Monday, July 14, 2008

On Gratitude by Susan Breen

My debut novel, The Fiction Class, was published this year, and one of the best things about that, beyond the obvious, is that it gave me the opportunity to express my gratitude toward those I love. Right there in the acknowledgements page. Believe me when I say that I agonized over those acknowledgements—how many relatives to include, how many friends. Do I mention everyone from play group? (No, but I wish I had.)

Which brings me to my next book—which I am working on now—and my next acknowledgements page—which I have already started thinking about. I feel a little like Santa with his list. Who’s been bad and should be struck off? (Just one person, and let’s not talk about that.) And, more importantly, who should I add. I’ve made a lot of new friends this year as I’ve traveled around, going to events and readings and conferences. Many of them are involved in the book world—not the editors and agents, who have always loomed so large to me, but the librarians and booksellers, who make it all happen.

Two of my favorites are Roy and Yvonne Solomon, who run the Village Bookstore in Pleasantville, NY. Not only do they run a lovely bookstore, (and they put out cake for readings!!!), but they have supported my debut efforts in ways that seem to me extraordinary. For example, one night I was giving a reading at an adult retirement community. Roy was there, with a box of books, but it soon became clear that we had a problem. It turns out that people who live in adult communities do not carry around cash, which is not good if you are trying to sell them something. Roy could have just taken the box of books and sent it back to Penguin, but instead he told the residents that he would accept their IOUs. He would give them the book and trust them to mail him a check.

So as I think about gratitude, I have to give thanks to those who value books and authors and who treasure reading. There’s nothing better than that.

Susan Breen lives with her family in Irvington, NY. Her debut novel, The Fiction Class, was published by Plume/Penguin in February and she teaches creative writing for Gotham Writers’ Workshop in Manhattan. (


Nannette Croce said...

I often dream about whom I would want to acknowledge in my first published book.

An FYI for anyone reading this, The Fiction Class will soon be reviewed on the R&T blog and Susan will be interviewed. I also have The Fiction Class on order from Amazon because I heard it was maavelous.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Now if this isn't one of those coincidental life things, I don't know what is -- before I left for Oregon two weeks ago (just returned last night) I bought a few books to take with me (from Osondu Booksellers in Waynesville, NC) - and one of them is The Fiction Class! I had no knowledge of this blog post or that the author would be our guest - isn't that funny?

I haven't read it yet, as I didn't get to read much on my trip, but am looking forward to it...

Anna Lefler said...

You're in for a treat, Nannette, because I read Susan's book and it truly was "maavelous."

I love the notion of a bookseller accepting IOUs from seniors at a retirement center. I imagine the world must become both a larger and a smaller place after publishing one's book.

So much to be thankful for... :^)

Barbara Quinn said...

And I am thankful for your joining us at the YOG Susan! Best of luck with The Fiction Class and all your future books too. :-)

Angie Ledbetter said...

May all the great people who fill your Page Ones continue to grow! Can't wait to read the book. What's your new one about?

And thanks for posting. You give hope to us hopefuls scouting agent representation.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Just received an "news" email from my local indie bookseller - the book club that's meeting there sometime this weekend or next week is discussing guess what book?

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