posted on May 17, 2013 by L. Alison Heller

Diary of a Debut

thelovewarsLast week I published my debut novel, THE LOVE WARS. As I’d been warned, the surrounding days were a jumble of nerves and elation, full of parties, long nights and—in a few exciting cases—bookstores selling out stock (!). Some of the highlights:

1. Monday, 9:01 a.m. I sit at the computer, pressing refresh. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh… until I see my first official review from The Love War’s blog tour.  Apparently some authors just look at the reviews sent by their publicists, but I’m definitely not cool enough to be one of them. Luckily, the review is great—I’m a-tingle with joy and affirmation. The book’s cover, which I love, receives mixed reports. (For the record, the house of cards motif alludes to the series of lies and explanations that the main character constructs through the book, which stack up to be as flimsy as a . . .you got it. Plus, she’s a divorce lawyer, so it’s no accident that she’s playing with the Queen of Hearts. Still, feel free to email me with any questions.)

2. Tuesday, 12:01 p.m. Holy moly! The Love Wars and I are in Redbook! REDBOOK!

3. Tuesday, 6:45, p.m.  My launch party is in full swing and—surreal moment number 435—people are actually standing on line to have me sign their books. Have you ever attended a signing and received a wonderful warm note from the author that’s somehow heartfelt and punchy? Me too. Alas, I am apparently incapable of writing such a note. I write long and messily and then try to overcorrect that impulse and err on the side of terse and impersonal. One friend reads my note and hands back the book with a request for a nicer one. Which, of course, I write: nice, long and messy.

4. Wednesday, 7:15 a.m. The tin of Brownie Bites that I stole from the launch party is now two-thirds gone. I have no idea how and I definitely did not slip some to my daughter for breakfast before preschool, either. That would be nutritionally deficient and just plain wrong.

5. Wednesday, 9:00 a.m. Holy moly, redux! I have a piece in USA Today online! I tell everyone I know because there’s no way they’re sick of me yet! Right?? Hello??? Several disconnected calls this morning . . . not really sure why.

6. Thursday, 5:05 p.m. I come dangerously close to water-boarding my Garmin GPS. It sings like a canary about the route to several area pet stores, but refuses to spill the beans on the location of I-95 in Stamford, Connecticut, which is where my husband and I need to go. We have been in the car for two hours and are desperately trying to beat the traffic and arrive at my book signing before it begins. Eventually, we find I-95 but we don’t get a respite from the traffic. All in all, the trip, which is usually a little over an hour from Manhattan, takes us three. We make it just in time.

7. Thursday, 8:00 p.m. I’m beyond excited by the standing-room only crowd at the signing . . . not that you’d know this from my author inscriptions, which yet again, are lacking. Tonight’s are inappropriately long and overly familiar, the signed equivalent of a drunk at a reunion. Dear Reader, Ohmygosh, hiccup, Thank you so very much for being here. Really, really, Imeansit. I LOVE YOU. Try some brownie bites—they’re fantashstick. My daughter loves them for breakflast. Hiccup. Do authors practice this skill?

8. Friday, 11:11 a.m. The Brownie Bites tin is empty. Kaput. Don’t look at me. I know nothing about it.

9. Saturday, 12:15 p.m. I receive my first fan email including a request for an autographed picture. The fan, let’s call him “Rolf,” hails from a country where my book isn’t yet sold and professes to have been a fan of mine for “many, many years,” despite the fact that THE LOVE WARS has been on shelves for all of four days. Furthermore, when I click the url in Rolf’s email, I am delivered to a site promising Online Gamble Win Big Money. No judgments, though. A fan is a fan is a fan.

L. Alison Heller

L. Alison Heller grew up in Connecticut and attended Bates College in Maine. After graduation, she wandered dreamily around the eastern seaboard, temping and interning and shelving books, trying a little of this and a little of that, before landing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Having hit her limit for dreamy wandering, she enrolled at the University of North Carolina School of Law. In 2000, she graduated from UNC with honors and moved to New York City, where she toiled in several law firms, growing increasingly nostalgic for those days of dreamy wandering. Alison opened her own family law and mediation practice in 2006 to help couples divorce with their sanity intact. Alison’s first novel, THE LOVE WARS, will be published by Penguin (NAL) in May 2013. Her second novel, as of yet untitled, is scheduled for 2014. Alison currently lives in Brooklyn with her family and is right now probably working on someone’s divorce or her next novel or riding on the New York City subway, dragging or being dragged by at least one child on a scooter. (Don’t be fooled by Alison’s modest blush—the subway dragging is every bit as glamorous as it sounds.) She’d love to hear from you!


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