having fun giveaway contests for both of these books. So please keep coming back.
Speaking of all things Social Media, poke around my new website and my newly face-lifted Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook fan pages. Friend me, tweet me, like me. I’m sending the love right back at you!
So here’s to new books and new beginnings. Here’s to all the things I’ve learned, and all the things I have yet to know. In the meantime, I will return to my misto and just be glad I’m not staring at a blank screen anymore.